Sub­texts

Pasatiempo - - In Other Words -

Trade in your pumps for bunny slip­pers To the mod­ern pro­fes­sional, few words are more fright­en­ing than “You’re fired.” For bet­ter or worse, our ca­reers can be like scaf­fold­ing, and our iden­ti­ties can be in­ex­tri­ca­bly tangled with what we do for a liv­ing. That’s why, when the door of em­ploy­ment slams in our faces, it’s easy to slip into a freefall of de­pres­sion rather than re­mem­ber­ing the old adage that when one door closes, an­other one — or at least a win­dow — opens.

Do­minique Brown­ing, edi­tor of Condé Nast’s House & Gar­den mag­a­zine for more than a decade, ex­pe­ri­enced all this first­hand. On a Mon­day morn­ing in the win­ter of 2007, she showed up for work as usual and marched to the cor­po­rate of­fices for her reg­u­lar meet­ing. That’s when she learned she was out of a job and had four days to clean out her of­fice.

Not sur­pris­ingly, un­em­ploy­ment turned Brown­ing’s life on its head. The fact that her chil­dren were leav­ing home and her re­la­tion­ship was com­ing to an end only added in­sult to in­jury. She started tum­bling down a bumpy chute of panic.

Along the way, though, she dis­cov­ered a new kind of joy. In Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pa­ja­mas & Found Hap­pi­ness, she uses friendly, funny, hum­ble, and hon­est prose to re­as­sure us that loss can al­low us to move “at a gen­tler, more lov­ing pace,” learn to ap­pre­ci­ate “the beauty of ev­ery­day mo­ments,” and “en­gage with the world in a more mean­ing­ful way.”

Brown­ing reads from her book at 6 p.m. Satur­day, June 19, at Col­lected Works Book­store (202 Gal­is­teo St., 988-4226). No word on whether she’ll wear pa­ja­mas, though.

— Lau­rel Glad­den

Do­minique Brown­ing

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