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Beginning.. We met at a writing workshop. I was a wife and mom from New Jersey, and she was a single career woman living in New York City.
What we had in common? A drama filled writing group run by a drama fused published well-known writer. An ad in New York Magazine literally put us all together. Our “teacher” raves about our very questionable talents.
Barbara and I become instant friends since we seemed to be the most normal students. She liked my idea about a novel I was working on. I discovered I didn’t actually like my main character. She was recently divorced, and dating for the first time since her virgin bride days. Her first three dates fit their astrological traits to a perfect t. Why not go down The Circle of Animals path and see if the next nine fit as well.
The character was not relatable to me. Not someone I would like as a friend. When I mentioned the premise to Barbara, she quickly suggested doing it together.
“I’ll do it with you. We can divide up the signs. I’m sure I’ve had a few in my life.”
It seemed like a good idea at the time….but….there were many buts to come.
The Process.. When my husband died suddenly, my grief was unbearable. I ran away from New Jersey. My life as I knew it was over, and when I was ready, I would create a new one in New York City.
Barbara said there was a one bedroom available in her building. Easy to have writing meetings. I created Kate and she created Frannie. A slew of characters from both our imaginations. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t convince Barbara to have Frannie evolve and not be one-dimensional, bordering boring. I always envisioned both women to be equal in their journey. Not one more important than the other.
After about five rejections Barbara wanted to give me the book. ” Everyone likes Kate. It’s her story. You do it on your own.” This was suggested to me several times and each time I gave her the same answer…No. You make Frannie more likeable and relatable.
There was resentment building. Barbara never realized putting the book together would be so time-consuming and difficult. No surprise to her that I was not tech savvy and due to hand problem, I wrote my half by hand.
We are as different off the page as on. Many times she wanted to curtail Kate. I never would allow Kate’s spirit edited, nor did I edit Frannie.
At the time we had an editor/agent. She suggested changing the original title Circle of Animals to Circle. When we had differences, she sided with me so Kates positive energy and quirky traits stayed in tact. She also agreed with me to make the character of Frannie stronger. Sadly she was terminally ill at the time and no longer able to work.
The writing process took over forty years from idea to decision to self publish. I was in New Jersey for most of those years. In my opinion, we didn’t try hard enough to get an agent. I also thought the story line was diminished when the entire back story was integrated.
Completion..Started when I moved to N.Y.C. One morning outside my apartment door was a white cardboard box. The first version of Circle with a pretty note card.
Barbara knew the completion of Circle was very important to my husband. He always told me that many aspects of the story were ahead of its time. After Barry’s death, Barbara said “what can I do?” I was so self involved with grief that just breathing was a chore. I said “lets finish our book” and we went to work, thirteen years ago.
I was excited that her character was becoming more interesting. She gave her personality. I created Timothy at the Taurus/Taurus party and she developed the character and he became her lover. Terrance was a wonderful addition to the cast of characters. Jim, Kate, Frannie, etc….I loved them all. Barbara continued to make negative snide remarks about Circle after almost every writing meeting. I never gave up having positive thoughts about our project.
After almost forty-three years we received the proof. I was overwhelmed with joy to see the cover and published book. Circle was born.
So many years of us going to dinners and toasting Circle. Now it was a reality. We were able to toast the success we hoped would occur. I called Barbara and said “let’s celebrate and have dinner.”
“There’s nothing to celebrate” was her answer.
The End in more ways than one, sadly……..You may wonder why we stayed with Circle. Barbara working full-time and putting the book together in her spare time. Probably furious that I was out and about. It’s true that she took my pages and turned them into Circle. I acknowledged her inside the cover. When two people write a book, the togetherness in writing and discussing can be a creative process that works. It’s also aloneness, like giving birth. Circle in many ways, came through her birth canal.
So, what kept us together through it all? Friendship. And that’s what Circle is about.
PS We are going to have a celebratory dinner together. I know my forever Virgo love will be right there. His energy has never left me.
PSS Now we have to figure out together HTF to market out book!!!!!
I know what its like to be loved, I know what its like to be desired, I know what its like to be without romantic love, I know what its like to still desire. I have zero complaints. Having a soul connected love for almost fifty years, not without its problems, is a wish I wish for all the single women who have never known such love. The void is covered gently, but with a strong steel grateful protector. The internet is not a place I will meet another love. I may never meet another and that’s perfectly ok. I’m forever grateful for the loves, not romantic, that I have in my life. Family and friends as I have always said, “my emotional transfusions.” Not sad today even thought it’s gloomy outside. Having a lovely cup of Lemon Verbena Tea, with honey, cinnamon, turmeric, and at the bottom of the cup…
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“The only cure I have ever known for fear and doubt and loneliness is an immense love of self” Alison Malee
When you learn how to intellectualize your emotions, you’re in charge and that’s empowering.
The heart and brain must work as a team. Self love means respecting and protecting yourself. Be with those you trust and a red flag is exactly that.
Your intuition and common sense… also a great team.
It’s all about how important are you… to yourself.
A few emotional tools I use…. constantly .
Once again, after a wonderful summer in Virginia, it’s time to go back to NYC. It’s so much more than a vacation . My life changes. Certainly not lonely in the city, just alone. Mostly. I do have a best friend in my bedroom that I don’t have here. My TV. Goes on first thing in the morning and shut off last thing at night. I didn’t miss you.
I promised I wouldn’t think about packing up the cartons until the day before I need to do. I didn’t keep my promise. I’m sad. I’m not exactly going home to a boring life. My family, friends and tickets to the venues I enjoy are waiting.
But my family and friends in Virginia hold a special place in my heart. May I add, I’m forever grateful having two places with an abundance of love in both. Viorica’s friends became my friends.
It’s the laughter, happy feelings , and special bonding with my sister in law I will miss…….I thankfully don’t need taking care of, but it’s what she does. Home cooked meals almost every night . Our sharing
talks about everything every night. The beach memories with wonderful deWitt family . Private talks with my enchanting smart and beautiful grand/great nieces . It’s everything . I lead a surburban life here as well. . Going to the train station with Viorica, I’ll once again say, “ I can’t believe it went so fast.
And again, Emma and Hannah brought up their idea of me moving here, buying a home with the two Gaga’s and living together as the Richmond Golden Girls…. and once again, I think which one would I be???
I haven’t had a garden in almost 14 years. The land baren and arid.
Someone “promised me a rose garden.” Over and over again he wrote me how he would love and nourish the soil. He was also without a garden. He seemed to know what was necessary to go from gloom to bloom.
Patrick, the potential gardner, was from a far away land. Australia, and knew nothing about soil conditions in NYC.
It seems he was tending gardens in Melbourne where he was obviously more comfortable.
It’s never my style to be demanding, but it was my first real garden and I wanted it to be lovely. Bright colors and the right ratio of plants and flowers. Integrity, good work ethics, and of course honesty. I appreciated his daily assurances.
i never asked for references. I have a keen sense of intuition. It was that ability that prompted me to write a goodbye message. Too much distance. His many health issues.
Over 500 emails from May-August. Seems excessive. I guess my judgement impaired with the vision of a magnificent garden.
I was going to send my last message. I didn’t have to. I received his. Expected because he was never specific in his plans to visit. He had more health issues.
I believed he was the man for the job. He wasn’t. It was what it was and it was what it wasn’t. Simple.
He decided to stay in his own backyard. I felt free and empowered.
I wanted a garden, not a yard🦋🌻🌺🌷🌼🌲🌹🌸🌾
They are sisters in law . More like loving sisters. Both woke up with heavy hearts. After dinner, one put on disco music and the two of them danced, laughing, and fantasizing in the kitchen. A beautiful moment and their hearts were lifted.