Local freelance writers Erin Kindberg and Wendy Burt don't make any bones about it: Their new book, Oh, Solo Mia! The Hip Chick's Guide to Fun for One -- billed as a collection of things women can do alone, without benefit of male companionship or even a gaggle of gal pals -- was conceived primarily as bait for a publisher. After all, "the biggest drag is being an unsuccessful freelance writer," notes Kindberg, who has had some experience with that. But once the literary duo got into it, the ideas began to fly thick and fast, resulting in a thin tome of mini-chapters that are part frivolous, part tongue-in-cheek and part dead serious. They'll introduce the book to Denver audiences Friday at the downtown Tattered Cover. And what better time and place, notes Burt, than on a Friday night in LoDo?
The pair was inspired by real-world problems faced by women on their own, whether they're physically single or temporarily alone. "You go out to eat alone, and the hostess always asks, 'Are you waiting for someone?' The assumption is that you must be waiting for someone," Burt says. "That's what sparked it for us. But we realized there was a need to focus toward women in general, not just on the 21-year-old fresh out of college."
So who will read the book, other than the obvious? "Oh, you mean besides my mom and my friends?" Kindberg quips. "Women who are tired of sitting around waiting for phone to ring. And not just single women, either -- married women, too. A lot of them travel a lot, or their husbands travel a lot, or their husbands just piss them off a lot. It's a huge, big world out there, full of stuff to do. Why sit around just because you have no friend around?" Kindberg, who's got a husband, considers herself a good example: "He's not my Siamese twin. We're not interested in all the same things. It's good to stay independent."
And, adds Burt, "It's about not being embarrassed to be by yourself. That's okay for men, but not for women. We're hoping the book will change that." Well, okay, Burt concedes, maybe they won't change the world -- but they might make it a little more interesting: In addition to the sorts of suggestions one would expect, such as dipping candles, learning another language or going shopping, Burt and her writing partner have some funky ideas, as well -- for instance, taking a side trip to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, or getting ordained in "something."
Kindberg and Burt admit they haven't tried every idea in the book -- some ideas were simply too expensive, and others were just too way out. For them, at any rate. Someone else, however, might certainly have the chutzpah to "crash a wedding reception for the free booze and buffet," as they suggest in the chapter "I Now Pronouce You the Uninvited Guest." Truthfully, their ideas are a mixture of things they themselves would or wouldn't do: "Some are things I'd like to do alone; others are things that, if I had more guts or more money, I'd like to do alone," Kindberg says. "After all, it's easy to go to a bar and listen to jazz. But it takes more resources to plan a weekend jaunt to another city known for having great jazz."
"There are people who are crazier than us out there," Burt assures. But under pressure, she reveals, "I'd like to try parasailing. Jumping out of an airplane, I'm not so sure about that." And they'd both love it if someone actually tried every suggestion after reading the book. "We figure that would keep someone busy for two whole years," calculates Kindberg, who leaves this parting advice for gals looking to change their socially controlled lives overnight: "If you're scared, too bad. Do it anyway!"