Ball and Chain

By Cornelia Read

I
have been married for twenty years. Actually, as of today, make that twenty
years, two months, and nineteen days. I won’t quibble about hours or anything.
I’m tired.

This
past November 18th, I sat down for my first meeting with a divorce
lawyer. 

Jaws 

Karmically
enough, that date is also my soon-to-be-ex husband’s birthday. 

Businessman-Voodoo-Doll-Giclee-Print-C12572034  

What
does this have to do with writing, you may well ask? Well, I think mostly the
connection can be traced back to the exact moment I actually realized the
marriage was finished. 

This occurred circa ten a.m. on the morning of
President’s Day before last, when my formerly intrepid spouse said to me, as I
was packing for a trip east to take part in the South Carolina Book Festival:

“You have to give up this writing shit, because you’re not making any money and
I need a homemaker.”

8333~Fifties-Housewife-Posters 



I
looked at him for a moment and didn’t say a word–just stood there remembering
the three cross-country moves I’d made with two small kids in tow for his job
transfers, the thousands of diapers I’d changed solo, the pots of discount mac
and cheese I’d cooked for the kids and eaten the dregs of when he was yukking
it up a la frat-boy at trade shows in Chicago and New Orleans and Atlanta, or
being hand-fed expense-account sushi by comely young Korean waitresses while
dining with potential customers in Seoul–and then thought to myself, “you can
kiss my shapely well-published ass, Bucko, because I am *SO* goddamn out of
here.”

And
I thought of the following words, uttered by Alice Walker during her graduation
address to the class of 1972 at Sarah Lawrence College, my own alma mater:

“No
person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence…. Or who belittles in
any way that which you labor so to bring into the world.”


Yes We Can

Okay,
it took me until this last July to actually leave, but still. Here’s the
important thing: I may hate like anything to slam my ass into the chair every day
to write, but I’ll be goddamned if I’ll let anyone get away with demanding I stop. Reading is how I endured my childhood, but writing is the only way
I could’ve survived life as a grownup.

I
never thought I would ever finish a manuscript, but somehow, seven years ago,
in the depths of one of the most miserably tanking abyss periods of my entire
life, my love of words and stories came rushing back—seemingly out of nowhere.

I
got involved with two magnificently supportive writing groups, one focused on
mystery and one more generic. I rediscovered a passion I thought I had given up
forever. And ultimately, I met a bunch of very kind and incredibly cool people
and I got published, so now I can actually support myself… at least this
year.

Believe
me, all of that is a fucking miracle. It is the very best sort of good luck,
and I am every kind of grateful.


525590447_1cfb6aa22f

Funny
how things unfold, though… it turns out the woman my husband has been seeing
all summer and just bought an engagement ring for is this
wannabe-romance-novelist chick, from the generic (and long-defunct) writing
group.



1


There
might be some instant-karma retribution coming due, however. First of all, I
think this woman probably believes she’s snagged my fictional husband “Dean,”
who is waaaaay cooler than the real-life version. Poor thing, though…
eventually she’ll get him home and discover batteries are not included.

 Energizer

Second?
Well, the divorce lawyer was recommended to me by a woman in my Current Writing
Group—who just happens to be an assistant DA in San Francisco. (Not that I want
or expect to walk away with gobs of boodle or anything. {Here are my new nine favorite words in the English language: “I made more money than he did this year.”} I just want the walking-away part: Finito. Over-and-done-with. Thanks
for playing. Buh-bye.
)

And
hey, look… I am far from having been a perfect spouse or anything. Let’s just
say the husband was justified in nicknaming me “the lightning rod for entropy
in the universe.” I’m a fucking slob. I admit it. 

C’est
la guerre
. May we both move on, live long, and prosper. Whatever.

 

Images

Here’s
the problem, though: I’m stuck with my ex as a series character. This is
because I made him look too good on paper.

 O_AOS-Season1-1024wp


In
my defense, I did try to portray him more honestly in my second novel.


LonChaney 


This
made my kinghell genius editor and his scathingly brilliant assistant say,
“What the hell happened to Dean? He’s so goddamned bitchy and whiny… all he
does is yell at Madeline and smoke pot. Why doesn’t he get off his ass and look
for a job?”


Jeff Spicoli - Chris sm

 

I
of course said, as I seem to do with each draft when the gang in NY gets to a
part they don’t like, “Um, because that’s what happened in real life?”

To
which their response is always, “Which doesn’t make said episode suck any
less as fiction. Please go fix it.” (Only they phrase it much more kindly, something I totally appreciate because underneath this hardboiled catcher’s-mitt of
a persona I am such a delicate little flower.)


 Pansy 


This
time around–book three–they just said: 

“So. Dean disappears in the second half of the
book. We need to see more of him…. No, you can’t start showing the
dissolution of the marriage yet…. You’ve got too many other balls in the air
with this narrative.”


Bowling_balls 


In
response to which I sighed a single resigned, “Feh.”

I
guess I’ll just have to think about some other guy while I’m “with” my husband,
in the third draft. (Funny, it seems like I’ve had quite a bit of practice at
that, too, in real life.)


Four


Someday,
however, I’m going to convince the editorial mucky-mucks that it’s time to push
Dean over a steep cliff and then run him over with a big fat honking
train—preferably while he’s wearing his pseudo-ass fakeity-fake-fake
“I-like-to-pretend-I-served-in-Iraq” camo hat, vitriolicly humming along with Rush
Limbaugh–and I’m going to enjoy the hell out of *that*.

Payback’s
a bitch, dude.


Cash_bird 


In
the meantime, screw Tammy Wynette’s lame ol’ “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” here’s some music
to *really* celebrate by:



Dixie Chicks rule!

Now
‘fess up… has reading or writing ever saved you, or given you the opportunity
to honest-to-goodness OWN the last word? Spill….

70 thoughts on “Ball and Chain

  1. R.J. Mangahas

    First off Cornelia, welcome to Murderati. I look forward to reading your posts.

    When my fiancee Anne died almost five years ago, writing literally saved my life. It worked two fold for me. First, it stopped me from doing self destructive things like drinking or doing drugs or worse. And unlike “Dean,” Anne was wholly supported my writing. So I thought I would be doing her memory a huge disservice if I stopped writing and engaged above mentioned behaviors.

    Second, there were several doctors who were out right uncaring about her situation and only saw her as another source to pad their overstuffed pockets. Well, let’s just say, on paper mind you, some not-so-nice things happened to them.

    BTW, love the pics that you used to help illustrate the post. :-]

    Reply
  2. evabaruk

    When I was a child, reading was my only escape from the horrors of the day. No matter how much my father maltreated me or the extent of care I had to provide my ill mother, the stress of the day all melted away at night, when I snuggled under the covers with a flashlight and a book.

    Reply
  3. J.D. Rhoades

    Welcome, Cornelia! When I heard you were joining us, I actually did a little dance of joy. The cat was quite startled.

    I am frequently amazed how how absolutely stupid some of my fellow males can be. A man who’d let you go has something SERIOUSLY WRONG with him. And a man who’d demand you give up a big piece of your soul like that because “he needs a homemaker”…he is far, far less than you deserve.

    I’ve mentioned quite few times what a miserable angry SOB I was before I was writing. So yeah, it’s saved me.

    I’ve still got kinks in my psyche they haven’t even got names for yet and the Black Birds still come from time to time to roost on my shoulders and whisper in my ear about what a useless waste of oxygen I am, but I’m getting better at not listening to them. And, as I’ve mentioned before, when they come to visit is when I do some of my best work. Odd, that.

    Haven’t used a book for “payback” yet, but the one I’m working on now (which has a small town lawyer as its protagonist) just may have a little in it.

    Reply
  4. PK the Bookeemonster

    Well, if you can’t kill him off (which I highly recommend) then give him a horrible disease that puts him in a coma. Or have him hit by the train but survives but has to have extensive plastic surgury plus the brain damage … voila, he’s a different person. When I was in my teens and college I watched the soaps. There’s LOTS of ways to have people disappear but kinda sorta be there and I’m sure they’ve gotten way more inventive since then. Or… you could have him go through such torturous bad times throughout the book … like Kenny … and have fun with that. It could become the running the joke. Good luck and you deserve every good thing that comes to you.

    Reply
  5. B.G. Ritts

    Welcome, Cornelia! You’re a marvelous additon to the ‘Rati!

    Reading has not been so much a refuge as a way for me to employ ‘down’ time in a mind-expanding manner. Since I’m not a writer, my ‘payback’ time was always reserved for when I cut the grass — a task I’ve never enjoyed otherwise. Some of the ways I used to picture getting even with people were imaginative, and occasionally worrisome. I can’t begin to guess the pleasure and satisfaction writers can have getting even with people via their words.

    Reply
  6. JT Ellison

    Welcome, Cornelia! It’s brilliant to have you on board!

    Writing saved me, period. I was floundering, no aim, no prospects, no real desire to find any of the above, after we moved to Tennessee in 98. It was sweatpants and Xena Warrior Princess land. But when I had that first inkling of a story, that first moment of hmm… I might like to get back to writing, that first paragraph down on paper – well, it’s been all good since. Ups and downs, obviously, but good.

    Sometimes it’s hard to get up the mountain, but the view from the top is damn well worth it.

    xoxo

    Reply
  7. Jake Nantz

    Welcome, Ms. Read! AWESOME first post.

    Why do I get the feeling several of the ‘Rati and the commenters are thinking up a new victim or villain, conveniently named ‘Dean’?

    Hell, I haven’t named the lecherous foster father from whom my assassin rescues a 17-year old ‘daughter’ yet. If not Dean, you got any other “Random” names that might work? Dylan’s a sniper, so picture the guy being neutered at around 200-300 meters with a .308 Remington 700. (You know, just to get in touch with his character better, for naming purposes….)

    As far as reading or writing saving me, it hasn’t happened yet with writing. But reading has helped me escape MANY situations and times in my life when I would rather have just shot someone and gotten it over with. Too many to name.

    Again, welcome. And may your ex get drunk and mistake cyanide for viagra…

    Reply
  8. Leslie

    Hi Cornelia,It’s great to see you posting again and Murderati seems like a natural fit for you. I’ve missed your sharp sense of humor with Naked Authors on its long hiatus.

    Sorry to hear about what must have been a tough couple of years. I think a therapeutic fictional murder is definitely required, after sufficient exposure to ridicule and humiliation! 😉

    Tell your “genius editor and his scathingly brilliant assistant” that your readers buy the books for your voice and excellent writing, along with Madeline’s (and your) attitude, other minor artifacts can be replaced.

    I’m looking forward to the saga’s next installment!

    Reply
  9. J.D. Rhoades

    “Why do I get the feeling several of the ‘Rati and the commenters are thinking up a new victim or villain, conveniently named ‘Dean’?”

    Hmmmmm…..not a bad idea.

    Reply
  10. Fiona

    WOW. Your post should come with a warning, “Do not read while drinking coffee.” My keyboard will never be the same. I’m sorry about the pain of your marriage, and I look forward to seeing how you kill of the guy.

    I am a firm believer in (fictionally) killing or maiming the creeps I’ve encountered. I have great plans for the @*%^$ I sat next to at a fundraiser dinner in September. I’m currently writing the horrible death of a couple who tried very hard to ruin my marriage. My DH was not playing ball, though, and all is well.

    Reading has been so important in my life. There wasn’t much money when I was a kid, but the library was free. There is a special place in my heart for libraries.

    Writing has been a solace in a different way. Reading was/is an escape, writing is a release.

    Reply
  11. Mary-Frances Makichen

    Cornelia,Wow, welcome to Murderati. What a fabulous post. It did what any great story should do: I laughed, I cried and in the end I came away liking all the characters involved for better or for worse.

    In the words of Helen Reddy: you’re strong, you’re invincible, you’re woman. You roared and we heard you.

    Reply
  12. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Cornelia and welcome!

    I was so sorry to read about what’s been happening with ‘Dean’ – what a vampire, trying to suck the life and creative spirit out of you. Making the decision to part formally must have come as such a relief.

    I think so many of us who are writing today do so as a kind of therapy. When those Black Birds are not sitting on Dusty’s shoulder, they seem to migrate onto mine and it’s been a hell of a year. (Nothing as painful as yours, of course, but a hell of a year nevertheless.)

    I long ago ran out of people I wanted to kill off in print, so now I take requests. People often give me a name or a part of a name and I include it for a corpse or a villain. For the next book I not only have our own BG Ritts as a character – neither villain nor corpse, I hasten to add – but I was also asked by someone if he could play the lead villain. This is a new one for me, I must admit. Just how nasty do I make him? And what if I make him so nasty that even he doesn’t like himself?

    And Fiona: “Reading was/is an escape, writing is a release.” Well said!

    Reply
  13. Kaye Barley

    Cornelia – Hey! Welcome! I am so glad to see you at a place I love hanging out. But honey – I’m concerned about you. You just didn’t seem yourself; like maybe you were holding back just a bit. Next post, loosen up a bit, O.K.? In the meantime, let’s do kick the man’s ass, but what might hurt him even more is that we lift our glasses high to all the men out there who DO know how to treat their wives, and all women – ’cause man, they make the world go ’round. God love ’em.

    Reply
  14. Cornelia Read

    Wow, you guys get up early! It is so nice to be here on ‘Rati, and thank you for the very warm welcome.

    R.J., Good on you for going after those doctors, and I’m so sorry about Anne. Maybe we should all name a really *great* character Anne in an upcoming work?

    evabaruk, I’m totally with you on the reading escape. Books saw me through a particularly evil stepfather’s sojourn, and I don’t think I would’ve made it mentally intact, otherwise. He’s actually “outed” in the book I’m working on now.

    Dusty, thank you so much for that dance of joy. Consider yourself virtually hugged. And yes, the “Black Birds.” Sometimes they’re the best writing fuel of all.

    PK, I’m loving the idea of a soap-opera solution. I remember hearing a story years ago about a woman back in the day who wrote a very successful radio soap about a small town, and after a number of years at the job she was really sick of the whole endeavor and wanted to stop. Her bosses reminded her she was under contract, IIRC, so in her next episode, she loaded them all onto a bus for a church picnic and then drove it off a bridge. Neat, that.

    B.G., you’re making me wish I had a little patch of lawn to tend. Of course this week I’d probably just Napalm it…

    JT, I’m with you on the sweatpants and Xena. I was laid off from a dotcom job in 2001, and just drifting and aimless and feeling like I was about to hit my forties with no rudder and no direction, and then I saw an ad on craiglist posted by a guy who wanted to start a mystery writing group. The guy’s name is Charles King and the group really saved me. And I’m so glad you got the idea that nudged you into this fine gang of people.

    Jake, you totally cracked me up… Please feel free to use the name Dean, if you’re at a loss for a moniker. And do they make blue cyanide? Hmmmm….

    Leslie, thank you so much. I do think they’re right about this book, but I look forward to future installments (God and contracts willing) in which he doesn’t fare so well.

    Fiona, apologies about the keyboard–I’ve spewed many a beverage while reading great posts here. And I think you’re exactly right about reading vs. writing. Both are great, but they serve different purposes for the psyche.

    Mary-Frances, thank you! And I think I need to go buy a little Helen R on iTunes.

    Louise, aw sweetie, you gladden my tiny black heart!

    Reply
  15. Cornelia Read

    Zoë, thanks so much for the kind welcome, and I love that people give you names for villains/victims–how wonderful! I’ll look forward to seeing B.G. in your next one.

    And Kaye, you just made me laugh SO hard!

    Reply
  16. pari

    Cornelia,WELCOME to the ‘Rati!

    Sorry I didn’t comment earlier, my youngest had some flu bug and generously gave it to me.

    Writing? Reading? Both have saved my life too many times to count. If my tum weren’t gurgling, I might try to explain, but others have already done a better job than I can right now.

    Reply
  17. toni mcgee causey

    Great to have you here, Cornelia–and I vote for Dean having a sudden disfiguring disease where body parts wither and fall off. Much more fun that way.

    Those crows on Dusty’s and Zoe’s shoulders are busy–they spend a lot of time down here. I’ve killed off a few people, but still have a few to go.

    Reply
  18. Cornelia Read

    Pari, thank you so much, and I wish you a speedy recovery from the gurgling. Ginger ale (I like Reed’s, even if they spell their name funny…)

    Patty, you gorgeous thing, thank you!

    Toni, it’s a pleasure and an honor to be here. And I think we might need to invent virtual crow traps?

    Reply
  19. pari

    I had to come back to suggest this:

    We could have a Dean fest here at Murderati — with each one of us crafting a flash fiction story, maybe a little longer, in which he met his deserved end. 😉

    Okay, back to bed for me.

    Reply
  20. Jake Nantz

    “And I think we might need to invent virtual crow traps?”

    Here in NC, virtual 12 gauges tend to work. Surprised Mr. Rhoades hasn’t tried one yet…

    (don’t shoot when they are ON the writer’s shoulder, of course…virtual or not, it can leave quite a mess and an interesting type of writer’s block)

    Reply
  21. Kaye Barley

    Pari! You’re brilliant! (we knew that!) Seems the North Carolina contingent (Hey, Jake!) is particularly blood thirsty today – but yes, let’s do this. Want to, Cornelia??! oh boy oh boy oh boy . . .

    Reply
  22. Brett N

    Easy peasy–

    So Dean gets (horribly, gruesomely, Verhoevenly) murdered and Madeline is of course wrongly tabbed as the prime suspect, and she fights a la the Benet family not only to find the real killer(s) but redeem her public reputation as well.

    And then on page the last we find that Mads did in fact off the fat bastard, lead pipe in the drawing room and all that jazz.

    Maybe you could bring in Jerry Reed or Tim Conway as a special guest star, just like a Scooby Doo adventure. That would rock.

    And it still tickles my secret spots to no end for me to say “I knew you back when.”

    Rock on, cuz. We shall overcome.

    Reply
  23. Marianne

    Cornelia!!! I’ve sooooo missed you Miss C. since Nekkid Awfurs has been on an extended hiatus. Welcome!! 😀

    So, ‘Dean’s’ been a bit of a midlife crisis bastard with a ‘mummy must look after me at every turn’ fixation. I would love to be a fly on the wall when the romantic novelty wears off for her, and for him. 😀 Imagine all of the writing fodder…

    Groin injury. He needs to have a groin injury really soon. Followed by some form of gangrene setting in. Amputation or death? Decisions, decisions…. 😀

    I recently added a passing comment scene to my novel ms where one of my disaster relief policemen got kicked in the groin by a frantically frightened sheep…much to the glee of a romantic rival. No, it’s not as tritely gross as sounds. 😀

    So, can you kill ‘Dean’ off in the next book? Have Madeline go through emotional wrangling over it all, then suck it up and then sadly decide on a new future. Until then, she can FAKE it. You’re a woman, you can write it – probably better than the reality. Hey they made it work with Ghost Whisperer on tv, but it seems to be getting really schmaltzy on the show trailers, and of course, ‘Dean’ isn’t really like that. ‘Dean’s’ redneck roots are showing.

    Super big hugs Cornelia for all you have gone through this year. And congratulations for having earned more than the ‘bastard’. 😀 You’ll have to read author Anne McCaffrey’s biography written with her son Todd: she went through similar to you and came out brilliant and successful on the other side. Her husband felt threatened by her success after belittling her over if for years…

    Cheers,Marianne

    Reply
  24. Cornelia Read

    Hey, I’m all over this idea (“Go Speed Racer, go!”). You guys are hysterically funny.

    I recently posited on Facebook that we needed divorce advent calendars. Maybe the ladies version could feature “groin injuries du jour” behind the little paper windows.

    Marianne, I have missed your smiley commenty virtual face… Wilkommen and Bienvenue to Brett.

    And where did I leave my virtual 12-guage? I had it here just a moment ago…

    Reply
  25. Catherine

    My natural sister(I’m adopted and we found each other in adulthood) had some awful childhood years that could pulled her down forever. I see one of my brothers still struggle as he was the golden child.Nothing like having someone warped approve of you to do your head in. However my sister’s motto has been and is, to live her own life well as the best revenge.She does this in spades.

    I’ve found the above motto not only true, but the codicil of having life hand someone what they thought they wanted,( when they lied, cheated, tried to supress another person), has it’s own piquant charm.

    Welcome to Murderati Cornelia.

    Reply
  26. Cornelia Read

    Catherine, I have days when I can’t even spell “shift.”

    Shit! See?

    And yes, the “golden” child has a whole other set of problems, when the bestower of gilding is evil. That’s actually a big part of my third book.

    Reply
  27. Pammy D

    Cornelia:

    Are you my new BFF?

    Sorry about the Ex’s gaslighting abuse. That sucks.

    Welcome to emancipation.

    As so many others posted, reading kept me company as a kid, and somewhat sane as an adult.

    The untimely demise of my former husband’s ‘special friend’, inspired my current ms. While it is a work of COMPETE FICTION, someone else on this list, who is apparently as evil as I am, encouraged me to write it. Yes, it’s a comedy.

    Once I pull my head out of my box of tissues (current cold from hell), I will wobble down to the book store and pick up one of your books.

    Hang in there, honey.

    Pammy D

    Reply
  28. spyscribbler

    Oh, Cornelia, I wish with all my heart I could send this post to one of my good friends. I wish she could see this! I wish she could read that Alice Walker quote!

    He squashes even the tiniest of her dreams. It breaks my heart.

    I wish you tons of luck and happiness, and thanks for the inspiring post!

    Reply
  29. Andi Shechter

    HELLO GORGEOUS.i think, my sweet, that just as writers and conventions host fundraisers to give fans the chance to get their name in a book, we need to host a fundraising cntest where the winner gets to a) kill off Dean in THEIR next book or b) choose the disease/accident Dean’s gonna have (though I FAR more recommend the embarrassing event, nothing that would mean that Maddy has to take care of Dean ever, nor that would make a joke out of serious medical crap) or c) I dunno, just a contest. (I vaguely remember bitching to you about Dean in one of his incarnations, i think. His tiresome ness was somewhat balanced knowing he was very smart, but NOT enough.)

    THINK of the money we could make! Since you and I know at least one other, maybe two, writers in very similar situations (women who became successful writers and the husbands who couldn’t cope and began affairs or wanted them to come back and be Little Housewife (whoch none of you EVER were) (was?) we could raise HUGE amounts for anything from minibar bills to tuition. There’s GOTTA be a way.

    Reply
  30. Cornelia Read

    Spy, it takes a long time to see it, when it’s you. I think part of it is the inclination to go, “if I just squeeze myself a little bit smaller, then everything will be okay.”

    When you’re in the thick of it, even your most trusted got-your-back friends can’t bust through the denial, but eventually you realize the reason you’re hobbling around in pain is because you’ve bound your own feet trying to please someone who’d just as soon trip you.

    Reply
  31. Becky Hutchison

    It’s great to read you on Murderati, Cornelia. Welcome! And bummer about your marriage. I’ve been married twenty years next week, but he’s the very opposite of your almost-ex. So I think I’ll have to keep him. However, one of my sisters had a similar outcome as yours in her twentieth year of marriage. She found that she and her husband had grown apart. She’d grown…he hadn’t. Divorce was the only solution.

    As far as your reading/writing question, I’ve loved to read even before I knew how to distinguish words on a page. I would just hold my sisters’ books and try to read anything I could. Without the escapism of all the novels I devoured, I would have been miserable through most summer vacations. I was one of the very few people I knew that hated going to the pool everyday. This was because I quickly turned into Larry the Lobster. And vacations at the beach were terrible. I know, I know, you think I’m crazy. But every time my family went on vacation, I would get so sunburned the first day, I’d have to lie on the bed for the next two or three days covered head to toe in Noxema…not so much fun. Reading kept me somewhat sane.

    Now that I’m older, I still go through loads of books on vacations. If the heat index is, say, 100 or above, I’ll be inside in the A/C reading or writing. If we go to the Southwest (like we did this past summer), say, I’ll be inside in the A/C reading or writing. I’ll admit it, I’m a wimp…but a very happy, non-sunburned and somewhat cool wimp.

    Reply
  32. Cornelia Read

    I was just thinking the other day what a nostalgic smell the scent of Noxzema is, Becky. Can’t remember what made me think of it, but I realized I probably hadn’t smelled it in ten years, and instantly wanted to go buy some. Synchronicity…

    Reply
  33. Cornelia Read

    I like the anthology idea. “Dean Noir.”

    Although I was just thinking yesterday it would be fun to write a bunch of short stories and call the collection “Bad Husbands.” I have one done already–one of the first really non-autobiographical things I’ve written in years, as it happens.

    Reply
  34. Andi Shechter

    “it takes a long time to see it, when it’s you.” That’s it i one. I’ve worked for 9 years, off and on, at the office of a battered women’s shelter. I’ve never worked at the shelter, but I’ve read everything I can to understand. Oh yeah.And I know another long-time mystery author who, like McCafferey, went through it. Saw her some years back, looking lighter and younger. she’d gotten a divorce from the man who never read a word she wrote (short fiction and novels) and never GOT that it wasn’t a hobby. And this woman was one of THE important figures in our field.

    Remembering ANOTHER conversation with yet another wrier who reminded me “it’s ALL material” and yes, she began with The Great Guy and ended up with The Jerk and was in fact stuck with a successful series. Dunno what she’s done since as i stopped reading the series after we drifted apart as friends.

    GROIN INJURY!!!!! hands up for this one! so perfect!this reminds me of one of those goofy anthologies some fans have done with the starter sentence, the “it has to include a duck” etc. Oy.

    Goats for Groin injuries! hurray!

    Reply
  35. Allison Brennan

    Say it isn’t so! My upcoming hero is named Dean. Sigh.

    Fortunately, I never model any fictional characters after real people (okay, once, but I’ll never admit to which one, and isn’t libel when you say something that isn’t true about someone? Wouldn’t he have to prove a fictional representation of him wasn’t true? Ha! I have truth on my side . . . well, as true as fiction can be . . . )

    I’m a slob. My husband knew this before we were married, hence when he complains about messes I point this fact out. If he wants to TRY to change my bad habits, then I’ll try to change his, then we’ll both be miserable. He knew I was a slob and he STILL married me, therefore it’s not my problem.

    Reading has always been my escape, in many ways more than writing, but writing is hugely cathartic for me. There’s nothing better than having a story click and come together. I can’t imagine doing anything else. My son asked me the other day, “Mom, what’s your second favorite thing to do?” I said, “Second?” He said, “I know writing is your first favorite thing to do, so what’s your second?”

    It’s amazing how wise kids can be.

    Welcome, Cornelia. Now I’m not the baby of the group anymore!

    Reply
  36. Cornelia Read

    Aw, Allison… could you maybe stub your Dean’s toe or something?

    Thank you for the warm welcome, and I have to say it feels kind of great to be the baby somewhere. Doesn’t happen often so much in real life anymore, you know? I guess I have the first-born’s love of getting to be “the littlest,” every once in a while.

    Reply
  37. Marianne

    Title of the collection might be: “He Done Her Wrong…So She Done Him In”. 😀

    BTW, I’ll supply an additional gift of a goodish sized box of homemade chocolates to the winner of the flash fiction/short story/knock off Dean collective… 😀 Some people will do anything for chocolate…

    Getting even in print is the best thing – I have yet to have a real go at popping off troublesome people, but I’m willing to give it a try. 😀

    Reading was my best friend when I was growing up. I was lonely a lot of the time and something of a misfit. Reading helped my dreams take flight and to eventually realize some of them, and then aided and abetted me finding the courage to pursue them. I started writing in grade school, but did nothing serious then until after I got out of the airforce in my mid twenties. I lost my writing for about 10 years until I came to the USA to live. The tragedy of 9/11 seemed to galvanize my writing again and I was off and running. Lately, I’m working at it and am wanting to do some short stories again as well as work on my novel. Last year was one of writing up outlines for children’s books and reviewing the ones I had already written bits of. Sometimes we surprise ourselves at what we can accomplish, and it only takes one outside voice of encouragement to put us on a completely new and vitally important path. After listening to silence for so long, I now have several voices who tell me I’m worth it and my dreams and creativity are worth it. It’s a nice place to finally be. I’m glad our voices are a joyous welcoming chorus to you, Cornelia – you are finally here where you are meant to be: home.

    Hugs to all,Marianne

    Reply
  38. Fran Fuller

    Welcome, and oh I have missed your blogging voice! Welcome indeed!

    We’ve gotta get together one of these days for a drink or two. I’ve got my fake voodoo doll and LOTS of pins!

    Reply
  39. Tammy Cravit

    Writing, and reading, have long been my salvations through the crazy times, the bone-crushing despair times, and even the happy times. They’re what keeps my internal compass pointing north instead of, say, south-east. Congrats on losing the vampire, and welcome to Murderati!

    Reply
  40. Rae

    I’m so, so glad to see you here, Cornelia.

    And a pox on all Evil Exes, wherever and whoever they may be, and may they all be struck by horrid rashes in places where they can’t scratch.

    😉

    Reply
  41. Rob Gregory Browne

    Great post, Cornelia, and welcome to Murderati. I didn’t get a chance to read this until late, but I’ve been wondering why my wife — who reads this blog also — has been calling me Dean.

    Reply
  42. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Cornelia, I am so thrilled to have you here with us at last and and beyond thrilled to have you free of that miserable loser. A goddess deserves a god. The best IS yet to come and you deserve every glorious second of it.

    Re: revenge – I was taking revenge for all screenwriters when I killed off a producer in a novella I just wrote. I’ve never killed for revenge before and it felt scarily great.

    Reply
  43. Paula Matter

    Six-word stories are fun…

    Don’t need husband or his money.

    Local man dead. New fiancee charged.

    Mystery readers rejoice in Dean’s demise.

    Recently divorced man murdered. Who cares?

    Paula Matter

    Reply
  44. Kait Nolan

    Good for you for standing up for yourself and your work Cornelia! You’re well rid of the unsupportive jerk.

    Writing has always been both an escape and a way to face things in life. I’ve always kind of had the attitude that if I could write about something, I could own it, control it. Sublimation of conflict into writing (according to Freud, the highest level of defense mechanism, ironically enough). I think it’s no coincidence though, that during the most difficult times of my life, I wasn’t writing any sort of reality based fiction–rather I was taking all that personal conflict and pouring it into fantasy and paranormal.

    Reply
  45. tess

    Oh. My. God. I’m late to reading this entry, and I just have to say that I don’t know whether to cry or to laugh (which I confess, you made me do.) What I can do, unabashedly, is cheer. For your instincts as a survivor, and your ability to triumph despite one hell of a horrible year.

    Welcome. And I vote to keep Dean alive — think of all the great conflict he could generate as he’s revealed to be more and more of a jerk.

    Reply
  46. Stagmom

    Hello, Cornelia, author of one of the greatest posts I have ever had the honor of running over at A of A. If any of you comment readers want to be hurtled back into your chair and struck dumb, read this:

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/03/the-naked-autho.html

    Three kids with autism. That started me writing. It was write it all down or explode. Or shrivel. And I’m no shriveler.

    I wish you well. I’m glad you’re still writing. Kim

    Reply
  47. Sunnie

    Groin injury? I like it but not far enough. How about a groin injury under some sort of humiliating circumstances followed up by a nasty infection resulting in gangrene and necessary amputation?

    I was an only child so books were often my only company in the long summer holidays. My love of reading has never diminished.

    For the record I have a lovely hubby. 32 years and counting. He’s home a bit early today and is currently pretending he’s not interested in Midsomer Murders on the telly and having interacting with one of our dogs, which involves giving her a moustache using the long hair around her face.. siigh (I do wonder sometimes)

    Reply
  48. Cornelia Read

    Hi all,

    I feel like such a bonehead–I didn’t realize comments go on to another page with typepad, so I didn’t realize these all were here until just now. Thank you so much for the cool additions! This is starting to feel more like a pirate ship than a blog, and it’s most excellent to find myself among such a rowdy gang of buccaneers.

    Reply
  49. rosebud

    How timely. I recently got A Field of Darkness, but haven’t had the chance to start it. Thanks for the heads up. Now that I know Dean’s going to turn into a major prick, I know not to fall for him. At least you’ve saved me some heartache.(or, I guess you could turn Dean into the actual man of your dreams so the “real” prick will know everything he never was, or will be.)

    Oh, and…you may want to edit this on your website ASAP: “She continues to rebel against familial tradition by staying married to a lovely sane man who is gainfully employed.” The fun you will have twisting that around boggles the mind. Yikes!

    Hang in there. The light at the end of the tunnel is the sunshine (or it could be a train…with Dean’s body already smushed on it, a la Wiley Coyote.)

    Reply

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