Tag Archives: Marriage

The curious nature of memory and power

If you were online this weekend, most likely you will have run into headlines about the open letter to Woody Allen written by his daughter, Dylan. It’s a tough letter. A raw string of letters vibrating with fury and grief. It is without doubt, the most damning charges laid yet at the feet of the famed director.

What to think? I’ve looked up to, nay, revered, Woody’s masterful direction and writing, blocking and lighting, awkward pauses and long shots, characters and heroines but most of all his sense of life: the absurdity, the uncertainty, the heartbreak and the tumbling irrational ways of love. When I was a young director, I studied his movies and played scenes from them over and over. I went so far as to try to re-create romantic scenes (cooking lobsters with a boyfriend a la Annie Hall) and watched with stupefied wonder at the breadth of his content creation year after year, an unrelenting bar of excellence many would look up to and try to emulate.

Yet in 1992 my vision of him as artist-god was damaged by the accusations of child abuse during the intensely acrimonious separation between Woody and Mia Farrow. And yet, no charges were successfully laid and the marriage of Soon-Yi, Mia’s adopted daughter (not Woody’s despite some uninformed reporters) seemed to affirm that Woody had indeed committed no crime except the strange  and somewhat unsettling fact of falling in love with what was in many people’s minds, an extended family member.

I was myself lulled back into the spell of his work and would quietly push away that nagging accusation of abuse as I sat down to devour each and every one of his movies since the early nineties.

But tonight I am deeply disturbed by this content. The textual details, the bare openness of her revelations, the anger–they all seem to be ringing from a true bell, not a cracked one.

I find I am quite unable to go back into the illusion while there is a deep suspicion that there was a serious boundary crossed with his daughter. It is not easy to look at the allegations without the soft distance (and protection) of a kind of cultish cinematic admiration. Indeed, Woody is no less a brilliant writer and director to me but I cannot help but feel he is much less a man.

Child abuse is brought into adulthood by both the child and the abuser yet the power nearly always remains with the abuser. As a child, you are burdened with the heavy secret the adult lays upon your shoulders. As an adult, your version of the secret remains told through a child lens and therefore is easily sloughed off as ‘imagination’ or ‘here say’.

I wonder when we will take child abuse as seriously as we do smoking or cancer? Because as far as I can see, we are no better at recognizing it in our midst or supporting those that come forward than we have been at any time in the past.

Read Dylan’s letter and let me know what you think. For a balanced view of it, perhaps read this article in the Daily Beast that refutes much of the allegations and misrepresented facts that have sprung up in the case. Do you think it is ‘real’? Do you think she just wrote a letter to the New York Times for her own fame? Her own amusement? I wonder. We can’t know what happened for sure, but there is much smoke and a dark and hidden fire in this story.

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Filed under Non-fiction

Single-Chic and the Urgency of Living Well

I just finished a book called “The Art of Sleeping Alone” by Sophie Fontanel. It has been translated from French and I can just sense a lot was lost in that process. Hidden there is a chic and stylish single woman but quite often throughout the book she does not negotiate the important boundary between haughtiness and anger. There is a significant difference in tone.

I was interested in it for two reasons: I sleep alone and her first run of the novel sold 150,000 in like three days in France. I’ve been single now since January, 2012. And yes, you’re reading the subtext correct there. After the first few months of scissor-pain after the breakup, I began to feel something happening. It felt like when you come in out of a very bad storm and begin to unwrap your scarf, the rings releasing from your neck, the placing of your coat over a hook while simultaneously kicking off boots, letting your bag slump to the floor and finally sit down. The warmth settles deep into a long sigh, your hair sits happily limp, unkempt, real against your ruddy cheeks.

Indeed, you are home.

Why had this never happened before? Why hadn’t I gone inside? Why had I kept looking, furtively outside, running down the street calling out to someone else when all along my home waited for me, unknown to my own searching self?

In her book, Sophie Fontanel takes an often calculating, critical view of couples and distances herself so far from them that it tastes a little bitter at times. I don’t feel that way at all. I see them as they walk past me arm in arm, hand in hand, but barely, as though they are the same as the cashier or child walking by or a tree to be honest. It’s wonderful. I am completely content being alone and having all of my life for myself to consume now.

Gloria Steinem once said that we eventually grow up to become the men we wanted to marry. I’m not sure my image of a husband was ever that healthy but I do know when I decided to marry myself last year in Paris it felt like the right thing to do. Buy a ring, make a commitment to my life, and get on with it.

Recently, a girlfriend of mine, who is also single, didn’t want to go to visit a certain town that I also wasn’t too hip to visit. We both had the same reason: old boyfriend memories.

I said, then that is exactly where we’ll go. It is ours! We will eat, drink, dance, and celebrate. La vie est courte!

There’s a certain chicness that comes with being totally confident and comfortable in one’s skin and ironically, that is what I found missing in Sophie Fontanel’s new novel. I thought she would have had more Parisian chic between the sheets.


Filed under Relationships

Mrs. Everett Goes to Paris

This is the next draft excerpt from the chapter on France from the Mrs. Everett story. To read the full story, keep an eye on the main story page, I should have it done by the weekend! Just too busy with ‘real-life’ these days, sorry for the delay in my Mrs. Everett saga for those of you following along on her travel odyssey.  But you can follow her on Twitter or be her friend on Facebook  between chapters if you want to see what she is up to! She’s at the Hotel Eza right now, absolutely stunning!

Her taxi turned right on Rue de Verneuil and lurched half a block and stopped abruptly. Since her luggage had been lost, she simply paid the driver, and stepped out onto her first Parisian street in over 16 years. An unnatural feeling of joy filled her feet, then her chest and she had the urge to jump or skip or clap, perhaps even all at once. This was her third country since November yet it was Paris that made her feel her liberty as a solo traveler. The last time she’d been here she’d been a wife concerned only with the feelings and happiness of her then husband Edward. Or rather unhappiness as it had been then.

“Bonjour Mademoiselle Everett!” the concierge warmly greeted her, stepping out from behind a petite but elegant desk to attend to her non-existent luggage. She explained that the airlines were going to send her luggage along once it was found but that for now she was just going to bed. His eyebrows shot up in surprise.

“A little wine to take with you?”

“Oh, I think…” She let her voice trail off as she watched him open a small glass cupboard and take out a demure half bottle of white wine. She wanted to say no but then remembered Edward wasn’t upstairs. There was no one to frown dourly at her from across the room.

“Oh, well, perhaps, a wee glass would help after traveling” she cheerily offered him as  she accepted the bottle and started towards the tiny elevator. It seemed everything was made for a small person including the tiny handles but then the hotel was 300 years old. Maybe they weren’t as tall as her back then.

She noticed the man had pressed the button for her and he explained they were renovating but had put her in the top floor with a lovely view.

“Merci!” she called behind her as she slid into the miniature elevator and pulled the door shut. The walls of the elevator had a kind of carpet or upholstery on them and there was barely room to turn around. Edward would hate this place. She already loved it.

It was 4 am Paris time. She opened her fabulously tall window and looked down the street. As far as her eyes could see, Haussmann style roofs, fairytale grays and blues and flourishes of architectural details from an era where a woman like her would have been out on the street and not in a beautiful suite in one of the nicest areas of the Paris.

She kicked off her shoes, shrugged out of her dress and slowly  crawled from the bottom of the bed to the top. She hugged the downy pillow and giggled into it. After a harrowing start to the new year, she was at long last with one of her greatest loves.



Filed under Fiction, Transmedia

Prue Gets Visual

I had a great talk with Lance Weiler at the beginning of January and one of the things he told me to do is to use my digital assets of my Transmedia story, Mrs. Everett, and start to make video stories from them. So, I’ve started to do a series of her poems, or really I like to think of them as tiny audio plays, but nevertheless, they will tell another layer of her journey. I started at the beginning for my first one, which is when she is making a reservation for herself and her husband for their 20th wedding anniversary. She knows in her heart the marriage is dead but she feels compelled to try. She is ghost-walking through it and in this video you can kind of hear (I hope!) her sadness and the beginning of her realization that her marriage isn’t giving her what she needs as in, at all. I’m going to to be posting these videos to Prue Everett’s Pinterest page. Some will be on her secret board for her Pen Pals only! You can sign up to be her Pen Pal on my business website. You can interact with the story and help her decide where to go, what to pack, things to see and once in a while she even sends her fans souvenirs from her trips! She also has a Facebook page and she’d love to be friends with you there. You can vicariously live through her as she travels the world; I know I do.

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Filed under Transmedia

Spend on love, keep your money and hold the marriage

For the first time in my life I have an amazing sound system in my car. In fact, I may go deaf over the course of the summer. I’ve been blaring the new Madonna album MDNA so loud it’s bending the windows. I’m sure some teen next to me is thinking, ‘rock on Grandma’ but I don’t care.

Listening to the lyrics on this album can sometimes feel like a punch in the stomach though as Madonna works out her anger, sadness, and remorse about her marriage to Guy Ritchie.  I watched (through the lens of marriage-obsessed media) as this highly independent, financially secure (understatement), incredibly talented woman walked down the bridal path for the second time and lapped up their whole romantic story.

Their love was one born across a table in Sting’s house who hosted them both at a luncheon. It was love at first sight apparently. Then they had a traditional romantic fairytale wedding complete with Scottish castle, church, and haunting moors. Cue music.

However, I knew there was trouble in that marriage when on her last album she wrote  ‘Miles Away‘  and ‘Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You‘. But I wanted to believe in the fairytale…Oops, that fairytale just awarded Guy Ritchie one of the largest settlements in divorce history. Ouch.

Madonna is mad. Just listen to Gang Bang.

You can hear plainly in this album Guy Ritchie must have had an affair. Then soaked her for all she was worth. Marriage, it’s a beautiful thing right? Sometimes I guess.  Maybe because everyone wants to remain in the bubble, the marriage dream, the happily-ever-after dream they don’t look at what is really going on in their relationships. There’s just so much…..to lose.

The bigger the bubble–bauble?–the bigger the bang when it bursts.

I watched a Goldie Hawn interview recently (who is famously unmarried to Kurt Russell) and she said something that really resonated with me: “I want to be free to choose and I want the person with me to be free to choose. Every day of their lives. To wake up and go to sleep making the choice to love that person and fully be in it.”

Choice. I wonder, do we lose some of our choice when we get a big fat diamond ring on our finger? As a woman, is this idea even relevant anymore? Do we need to show the world our emotional collateral? ‘Look, see? Right here on my hand, there it is folks!’ Apparently it is very relevant, because Pinterest is a living experiment of the fairytale very much alive and well and pinned to the hearts of hopeful women around the globe.

My favourite song on this new album has to be  Love Spent where she writes with a frank, bare honesty about money and its  tragic place in their marriage. I suppose money doesn’t buy happiness after all, go figure.

I want you to take me like you took your money
Take me in your arms until your last breath
I want you to hold me like you hold your money
Hold me in your arms until there’s nothing left

So, from a sanctioned marriage with a priest, Madonna gets fleeced and now has a broken heart and when asked by David Letterman if she would marry again she flatly responded:

“I would rather get run over by a train.”

I feel lucky that 2011 emancipated from my need to ever be married. I’m all about Goldie’s philosophy, and having choice. Personally, I think women have earned it. I know I have.

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Filed under Non-fiction, Relationships

How Twitter is Like Marriage

For Twitterists’ worldwide, it is common knowledge that our Twitter habit is a daily investment and one that we have committed to wholeheartedly. But for those considering getting into microblogging, there are a few things to consider first before you commit to Twitter. I often say to clients that Twitter is like marriage.

Here’s why:

1. Commit. Enter into the union or in this case, the Twitterverse, with the intention you’ll be there every day, for better or worse.

2. Be diplomatic. Don’t expose a mommy blogger’s spelling mistake for the sake of winning. Be magnanimous in your relationships.

3. Be supportive. Give shout outs to your tweeps when they need them. Retweet and mention the young entrepreneur you know is struggling to build their business. It’s like virtual roses–a little love goes a long way.

4. Contribute consistently. Be a long-term partner. It’s not all about you. Contribute to the conversation and deepen your relationships so they can live offline.

5. Be loyal. Play in your city’s sandbox. Support local causes, events, businesses’.

6. No eye rolling. Being sarcastic, patronizing, or giving a virtual eye roll is not being a good partner and it certainly isn’t be a good tweep.

7. Crack jokes. They say that shared humour is what sets great marriages apart so unbutton the collar a little, let your humour show through in your tweets, it’s okay to be entertaining!

8. Don’t go there. Avoid diving into topics you know will incite a riot, fight, or cause you to lose your credibility. Bad taste is bad taste, be professional. Play nice.

9. Shut up sometimes. That’s right. Zip it. Over-tweeting is like someone shouting in your face. It’s rude, childish, and will only alienate you from the community.

10. Celebrate success. Be a cheerleader but make sure you’re cheering for yourself only 20% of the time–give positive daily support to your relationships on Twitter the remainder of the time and you’ll receive lots of micro karma back.

Unlike marriage, however, Twitter doesn’t require any big fat diamond but don’t kid yourself–it will cost you. But most Twitterists’ will tell you it’s so worth the committment.

*Note: this post also appears on my business website, www.whatisyourstory.ca because it’s a weird hybrid of personal and business.

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Filed under Humour, Relationships