Phyllis Schieber Author

Women's Fiction by Phyllis Schieber

Aging Defiantly

I always took sex for granted. I was always curious, always interested, and an eager and willing student. In my fifties, little has changed, except I no longer take sex for granted.  The changes in my sexuality surprised me as much as my first period, my first orgasms,  the loss of my virginity, and childbirth. My reaction to all these events was consistently the same: did my body just do that?”  I was eleven when I got my first period. It was hot. Probably the end of June. I was wearing sky blue Wrangler shorts. My mother asked me to go to the grocery store. I remember waiting at the corner of Ellwood and Nagle for the light to change. I felt nauseated, and I had a headache. I had never had a headache before.  On the way back from the grocery store, I felt faint. Once I got home. I put the milk in the refrigerator and the bread in the breadbox. When I pulled my shorts and underpants down in the bathroom so I could pee, I was mildly surprised to see blood. I knew what had happened. I just never knew it would really happen to me. I went to get the sanitary pads and belt that I had sent away to Kotex for on my own and clean clothes. I soaked my shorts and underpants in the tub and went to tell my mother. In keeping with European tradition, my mother slapped me on the cheek and said, “You’re a woman now.” I didn’t feel like a woman, but I was pleased. My father brought home roses for me that night, and my older brother grunted something indistinguishable at me. Nothing seemed to have changed.

Orgasms were another story entirely. I welcomed them with ardent enthusiasm though I didn’t really understand the mechanics of this almost out-of-body experience. Still, I loved that my body could experience them—with or without a partner.  In retrospect, there may have been nothing sexier than all those years of making out and groping that I enjoyed with my high school boyfriend, and then later with the boy I almost lost my virginity to before fate intervened. The doorbell interrupted us at the definitive moment—a lifelong regret that still leaves me wondering.  I could have kissed him for hours. All those years of preparation offered the promise that orgasms would always be available. Then, of course, once I was no longer a virgin, orgasms took on a different, even better context.  It never occurred to me that there was anything my body could not achieve.

I don’t remember my first orgasm, but I do remember the day I was no longer a virgin. I’m fairly certain everyone remembers his or her first time.  Mostly, I remember looking at myself in the bathroom mirror after it was over and wondering if anyone would be able to tell. I didn’t feel any different, and I certainly didn’t look any different. Nevertheless, I had passed a milestone. My body had obliged, forfeited its status, catapulting me into alleged womanhood. I applied myself with intensity to my new rank and enjoyed each new discovery. I was a college freshman, but I was only sixteen, still very young to play at womanhood in spite of my body’s impatience.

Childbirth was remarkable for any number of reasons. However, after twenty-two hours of labor and a forceps delivery, I looked down between my legs and seeing the screaming, bloody head of my son and feeling somewhat stunned that he was emerging from my body. It seemed impossible that this creature was not only mine, but that I had carried him around for over nine months in my swelling body. The separation was profound. When the nurse placed him against my chest, I wondered how it would feel to move through the world without him inside my body.

None of these events, however, could have prepared me for menopause. In my own way, I mourned the end of my periods. I know that might seem strange to some women, but the loss confirmed the inevitable—unwelcome changes that would require some commitment.  I was not ready to abandon my sexuality, so I initiated a campaign to circumvent the realities. In the process, I developed a kinder, gentler attitude toward my body. Perhaps, for the first time in my life, I am less critical of my body. It’s a perfectly fine body for a fifty-seven-year-old woman. Indeed, it is flawed, but I so foolishly thought that the fifteen-year-old body I once had was also flawed even though the boy I then loved told me that I looked like an angel.  Mostly, my body still works. It works differently than it used to, but it works. I have finally come to understand that desire is about how someone makes you feel. It’s such an easy lesson that I wonder why it too me so long to learn it. The women in my novel The Sinner’s Guide to Confession are still looking for love and still enjoying sex.  They are strong women, women who acknowledge the changes that cannot be ignored, but I know that any one of them would be happy to go back to those long days of endless kissing and fondling with a boy who made her heart skip a beat each time he looked at her. And any one of them would agree that here and now is still a good place to be.

May 21, 2010 Posted by | relationships. women, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

My Women Friends

Yoga has been an extraordinary journey for me. I leave every class with something new, something I did not have or know before. Mindfulness. It is such a powerful word. When I am mindful of my breath, when I focus on integrating my breath with my movement, I can always deepen my pose. Mindfulness. It is what I take out of the studio and into my life that makes me appreciate yoga even more. The physical and spiritual strength I hone in yoga is carried into my writing. Like my writing and like life, nothing moves in a straight line. Some days, my balance is better than others. Some days, I can hold one leg out straight in front and grab my toes. Other days, I feel unable to hold myself upright. It is the same with my writing… an unpredictable journey.

I had an amazing yoga class the other day. During class, my teacher stood behind me, placed her hands on either side of my head and moved them down as though she were outlining my entire body. For a moment, I couldn’t be certain if her hands were on me, or if was simply the heat of her proximity. Regardless, I felt energy radiate from her presence. Then, in the final meditation, she sat behind me, back to back, still instructing the class, as she breathed against me. I was mesmerized by the sensation of her breath against my back, and almost immediately, my breath fell in sync with hers.  I felt nurtured by her touch, and then by her breath. The Hamsa mantra asks: Who am I? Soham provides the answer: I am that. Ohm Hum So Hum. If you say it over and over, it declares I am that I am that I am that I am. It seems so simple.

Yoga nurtures me.  The touch of my teachers nurtures me. I believe this is the essence of what women give each other: touch that nurtures. In Willing Spirits and in The Sinner’s Guide to Confession, I explore the relationships between women and how these relationships define me. The women in my life sustain me as nothing else can or does. The touch of another woman nurtures me, anchors me to the present. In Willing Spirits, my protagonists, Jane and Gwen, take comfort in each other as a way to weather the disappointments of their lives. When their children are young, the two women take their toddlers to the park, watching them play. Yet, Jane and Gwen are often confused about why their lives did not work out as expected:

They had obeyed the prescribed customs. They had obeyed the prescribed customs. They had carried out the rituals, and they were still bereft of the love they had been promised.                                               They talked of witchcraft and sorcerers and speculated about the future.

I always found this an especially poignant passage. It is sort of startling when we realize that our lives do not always fulfill our expectations. At this point in my own life, I understand the value of the Hamsa mantra in a way I never could have appreciated in my thirties or perhaps even in my forties: I am that. Ohm Hum So Hum. If you say it over and over, it declares I am that I am that I am that I am. The characters in Willing Spirits transition throughout the novel, but in this particular flashback, they are in turmoil, a state eased by their friendship and the comfort their presence gives each other:            They had sat quietly, holding hands, watching their children and wondering why they couldn’t find men whom they loved as much as they loved each other.

It’s an important question… and one I believe many women ask themselves. I wish I had the answer. Perhaps Anna Quindlen offers one of the closet explanations in her essay, The Company of Women in which she describes the difference between her conversations with her husband and with her female friends: “He was oxford cloth, I embroidery. We simply weren’t in the same shirt.”

I am that I am that I am. Ohm Hum So Hum. Right now, it’s a good place to be… thanks to my women, the embroidery in my life.

May 11, 2010 Posted by | relationships. women, Uncategorized, women's friendship, yoga | Leave a comment

Men and Love, Or Not

I knew from the start that Marva was unique.  She took care of my mother for several years and was, as my mother always said in Yiddish,a Gutte neshumah (goot-teh nesh-uh- mah): a good soul. A decent person with a good heart.  I had a phone call from Marva this week. Marva is at least ten years younger than I. She is also the mother of five, a grandmother, and the person who taught me more about patience, kindness, and good humor than anyone else I ever knew. One day, in the early months of my mother’s first serious decline, we brought her back to her apartment from yet another hospitalization. I was already weary, and I had no idea what was ahead, how really bad it would become in the months and years to follow.  After we got my mother settled, I left to do some errands. When I returned, my mother was resting. She looked so sweet, so vulnerable, curled into herself with her head resting on her folded hands as though in prayer. Her skin was flawless as it remained to the day she passed. She opened her eyes and smiled at me. I had this sense of knowing that I would never again have my mother whole. I lay down beside her, curved my body around hers, and placed one of her hands on my cheek, flattening her palm with my own. I cried softly for no other reason than I was sad and exhausted. And then Marva sat down beside me on the bed and stroked my back, soothing circular strokes, murmuring in her lilting Jamaican accent that, “It’s gonna be alright.” I believed her.

After my mother passed, I stayed in touch with Marva because she had become part of my life. Still, lives get busy, and sometimes months go by before one of us calls. She phoned me last week, and I was so happy to hear her sweet voice. She said, “Oh, Phyllis, I had a longing to hear your voice and your laugh.” And, as always, I was moved by Marva’s sincerity, her ability to speak from her heart. We talked for quite some time, and at the end, she said, “I love you.” And I told her I love her, which I do. After we hung up, I began to think about how women express their love. In Wiling Spirits, I describe the night that Gwen and Jane, the two main characters “fall in love”:

Yes, women do fall in love with each other. Differently, of course, than they fall in love with men. Falling in love with a man is a feverish experience.There is little control. But falling in love with a         woman is much more serious. It guarantees so much more for the investment. For it is from other women that women are nurtured. It is from other women that they hear what they hope to hear               from men. I understand. I know how you feel. I’m sorry for your pain. I care about what you think: Words that need no prompting. In that circle, women tell each other things that men and                   women tell each other first with their hands and lips and tongues before they can tell each other with words. Women comfort each other with touch that is meant to heal, rather than to excite. The           mysteries of love are less complex between women. The hidden passages are easier to negotiate. And the dangers do not seem as great as when the same journey is taken with a man.  Around each         dank and frightening corner, women hold out their hands to each other and form a human chain that is, quite simply, spiritually different. The lucky ones find men who (and it is a deep and well-           kept secret between women) are more like women.

I have a circle of women friends who sustain me, keep me sane, remind me of my worth, and reassure me that I am treasured. We say, “I love you,” at the end of every conversation; we sign off our emails with the same words, and when we see each other, we embrace and affirm our love. I think it is because women spend so much of their lives nurturing—their children, their husbands, their partners, their ailing parents, their students, co-workers, the list is endless—that they understand the words are a gift, a promise. The words are a reminder to those we cherish that they are not alone, that they matter.  I know a woman who was my student many, many years ago. P. was in my tenth grade class when I was a twenty-three-year-old English teacher. Her life story was incredibly sad and painful, not unlike the stories of many of the students I met along the way. I became a presence in her life, and we stayed in touch. After she graduated from college, she visited often. I welcomed her into my family, called her frequently, sent her money when she was in need, and told her that I love her at the end of every conversation. My son, now twenty-five, recently overhead me say, “I love you” to her and asked, “Do you really love her?” And I said, “It doesn’t matter.” I tried to explain that the words were a balm to P.’s soul. She knew she could rely on me for that bit of normalcy in her other otherwise complicated and often lonely life. My words were an offering that asked for nothing and gave everything. In fact, I do love P., but I wanted my son (who always, always, says, “I love you too” when I say, “I love you” to him at the end of every conversation) to understand that expressing love is not a threat.

In Women are Just Better, Anna Quindlen quotes the observation of a friend who says, “Have you ever noticed that what passes as a terrific man would only be an average woman?” And that’s when, as Quindlen describes it, “A Roman candle went off in my head… What I expect from my male friends is that they are polite and clean. What I expect from my female friends is unconditional love, the ability to finish my sentences for me when I am sobbing, a complete and total willingness to pour out their hearts to me, and the ability to tell me why the meat thermometer isn’t supposed to touch the bone.” Hence the title of her piece, Women are Just Better. One of my good friends, a sane and clear thinking Midwesterner once had the following to say when I complained about my son’s evidently male behavior, “You wouldn’t want him to act like a girl, would you?” I know what she was saying, but sometimes I’m not as sure of the answer.

May 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized, Willing Spirits, women's friendship | , , | Leave a comment

Barbara From Sinners’ Guide to Confession by Phyllis Schieber

It was not till after Roger’s death that Barbara began to write erotica. She took a sobriquet. Delilah. Just one name. Like Cher. Delilah. Barbara kept her identity secret; she told no one, absolutely no one. At first she rationalized that secrecy was necessary to protect her career. After all, the women who bought her books would have been mortified to learn that their favorite romance novelist wrote erotica.  The secrecy was never supposed to extend to Barbara’s inner circle, but she kept putting off telling. She worried about how her children would react. The longer she waited to tell, the harder it was to find the right moment. And then she stopped looking. She wanted the stories all for herself. Cock, pussy, clit, dick. Eventually, her hands stopped shaking when she wrote. She sat up straight. My, my, my Delilah, she always thought as she wrote. My, my, my.

***

In the expanse that Roger’s death had left, Barbara found a nagging reminder of all that she had taken for granted. Roger had taken care of her, and she missed that. He made sure that her car was serviced, and that the gutters were cleaned. He stopped for milk on the way home, picked up the pizza in the rain, glued the stone back in her earring and hung the new mirror in the foyer. And the children, their children. It was always Roger’s first question when he called or came home. He always wanted to know if she had spoken to any of the kids.

***

In Roger’s absence, Barbara worried about what would happen if she woke in the middle of the night with a sharp pain in her chest. There was no one on the other side of the bed to rouse, no one who could call an ambulance, no one to offer reassurance that it would all turn out fine. The apartment seemed hollow sometimes as if she could not fill it up fast enough with new memories to soften out its edges.

***

Without any curtains or shades, she was free to gaze and did just that as she sipped her second cup of coffee and pretended she was smoking. An incomplete manuscript was waiting for her, and she had already ignored the last message from her editor about the urgency of getting her next romance, Beneath the Silk Coverlet, done by the month’s end. She was late with the first draft. But Barbara was more interested in working on Delilah’s latest piece, Paradise Found. Aimee, the heroine of Paradise Found, was far more interesting, far more provocative than any of the characters in latest romance set in Victorian England. When Barbara had last left Aimee, she was servicing Victor, the doorman, on her kitchen table.

Aimee’s legs were wrapped around Victor’s trim waist. She was gripping his buttocks, kneading his flesh with just the right amount of pressure when. . .

“Mom?”

July 22, 2009 Posted by | death of a spouse, motherhood, Sinner's Guide to Confession, women's friendship | Leave a comment

Kaye from Sinners Guide for Confession About Finding Happiness

In this excerpt Kaye reflects on how happiness is not really all that difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, she wonders why happiness continues to elude her. When she tries to include her husband George in her musings, it only alienates them even more. When she allows him to make love to her later that night, it seems to Kaye that they will never be able to close the gap that has widened between them for no other reason than that they are so very different.

Because Kaye often used anecdotes as a way to communicate with George, she was mindful of tales with import.  Therefore, when Kaye read about a young New York couple visiting with family in California who were forced to take the northern route back home after an ice storm shut down I-40, she was immediately intrigued.  The story was really about how some people just knew how to make the best of a bad thing. When the young couple stopped at a gas station on I-80, the attendant suggested they take advantage of the detour and get married in Reno. Since Reno was better known for quickie divorces than for marriages made in Heaven, the would-be groom picked a number between one and ten. If she guessed correctly, the wedding was on.  She guessed it.

Within hours, she found a gown and a veil on the clearance rack of the local department store, opting to wear her hiking boots since they were so comfortable and no one would see them anyway. He bought a tuxedo, a shirt and a purple cummerbund and a matching bow tie. His black Converse sneakers would do just fine. Rings were easy to buy since pawnshops were in abundance. She would carry red roses tied with a ribbon, and they bought a cake at the supermarket and had it inscribed with their names inside a red heart.  They consummated their marriage at a roadside truck stop and spent their wedding night at a cheap motel.

What Kaye loved most about the story was that the new bride wore her wedding dress for the remainder of her five-day journey back to New York because she wanted to see the reactions of strangers.  In Wyoming, a hunter asked to photograph the bride, so his wife would believe him that he had really seen a bride pumping gas; children clapped when she made snow angels, and a trucker congratulated them, promising them that marriage was filled with rewards. He said he should know since he had been married for twenty years and had eight children.

Road trips, any trip for that matter, could be seen as a tired metaphor for marriage. Kaye was very much aware of that. However, it was the comment of a checker in a 711 in Nebraska who commented that the bride was spreading happiness wherever she went simply because she was wearing her wedding gown that struck a cord with Kaye. It suddenly seemed so easy to make others happy that Kaye wondered why so few were ever good at it.

The story about the bride seemed to completely throw George. From the onset, he was confused about the story’s intent. As Kaye recounted the events of the new bride’s journey from California to New York in her wedding dress, he sporadically interrupted, peppering her reading with a few isn’t that somethings and one or two that must have been a sight. Encouraged by this response, Kaye said that she wished she had been driven by such exuberance after their wedding, eliciting an agreeable nod from George. But when she said she thought it would be grand to put on her wedding gown and set out on a similar adventure, George looked entirely baffled.

“Didn’t you borrow your wedding gown from your cousin Paula?” he said.

She stared at him, watching him blink.

“I think you’re missing the point,” Kaye said.

“Why do you say that?” he said.

“Because it has nothing to do with the wedding gown, and you know it.”

“How would I know that?”

Kaye was always the one with regrets. Regrets about everything.  Instead of the fish, she wished she had ordered chicken. The salad instead of the soup. The dress that looked perfect in the store suddenly looked too tight when she tried it on at home. And the chair for her living room that had to be special ordered in the plaid she had so wanted looked out of place when it finally arrived. She came to believe that her decision to marry George was just another example of picking the wrong blouse or ordering the wrong meal. If she had only given it more thought, she might have chosen better.

“I don’t believe you,” she said.

“That’s your problem,” he said. “Well, what is the point of the damned story?”

They were getting ready for bed. He was untying his laces. Instead of taking off one shoe off at a time, he untied each shoe first. Then, he took off his left shoe. Always his left shoe first. So many routines. So many habits. Always the same black socks. The same hairstyle. The same breakfast every morning. Shredded wheat and raisins with skimmed milk. The same foreplay over and over. No eggs or butter. No rear penetration. Nipple manipulation followed by oral sex followed by some perfunctory kissing. No conversation during sex. No bacon. No joy.

“The point is that it takes so little to be happy that I wonder why we fail at it so miserably,” she said.

“I’m sorry you feel that way,” he said.

The same answers for everything.  He stood and undid his belt, unzipped his pants and stepped out of them. Once she had loved the long leanness of his thighs. Now, she turned away and sighed. His hand on her shoulder was a surprise, and not only because it was unexpected. It was heavy with sadness.

“What?” she said.

“Why do you always think the worst of me?”

It was such a sincere question, and she had no answer for him. She remembered her Aunt Rachel saying that she knew her husband did not love her anymore when he started to complain about her cooking. Nothing tasted right to him. Everything had either too much salt or not enough salt. Or the meat was too dry, and the rice too wet. Kaye had been stunned at the nuance of her aunt’s observation. But her aunt and uncle stayed together; her aunt always laboring in the kitchen, believing that if her cooking improved, her husband would love her again.

“Kaye?”

She patted his hand, and he moved toward her, taking her in his arms. Once she had savored his touch, hungered for it when a day passed without him. She rested her head on his shoulder and tried to relax as his hand reached under her nightgown. It had been weeks, maybe months, since they had made love. It was almost as if she wished she felt shy instead of tense. But she was tense. His touch seemed invasive, and her face burned with the shame of that truth. And still she allowed it because not to might have invited some dialogue and the idea of talking was unbearable to her right now. They would have talked in circles. Circumlocution. SAT word. When she had tested Ruby on her SAT words, Kaye played a game with herself, grouping words that applied to her marriage and to George. Circumlocution, evasion. Saturnine, sanctimonious, punctilious, illusory. So many words. Charlie used to make up the definitions when she tested him. He never studied. He would repeat the word after she said it as though he were a contestant in a spelling bee. “Bucolic. Let’s see. Bucolic. An alcoholic who has made progress.”  She always laughed, which only encouraged him. Words drifted through her thoughts now, arable, askance, avuncular, atavistic, arcane  . . . George’s heavy breaths grew deeper and shorter as he moved inside her, and she rested her hands on his damp back. Braggart, blithely, cloying, cogent . . .

July 22, 2009 Posted by | marriage, motherhood, Sinner's Guide to Confession, women's friendship | Leave a comment

Kaye from Sinners Guide to Confession by Phyllis Schieber

Kaye studied her reflection in the mirror. Yesterday’s haircut had been a really bad idea, and the true motivation for this trip to the cosmetics counter. She must have hoped that if she cut off all her hair, she would be young again. She would go home to find Ruby in her cradle, and Charlie with his peanut butter breath eager to divulge absolutely everything about his day, punctuated only by kisses and unsolicited promises of his eternal love. Sadly, none of that happened. She was still herself. Her children were grown. She was still married to George and in love with Frank

***

. . . .she straddled him, rocking gently first, tasting his sweat for the first time as she licked his shoulder, and then forgetting everything as he moved her hips with such need that in the end there was nothing more they could do than sit, wrapped around each other, silent and exhausted. Finally, she found the energy to ask, “Why me?” He wrapped a strand of her hair around her ear and shook his head in disbelief. Kaye was suddenly acutely aware of everything she stood to lose.

***

There was no reason not to leave George. Their marriage was muddled by history, weakened by unresolved bad feelings. But from time-to-time, George seemed as if he were fighting his way off of his own dimly lit planet.

***

George did not say his lack of courage was probably the source of all his failings. But then, there was no real need to. Kaye understood, and she stroked his hand. He smiled sort of vaguely, lost in his own reverie, absent to her once again. Nevertheless, Kaye counted it as a small victory and enough of an offering, not to explain why she stayed, but to explain why she did not leave.

***

Sometimes Kaye wondered what her children would think if they knew what she was hurrying off to in the middle of the day. She imagined the horror they would feel if they could hear the words she whispered to Frank. Faster, harder, more. Once, while Frank expertly held her hips, she had moaned, urging him on, and then turned and asked him what her children would have thought if they saw her.

***

Kaye imagined herself moving along the sun baked walk that twisted up to the ancient stone-block structure that housed the tomb of Rabbi Yonatan. Joining the throngs of young hopefuls who had never found love or who had missed opportunities, as well as parents who worried that their children were still alone, Kaye saw herself draping a scarf from one of the olive tree branches. Tucked inside the scarf were several written notes. The first was a plea for Ruby, a hope that she would recognize true love when it came her way. The second note was for Charlie, for a good woman who would love him. And the third note was for George, an entreaty that he would forgive her after she left him.

July 22, 2009 Posted by | infidelity, marriage, motherhood, Sinner's Guide to Confession, women's friendship | Leave a comment

Meet Jane from Willing Spirits by Phyllis Schieber

1. What is the name of the book where we would meet you? What genre is it?

Willing Spirits. The genre is Women’s Fiction.

2. Who wrote the book?

Phyllis Schieber

3. What do you think of the author? You can tell us the truth.

I think she is complicated. She writes from her heart, and I like that about her. She wants to write books that she would want to read. Sometimes she meanders and strays from the plot, but I relish those interludes. They have a dreamy quality that reflects her thought process.

4. Tell us a little about yourself. How would you describe your appearance?

That’s more than just really cute or drop dead gorgeous. Give us enough detail to get a clear idea of how you look.

I’m only five feet one. I would have liked to be taller, but I’m not. I’m not skinny. I have to watch what I eat. I have curly, brown hair that is going grey. I dyed it last year, just a rinse. Gwen didn’t like it. She kept calling me Lucy. It was so silly, but I stopped using the rinse. The grey is sort of interesting.  I’m not as striking as Gwen, but I’m attractive. When we are out together, no one ever notices me. My lips are my worst feature. They’re too thin, but I know how to make them look fuller. Make-up is a blessing. I have good skin and nice eyes even if they are just brown.

5. What character are you in the book? Are you the hero, the best friend, the side kick, the hero and heroine’s child or someone else?

I am the “other heroine.”

6. Is there a specific reason why you’re in the story? Don’t give us any story spoilers, but you can share some teasers if you want.

I am the story. Gwen and I share the spotlight in Willing Spirits.
7. What time period do you live in?

Contemporary.

8. Where are you from?

New York.
9. Do you live in the same place now?

Yes, I do. I am a born and bred New Yorker.
10. Tell us about your hometown and your current home.

What’s to tell? New York is New York. You either love it or hate it. I love it.

11. Tell us how your hometown or your current home affects you, the things you do and how you feel about life?

I’ve never lived anywhere else, so I don’t’ know anything different. I love New York, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

12. What special skills or abilities do you have?

Well, I’m an elementary school teacher. I don’t know that I have any special skills. I’m a good friend, a good mother, and a good teacher. I thought I was a good wife, but apparently my soon-to-be-ex-husband didn’t share that feeling.

13. How do those affect your part in the story?

Throughout the story I am a betrayed wife, a mother and a friend, as well as a teacher, so I would say the entire story is affected by my roles. I bring something to each of those roles.
14. Are you happy with the story?

The story was hard on me from the beginning. In spite of that, I love how I grew. I was allowed to take risks, make mistakes and become a stronger and more independent person. I like that. So, yes, I am happy with the story.
15. Do you have some ideas that the author should consider about the story? You can share them with us. We’re all friends here.

Well, sometimes I think I come across as a bit provincial. I’m not all that interested in the same sort of ideas that seem to intrigue Gwen. She loves all those esoteric religious and philosophical concepts. I resist all that. I think in some ways, Phyllis took advantage of my lack of sophistication, but I’m a good sport, so I went along with it. Until Arnold’s infidelity, my life was fairly routine. His betrayal forced me to reevaluate. I think Phyllis was often less sympathetic toward me than she was toward Gwen. Is it possible I remind her too much of herself?

16. Tell us about your past. Can you share one really good experience and/or one really bad experience?

I know that bad experiences can be tough, but it would tell us more about what you’ve been through.

You would think I would immediately say that finding my husband in bed with a girl practically the same ages as his daughter, would be my bad experience, but it was really my good experience. That single event really compelled me to question the authenticity of my marriage, as well as to face my own unhappiness and do something about it.

I think the hardest experience I had was learning that my daughter Caroline was pregnant. She’s so young and so not ready to be a mother, and I had so hoped for her to have a different life than the one I had. I think I really rallied after I found out, so while it was a bad experience, I think I rose to the occasion and surprised everyone, including myself.

17. Who is the most important person in your life? Tell us about them.

Caroline is the most important person in my life. She is my daughter, and I adore her. Gwen is right behind Caroline. I don’t know what I would do without Gwen.

18. Is that person in the story we’re talking about?

Yes.

19. How does that person impact you and your life?

Motherhood is the single most defining experience of my life. Everything I do and don’t do affects Caroline, so I am mindful of that. Still, I had to evolve. It was important for both of us.

20. Do you have any children?

My Caroline.

21. If you do, tell us about them. If you don’t have any children, you can tell us why not – but, only if you want to tell us.

Caroline is a college student. She is a giflted artist. I think she is willful, impulsive, and quick to judge, but I also know her to be loving, kind and supportive. She is the love of my life.

22. What do you see in your future?

I see change, and I believe that is good.

23. Do you think your author is going to write another story about you? Or, are you part of a series?

Oh, definitely not!

24. Do you like being a character in a book?

I didn’t realize I was until just now.

25. If someone ever decides to make a movie based on your story, who should play you in the movie and why?

I love Marcia Gay Harding. She could play me. We have the same coloring, and we must be about the same age. She is emotional, but she is also strong.

It’s been great to talk with you. If you want to tell us anything else, feel free. Also, tell us about a website where we can learn more about you and where we can buy the book. If you have a picture of yourself, feel free to send it.

July 22, 2009 Posted by | divorce, marriage, motherhood, Willing Spirits, women's friendship | Leave a comment