In Which I Completely Forget Which Saturday It Is (and then get all weepy and shit.)

By Cornelia Read

(“Pearl of Great Price,” decoupage, Frederick H. Read 2005)

 

So I am a big dodo, today. I totally thought it was Alex’s Saturday to post, which it SO is not.

Today I have to get my daughter ready to fly to India tomorrow–which means finding someplace to buy a mosquito net and water purification tablets and apparently a new pair of sandals since hers just broke, which is interesting since “broke” is what currently describes the amount in my checking account (my mom is paying for India for Grace and her cousin Sasha, which is astonishingly great of her.)

Also just got a letter in the mail this morning which seems to indicate that Grace’s school neglected to give her financial aid for senior year, and would now like me to come up with $30,820–$15,435 of it by July 1. I am wondering if walking into the fin aid office Monday morning and saying, “you know, I filled out all the online paperwork back in April and got it in on time and everything, and if there’s something more recent I neglected to do, I apologize but my father just shot himself and the whole family kind of went off the rails and everyone required a lot of long-distance phone call handholding for upwards of eight hours a day for the first couple of weeks after that, because it’s not like a suicide makes a crazy family suddenly SANER, you know? And could you possibly help me out here because at the moment I have $250 in my fucking checking account…”

And Dad checking out when he did also means I blew my June 1 deadline for book four, which means said book will probably not be published next year, and I kind of am having trouble getting my head back into the work, go figure.

On the bright side, my writing group back in California just read what I have of that manuscript, to date, and I made everyone cry twice, in just the parts that are supposed to do that, and they think the rest of it is funny and poignant and they like my arson investigator chick, so that is a huge relief (unless they’re just saying that to make me feel better because everything else in my orbit sucks so hard right about now, which is always a possibility but I think I’ll just go with hypothesis A, here, for the moment anyway.)

The memorial service in California was fabulous, though. It was so beautiful, and we all worked really hard to make it look good, and a friend of my dad and stepmom offered up his house for the day. My writing group and my publisher sent gorgeous flowers, God Bless Them Every One. A hundred fifty people came, twenty people got up and spoke. Everyone brought his favorite foods. One woman flew in from Australia to be there, two people came from Hawaii, lots from the East Coast. May pals Sophie Littlefield and Julie Goodson-Lawes and Muffy Srinivasan drove down from the Bay Area, which was such a hugely blessed occurrence that I can barely believe I know such fabulous women.

I have been thinking a lot lately about whether it would be harder to lose a parent who was wonderful and beloved and a pillar in your life, or tougher to have the kind of fraught relationship Dad and I had–missing the good parts, wishing there had been more of them, knowing that now that can never be fully resolved. I guess both options suck profoundly, only in different ways.

I miss the man I knew back in 1967,

(showing off for Dad in front of his new Porsche–Belgian shoes and all, Jericho, NY, 1967)

when I was four and he was my favorite person in the entire world–before the drugs and the Primal Therapy and the pain of life in general killed that guy off, so that I only got glimpses of his ghost for the following four decades.

(“Upper Orchard,” Centre Island, New York. September 17th, 1988)

 

He stopped speaking to me for twelve years, starting when my daughter Lila’s autism was diagnosed. That was a deeply shitty month–a week later I found out that my husband had been sleeping with a woman he’d worked with in Colorado for a year and a half. October of ’97 SUCKED, let me tell you.

 

 

 

 

Dad only got back in touch when my first novel was published. He came to a signing I did with Lee Child in Thousand Oaks, after having sent my mother (to whom he hadn’t spoken in decades) a note saying “we plan to see the author at her T.O. appearance.” He wrote that on a sheet from a small notepad, embossed with “Proud Supporter of the California Rifle and Pistol Association” across the top.

 

The weekend before that I was in Scottsdale with Lee, at Poisoned Pen for our first signing together. We were smoking outside the building, leaning up against the wall in the heat, and I said, “look, my dad is planning to come see us next weekend, and I haven’t seen him in twelve years. He thinks the KGB reads his mail and that ninjas want to barbecue and eat his feet and steal his collages. Plus which I still have his Marine Corps sharpshooters medal, and he’s now a postal worker, and he wrote my mom this weird note on gun-nut stationery… so if you want me to rent us both some Kevlar vests or totally pull out of the event, I’m totally okay with that. Because he’s pretty insane and it’s all freaking me out a little, here.”

Lee took a drag of his Camel and said, “well, if you’re really nervous, I think we have two choices. Either I can hire security, or I can just take him out into the parking lot and slap him around a little.”

And I thought to myself, “Lee CHILD wants to beat up my dad for me… that’s the coolest thing EVER!” Which in and of itself is pretty fucking weird, right? In an awesome Reacher kind of a way, of course.

And Dad thankfully didn’t shoot us, he just ate most of the plate of brownies the bookstore had put out, and got in the back of the line to have his copy of Field of Darkness signed, behind the 150 people there to see Lee, and he was actually kind of sweet about it all, and I didn’t even cry until I got back into the media escort’s car, which took a lot of fortitude.

After that he was back in my life, in the best way he could manage to be–not without mentions of ninjas and Primal tantrums and stuff, but still, my dad was back, and he got to know my daughter Grace, and told me how sorry he was about Lila, and I grew to love my half-sister, and get close again with my stepmom. They even invited us to spend three weeks with them at Camp in the Adirondacks last summer.

 

And Peter Riegert came up to visit and see if it would work as a location for the film of Field he’d like to do, and stayed for three days.

On the last day, Dad rowed Riegert and me around the lake in an old guideboat for a couple of hours, telling us stories about what it was like there when he was a kid, and being totally charming.

Peter said later, “I know you have kind of a tough relationship with your dad, and you have to deal with Angry Dad and Crazy Dad, but he was totally charming today to me, and I greatly appreciate that.”

(See: “Read Camp,” pp. 189-195)

And I told him it was really nice having a friend who was famous enough to make my dad get his head out of his ass for an entire afternoon, and not even mention a single ninja, but it also made me really happy. When Peter called up a couple of weeks ago to tell me how sorry he was to read my email about what had just happened with Dad, I told him that that afternoon is one of the best times I ever had with my father, and thanked him for making that possible.

I told the story of Dad showing up unexpectedly at “Father’s Weekend” at my boarding school when I was seventeen (he showed up with nothing but a sleeping bag, not having told me beforehand that he was planning to attend, and asked me to find him a place to sleep. Unfortunately he ended up bunking at the headmaster’s cottage, through a series of odd coincidencs, and I’m pretty sure Dad was the first person EVER to do marathon bonghits in my headmaster’s guest bathroom…) at Murder By The Book in Houston when I was on tour earlier this year. It’s kind of a long story, but it’s pretty funny. And it ends with the headmaster of my school coming up to me and saying, “I’ve been doing these weekends for twenty years now, and your father is the ONLY interesting man I’ve ever met at a single one of them…” which was especially nice since I figured he was going to tell me I was expelled because my dad had done marathon bonghits in his bathroom all weekend. Anyway, I made everyone in the store laugh a lot, which was awesome.

I told that story again at the memorial gathering. And people got to laugh again, which was good, and it made everyone cry, too.

Crap. Now I’m crying again, too. It’s been a couple of days since I’ve done that, and I’ve got a lot to get taken care of today… I will leave you with the following, the obit my Aunt Jean wrote for the NY Times:

 

(Dad with Grandmama Read and his eldest niece Edith, Camp, 1945?)

 

READ–Frederick Harvey. Frederick Harvey Read the eighth son of the late Vice-Admiral USNR and Mrs. William A. Read, of Purchase, NY died suddenly, May 13, 2010 in Malibu, CA. Fred attended Buckley School in New York City, St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, graduated from Lawrenceville School and attended the University of Colorado. He then joined the Marine Corps where he was the outstanding marine in his division at Camp Pendleton and learned how to sky dive with Jacques Istel at Hemet, CA. After his military service he married Deborah Smith of Centre Island and had two daughters, Cornelia L. F. Read, the author, and Freya Read Read, a designer for The Pottery Barn, who survive him. He then became a Junior Partner at the Wall Street firm of Hayden Stone. In his early years, he was a member of The Brook Club in New York. He also sailed at The Seawanaka Corinthian Yacht Club. That marriage ended in divorce and after a brief stint in Nassau, Bahamas and Chandolin, Switzerland, Fred moved to Malibu to be near his children. During his years in Malibu, he was a short order cook at The Neptune’s Net, a taxi driver and a master Volkswagen mechanic. A fine hockey player, he played with Charles Schulz’s pick-up team. He married Bonna Newman and had their daughter, Elena Jean Read, both surviving. A loving father, he is also survived by four grandchildren, Lila and Grace Eggert and Indy and Sasha Read, his eldest brother, William A. Read, Jr. of Palm Beach, FL, his other brothers, Peter B. Read of Jaffrey, NH, Donald B. Read of Old Lyme, CT, his sister, Jean Read Knox of Williamsville, NY, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by four other brothers, Curtis S. Read, David W. Read, Roderick F. Read, and Alexander D. Read. Fred was a wonderful trout and salmon fly fisherman, a lover of nature and beautiful green places, and a very talented artist. His work showed in 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, and at Diesel Bookstore in Malibu, CA. He was also noted for his scrimshaw which is in many private collections. Until recently, Fred was a 17 year employee of the United States Post Office in Malibu, CA. Fred will be missed by all who knew and loved him and his many friends. A memorial service will be held at the convenience of the family.

 

 

Dad’s collages are online at http://www.artforcetwo.com/home

(“Big Indian,” decoupage, Frederick H. Read 2003)

47 thoughts on “In Which I Completely Forget Which Saturday It Is (and then get all weepy and shit.)

  1. Cornelia Read

    Ach, Stephen, it’s all memoir–only with murders thrown in for plot. I have a feeling I’m not going to run out of material any time soon. And thank you for crying, you’re a mensch and a sweetie.

    Reply
  2. Daisy

    Well, I can’t speak for everyone else, obviously, but if anything should be clear about me in the group by now it’s that I can’t lie for shit about what I think about a book, even when I should. So no worries there.

    Reply
  3. pari noskin taichert

    Cornelia,
    My heart remains with you and your family.

    Difficult parents? I had two. Responding to their deaths have been part of my life’s work ever since. For my friends who had beloved and kind parents, it’s the same story. Only the tenor, the quality of the work changes.

    Thank you for this beautiful post. (I hope the fin. aid works out; we’re paupering ourselves to put our kids through private school . . .)

    Reply
  4. JT Ellison

    Cornelia, your timing… the photograph of the skies weeping at camp… ah, God. Life is a mysterious thing, and the death of loved ones certainly points that out. xoxo

    Reply
  5. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Cornelia

    Glad to see you’re here – I kept popping back to ‘Rati this morning and was starting to worry.

    As JT said, the pictures of the rain and the empty chairs at the camp…

    …just heartbreaking.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you get your funding.

    Reply
  6. Cornelia Read

    Zoe, thank you. And I have been thinking so much of all the people in your County having to recover from the recent sadness there. You wrote about it so beautifully.

    Reply
  7. anonymous

    This was a beautiful post, Cornelia. I was sort of teasing you about "dealing" with your blog when I emailed you this morning. I didn’t realize that you really HAD forgotten it was your day. Amazing what you can write out when in a panic. Straight from the heart and you touched us all. The pictures of camp are so ‘quiet’ and seem haunted with your memories. Would make good book covers. Your father’s art is incredible. I had no idea. Like seeing inside out through his mind’s kaleidoscope.

    God. What are we going to do about you? Things should be so sweet and carefree at this time of your life and it is all shitty and fucked up. We need a better plan here. Something is really off. I feel so guilty with what I have when I know that you and Louise have been dragged around the dirt track so much in the last couple of years.

    I hope Grace has a fabulous experience in India with Sasha and that she comes home with her ‘horizons widened’ and is duly installed in school for another year. Why does everything have to be so fucking hard? Sigh. Are you going to have to get a job at Wal*Mart now? You could excuse yourself by telling people you are doing it for research for your next book, I guess. But then, I doubt that anyone you know ever steps into a Wal*Mart so your secret would be safe.

    Reply
  8. Cornelia Read

    Thank you! Yeah, I think the collages are very much what the world looked like to him. Those are the two I have copies of his stuff, so I’ve been staring at them a lot because they’re up on the wall in my bedroom, here in NH. A lot of the other ones have tons of naked chicks in them, so those are the two I picked when he offered to send me copies last summer. Dad said, "what do you have against naked chicks?" and I went, "well, nothing, really, but if I want to see tits all I have to do is stand in front of a mirror and pull my shirt up, so it’s not exactly massively exciting to me or anything, you know?"

    The other two pics I’m staring at a lot are two enlargements I brought home from the memorial–the one of me sitting on Dad’s lap on the boat in Oyster Bay in ’67, and a B&W of the two of us walking down the steps into my grandmother’s rose garden on Centre Island at my wedding. We look kind of identical except I’m wearing a veil and a big giant creampuff dress and Dad has insanely huge sidburns. I should probably take a pic of the wedding one with my iPhone and post it here.

    Reply
  9. anonymous

    I would love to see that wedding pic. The one of you and your dad at the yacht club is one of my favorite photos. It should be enlarged and framed as art. The look in your eyes is so vulnerable and sweet. Those little hands and tentative fingers.

    Reply
  10. billie

    You are pretty amazing to forget it’s your day and then slap this incredible post up like it’s nothing! I’m sorry life is being so hard for you right now. Sending all the good thoughts I can muster. It seems like it’s been a really hard year and a half for a lot of folks I know. I think some good stuff is past due.

    Reply
  11. Barbie

    Cornelia, you don’t even know me, but it sounds like you need a hug. *hugs* 🙂

    I read blogs quite frequently, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen with so much raw emotion as yours. I can feel your pain, and your hurt, and your betrayal, and, man, that made me weep. You get to "know" people around here, and you wonder about them, what they’re up to, and how they were holding up, and when they don’t remember to post their blog, you wonder if they’re okay. You get to worry, and to care. Sounds interesting, weird, funny in the non humorous sense of the word, caring and worrying about complete strangers in the other side of the world (though, in my case, more like the opposite hemisphere of the American continent).

    My half sister’s mother committed suicide when she was 13. She just turned 18, and, we’re not exactly tight close, but from what I’ve gathered from her, it was being around her friends and people who truly care about her that gave her strength to continue. Same goes for my grandma when my aunt committed suicide last year: her friends and family gave her strength. From what I’ve seen here, you have a lot of people who care about you, and who are here for you. But I understand the raw pain of loss, anger and betrayal is there! I’ve been trying to find a way to take that away from a person, but I haven’t figured out a way yet. If I ever do, I’ll be sure to let you know!

    I know that right now is hard to love, and trust, and give yourself to people, but I hope you are able to find comfort in those you love. I’m so, truly sorry about the hard times you’ve had, about what lies ahead.

    I wish you peace, even if little bursts of it once in a while, so you can recharge, strength, to get your heart and soul to feel whole again. And love, above all.

    Be good to yourself! 🙂

    Reply
  12. Barbie

    ps: on a COMPLETELY unrelated note, I think you look so much like Sonya Walger, from LOST AND FLASHFOWARD! She’s beautiful 🙂

    Reply
  13. Cornelia Read

    Wedding pic is now up.

    Billie, I adore you, and thank you!

    Barbie, there is something so profound and nourishing about having such a tribe of fine people online at a time like this. I thank you for your kindness.

    Reply
  14. anonymous

    What a gorgeous man your dad was. You look very much like him. Except that he didn’t resemble Grace Kelly, in the least. God you were a beautiful bride!

    Your expression is serious. I remember crying so hard when my father walked me down the isle. (deep breath) Fathers and daughters.

    I read all of the comments from Fred’s friends on his obit page. Everyone loved him so much. I am sorry you missed that part of him. I really am. I am sorry Grace missed so much of him. But what you have is better than it might have been. and by the way……..tell Peter I think he is a roaring mensch. (to hang out with your dad and you and stay at camp and all) Lee, too. (So nice of him to ask a little newbie writer along on one of his phat book tours)

    This was a loving post. One of my favorites going all the way back to your classics on The Naked Authors’ blog. Too bad blogging doesn’t pay! It pays in hugs though. Thanks for posting those pictures. Wonderful stuff.

    Reply
  15. PK the Bookeemonster

    Feeling too much to say much more than aren’t people amazing. Life in all its infinite ways of expression, the good the bad, how it all comes together with people just floors me.

    Reply
  16. Tom

    Okay, I’m going out to buy some extra lottery tix for Grace’s schooling.

    The rest . . . one step at a time, with your friends. I believe you will pass through.

    I found something profoundly funny today. It made me laugh and start reading out loud. I’ll send it to you at Facebook.

    Reply
  17. Allison Brennan

    Warts and all, he was your dad and has his own amazing story and art, and I can’t think of a better collection of stories to share than this. I’m so glad you had him back in your life, even for too short a time.

    Reply
  18. KDJames / BCB

    My dad has been gone almost 14 years now. I still miss him terribly and am sometimes capable of crying buckets over the loss, especially when I read a poignant post like this one and recognize the pain and longing of "what if" and "if only." Yeah, I’m a total wimp.

    My dad once told me a story about his dad taking him out in a boat. Dad was maybe 10 or 11 and a bit of a handful and I think my grandma perhaps suggested to her husband that he should take his son out from under her feet for an afternoon. So he loaded an old aluminum fishing boat onto the back of a pickup truck, grunted at dad to get in, and off they went. They got to the lake and grandpa said, "Put the boat in the water." Three or four hours later, when they were back on shore, he said, "Put the boat in the truck." And those were the only words he spoke the entire time.

    Dad wasn’t quite that taciturn, though he had his moments. I don’t remember why he told me that story. Not sure why I’m telling it to you now. Except maybe to say that there is a very broad spectrum of crazy and some of it is easier to remember fondly. I’m glad you have such gorgeous pictures and art to accompany the past.

    Also, as the mother of a daughter who is determined to tromp all over the far-flung parts of the world, especially the parts with mountains (and at this moment, the part with both mountains and BEARS), I hope you survive Grace’s trip to India. I know she’ll have a blast.

    Hang in there. It gets easier — both being a child and being a parent.

    Reply
  19. Cornelia Read

    KD/BCB–I think we had the same grandfather? I remember a story about Dad’s Dad once coming home three hours late or something from work. He walked into the dining room and sat down and didn’t say a word.

    Finally, my grandmother, asked, "what happened, Gus?"

    To which he replied, "Goddamn train had square wheels.

    Reply
  20. Eloise Hill

    Cornelia, as I read this I am reminded (again) of what an amazing writer you are. You’ve made your family and experience—shitty as it may currently feel—come alive for me and I hardly know you. When the do-da hits the fan, it really hits, but there are better days ahead…I promise.

    Reply
  21. mary lynn

    Oh, Cornelia—I so empathize with the frustrating dichotomy of tears for the disturbed parent’s death. Remembering the fun and joyous moments, despising the hurtful times and the longing for the times that might have been, all mixed together. The death of a parent leaves a hole in your soul. I am so sorry.

    Financial troubles only make it more painful, everything more painful, but the worst is when you can’t give your children what they need and love. Talk to the school. I was faced with pulling my twins out of private school for the last two months of middle school. We worked it out, but it certainly caused a panic.

    You are just having to deal with too much.

    Reply
  22. Barbara

    Wow! That you came up with such a touching, heartfelt and even funny-at-times post off the top of your head is a testament to your talent. I’m so envious! There is so much I could write in response about collage as an cerebral art form, living with crazy family members when you’re considered the most sane, or even my brief encounter with the so-nice Peter Riegert where we discussed “A Field of Darkness,” but I won’t. I just hope there are lots of people around you giving you hugs and letting you just get through this.

    The pain around familial suicide is crushing. At some point, it becomes like a dull knife. I just met some people who benignly asked me how many siblings I had. I awkwardly glossed over my brother’s death nearly 25 years ago. Or someone flippantly says, “I could shoot myself” and I’m transported back to that moment in time. I recently came across a clipping I wrote for my college paper after his death and I still believe what I wrote to be true: "There are some people who just can’t manage to survive in this world no matter how hard people try to help them. The world can be a cruel and confusing place for some and they can never get out of a deep pit once they’ve fallen into it … the world in which they live has so disappointed them that they feel maybe in the unknown, death, they can find peace." I hope my brother and your father found that peace.

    I feel like the few dollars you receive from my purchases of your books can’t come close to paying for what you’ve given me as a reader. I wish I had money to send your way, but I’m an impoverished writer, too. I’m not a bad cook and could send some baked goods if you like. (My best meals are kind of hard to transport via mail! Bean dishes can be messy. )

    Reply
  23. anonymous

    Barbara. That is possibly the sweetest comment I have ever read on this blog. That last paragraph about baking made me smile and weep at once. Cornelia is deservedly blessed with good caring people like yourself embracing her, even if it is mostly in the cyber womb.

    Reply
  24. Sharon J.

    It’s true. Daisy is no diplomat so if she doesn’t love something, she won’t say nice things about it but she’s a damn fine writer so we put up with her.

    Ditto for you. If you don’t like something, you don’t pull your punches.

    In any case, Book #4 is brilliant, even in rough draft which is why we are all anxious to see more.

    I don’t know this for a fact but I’m guessing losing a kind, loving parent sucks and losing a crazy nutball parent sucks too but in different ways. I have only lost the crazy nutball one and dread the day the kind, loving one departs this earth.

    hugs and love to you and Grace.

    Reply
  25. Cornelia Read

    Eloise, thank you so much–I’m honored that you like the writing, and can sure use wishes for better days to come. It’s been quite a run of do-da…

    mary lynn, you describe the dichotomy so perfectly. My hope is at the moment that I get to work through a whole bunch of sucky crap at once, and then get a breather for a while. All appendages crossed on that possiblity!

    Barbara–oh my GOD, what you wrote about your brother is so exactly right on! Thank you for sharing that. And for offering to cook, and for your wonderful comment altogether. You made me so so happy!

    Sharon, I adore you. And our moms better stick around for the long haul–we need them!

    Reply
  26. Shizuka

    There’s something heartbreaking about your wedding photo.
    Not because the marriage ends, but because both you and your dad look so scared.
    Nervous like two strangers thrust together into an unknown
    or a father giving away his daughter to someone he doesn’t quite trust.
    And at the same time, you look absolutely stunning.

    Trust me on one thing. Whether you have a shaky relationship or a solid one,
    losing your dad is heartbreaking. Almost ten years on, I still find myself tearing up over things
    that remind me of Dad: polo shirts, golf clubs, bagels with cream cheese, French Vanilla ice cream.

    Thinking of you and sending a big hug and a chocolate with pretzels.

    Reply
  27. Fran

    Oh Ms. C, you are so in my heart, thoughts and prayers!

    And it’s not at all weird to be tickled that Lee Child was gonna take on your dad for you! I think it’s sweet. And I think the time you’ve shared with us regarding your dad and Peter Riegert is sweet too.

    Love your dad’s artwork!

    I seriously believe that if you took that speech in to the fin aid office and socked it to ’em the way you’ve written it here, they’d waive Grace’s fee for a semester! Seriously, I do!

    Love ya much, Sweetie!

    Reply
  28. Cornelia Read

    Shizuka, you totally caught the vibe of that day. Okay, partly in that photo, we’re walking down this brick steps that were uneven and a little slick with moss, but also we just always cared about each other but were always shyly awkward at the same time–like, we never quite knew whether to hug or shake hands in an airport, so there was always this hesitation when we first saw one another.

    The last time I spent with Dad was when he was driving me to LAX in March at the end of my book tour. We were silent in the car for the first 15 minutes, and both trying to think of something to say, and finally he just went, "do you like George Carlin?" and I said yes so he put a cassette into the tape player and we listened to old standup for the next hour, laughing our asses off. Totally iconic of the whole thing, in so many ways.

    And now I’m going to think of your dad and you every time I see a bagel, which is going to be a lovely thing.

    And oh, Fran, you gladden my tiny black heart, as ever. I have been meaning to write you all back at SMB and thank you for the beautiful card, which is in the central spot of honor on my icebox–makes me smile every morning. Thank you!

    Reply
  29. Barbara

    Cornelia,

    I’m glad my comment made you happy.(Seriously, if you’d like some goodies or what not, send me a private email! It’s totally selfish on my part, I can’t have you starve before completing Book #4!)

    Thank you, anonymous for your sweet comment about my comment! Murderati writers and readers are such a great group of people. I read so much stuff in my Google Reader, but Murderati and Bookshelf Porn are my absolute favorites!

    Reply
  30. anonymous

    Oh My God. Barbara. How did I not know of this????!!!!! Bookshelf Porn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I feel so out of it. This is now my favorite place to waste precious time. Wow. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you for that link. I was an idiot and now I am saved.

    Who are you, Impoverished Little Writer? Are you in the Bay Area of SF?

    Reply
  31. Barbara

    Hi Anonymous,

    Bookshelf porn is so cool. I so lust after great bookshelves and it’s great to know I am not alone in my ardor!

    I love the Bay Area and would live there. Maybe someday! I was born and raised on Long Island, NY and now live in New Jersey, just outside of NYC. I worked as a jack-of-all-trades journalist for many years and have been freelancing for a few, while trying to write a novel/short stories/poems/plays/screenplays. (still a jack of all trades,master of none! I have a great husband for moral and financial support) Just having a rough patch right now because I had a writing partner/best friend tear out my heart the other day and cut it into a paper-doll chain that is stretching out as I realize how I fell for so many lies. I so hate liars, but they always seem to find me, suck me into their lives and suck the life out of me.

    Reading Cornelia’s post helped me put it all in perspective and made me stop feeling sorry for myself because she’s trudging through real shit, not the junior-high telenovella crap that will only have me eating way too many cookies over the next few days until the elastic waistband on my already- extra- large clothes will create marks that bleed and I’ll say to myself, “well, at least that experience will be good fodder for a novel/memoir someday“ and I’ll go on a diet and find new friends.

    Now this is way too long as I do tend to babble. Time for me to go to a baby shower where I will be made to feel inadequate as a female because I didn’t reproduce, but my roses and daisies are in full bloom so life is great!

    Reply
  32. Marlyn

    Oh, Cornelia. My heart goes out to you. I can’t begin to comprehend how hard this must be for you; I’ve always had a prickly relationship with my parents, but just can’t imagine losing either of them in such a way (knock wood).
    You are an amazing, brave, strong woman!

    Reply
  33. MJ

    Thank you for that beautiful post – and that is the single best obituary I’ve ever read. It’s a story in itself – what a life he had.

    One of my very best friends just lost his father very suddenly, so the who subject makes me weepy with compassion for the kids left behind in all cases – and in that spirit though we are merely writer and reader I send you a big virtual hug and comfort.

    Reply
  34. MB

    Dear friend. What is there to say?
    I feel so blessed to have met you and gotten to be friends.
    So much in my heart for you and your Dad.

    You make me laugh and cry, as per.

    I have a whole lot of new fuel for crazy family tales, and am more convinced than ever that we are family.
    Of choice, for damn sure.

    Sucks Ahoy and burgees flying at the Sinkytowne Yahct Club!

    Love and peace, dear friend.

    MBH and Auntie NZ and all your peeps.

    Reply
  35. MB

    and suicide is so often in my thoughts– from Styron’s "Darkness Visible" to so many people I know and understand– sometimes the pain is just too much.

    Know that he was loved and you are loved, and as Eliot Rosewater says, "God damn it babies, you’ve got to be kind".

    Beaming as many good thoughts and karma to you as is possible and hope to see you soon.

    Reply

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