Monday, October 11

Posted by Laurel Garver on Monday, October 11, 2010 8 comments
Do you ever have one of those indecisive days? When you start six different blog posts and can't finish any of them? Maybe it's the total frenzy at work or the fact I was sick over the weekend. Anyway, after being unable to finish my other post ideas, I did a quick skim through my old blogger dashboard and found loads of other unfinished posts.

For lack of anything better, I thought I'd share this post I'd started for a blogfest back in the winter. I believe the prompt was to write on breakups. I should probably turn this bizarre freewrite into a story someday. It has some great humor potential.

To my young, single readers, here's your cautionary tale of the day.

Notes to self

In the future, take care to avoid dating or any other sustained social contact with any man who

-asks you out at a funeral

-has a name usually given to dogs

-is 15 years older than you

-still lives with his parents
-even though he is a company vice president
-and owns two Mercedes
-and belongs to a country club

-is a company VP with two Mercedes and a country club membership, but usually takes you to swanky places like Pizza Hut

-takes you to "the club" only when the place is practically empty,
-and tells you fiction writing is a waste of time
-and orders you a fish entree "because that dress is looking a little snug."

-thinks it's cute and romantic to say things like "when I was studying in Paris, you were in kindergarten," as if pedophilia were cute and romantic.

-invites you to his 20th high school reunion when you just had your fifth
-and tells you how to dress
-and acts surly and sulks when you wear "the wrong shoes"

Should you have the misfortune to tangle with such a character for, say 13 months or so, don't be surprised if he calls and:

- gets annoyed you didn't answer his calls last week
-despite the fact all the phone wires in your parents' house melted in their house fire
-is completely disinterested in how you spent the time apart working 18-hour days picking through the sooty detritus of your parents' burned-down house trying to salvage your family's belongings
-whines that you didn't ask how his week was
-breaks up with you over the phone

I think I've never done anything with this because A) it's all so painfully true; B) I'm apparently still a little angry with myself about it, more than a decade later; and C) I'm not entirely sure how to structure this experience into a story arc.

Do you ever trip across old freewrites? Ever do anything with them?
Do you ever write autobiographical stuff?
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  1. I'm sure at the time, he didn't seem quite so bad. I mean you didn't learn all of the above in one fell swoop. It was revealed over time--after you more or less accepted the previous oddity. It's only looking back at the whole picture you get to see all the red flags for what they were.

    I gotta know....what was the name usually given to a dog?

  2. Sounds like quite a traumatic time. These things are hard to get over, but I hope you find ways to deal with the anger and other assorted feelings. Maybe writing a book or a short story about it is the way to go.

    No more dating men named Fido,'K?

  3. Is it bad that my mouth was wide open while I read this? I mean, so ridiculous what you've had to put up with.
    I think there's a good, juicy story in here! I wouldn't let it go. Keep a tiny bit of that anger, and turn it into a sizzling revenge novel (which, of course, if it has any resemblance to any live person is COMPLETELY by chance.)

  4. I come across less structured (than your example) freewrite stuff all the time. I have tons of notebooks for it, but I tend to grab whatever paper is nearby (loose leaf paper where the kids are doing homework, take-out menus, squares of paper towels...sheesh). I've got to compile it all one day. And I never write about myself. I mean, all my characters are "me," just fictionalized beyond recognition. :))

  5. Vicki: of course he had good qualities. The controlling, borderline abusive streak didn't come out until we'd dated for many months. I'm told that's typical. Which makes me think I need to get over being embarrassed at my stupidity and do something with this experience to help other women. (His name is Latin for king.)

    Yat-Yee: More puzzling than traumatic. My family life was difficult enough that this guy seemed merely quirky. That is, until he was such a jerk when my parents' house burned down.
    Then I was plenty mad. I do think this was such a long time ago I should be able to write about it.

    Lydia: the revenge thing is what worries me, actually. It goes against my values to use my gifts to deliberately hurt people. I would, however, consider writing a cautionary tale to help younger women be more alert to relationship red flags.

    Nicole: I rarely write about my direct experiences, though mostly because I'm a big coward. The ethical dimensions are also an issue. It is more comfortable to write "not me" characters. But maybe I need to be braver and get out of my comfort zone.

  6. Yes, avoid those men at all costs.

    I only have a few freewrites. I wish I did more, because they free up the brain to do heavier writing.

  7. Truth is stranger than fiction and all my stories have some form of 'my' truth in them.

    The funeral home guy sounds like a wack job and would make a great fall-guy to a snappy chic heroine somewhere.

    And don't beat yourself up about past experiences with men. I'm still black and blue from senior year. It all goes away eventually. Hopefully we learn from our mistakes.

  8. Medeia: freewriting can be a great way to clear out one's brain, as you say, and find surprising ideas also.

    Anne: Only a naif like I was in my 20s would put up with his quirks, I think. So there might be an "education plot" or coming-of-age story possibility here. Weirdly enough, I look back on all this an find it extremely funny. I'm beginning to wonder if my sense of humor is just extremely warped. :-D