The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.
“What are you going to call your first book?” Marlene asked, leaning close to Desiree as if the very words she would speak were magical.
Desiree chuckled. Her friend could be such an imp and a romantic. Right now she was positively sappy with support and Desiree loved her for it. “I think I will call it something like ‘Deliciously Evil.'”
“Ooh! Do tell!”
“Do tell what? I haven’t thought out anymore than that and it was just off the top of my head.”
“Will it be romance, adventure, horror…erotica?” Marlene smiled, devilishly.
Desiree burst with laughter. “Maybe it will be all of those!”
“Why not?” Marlene asked, stirring her cocktail. The bar was alive with chatter, interest and the excitement that accompanies the night crowd. “It would sell.”
“That would be awesome. I would love nothing more than to write all day and afford to do it.” I sipped my fruity ale and nibbled on some peanuts. Already scenes were percolating in my imagination.
“It’s entirely possible. Entirely.” Marlene no longer kidded with me. She had fixed her gaze on me, the one that said, “You better make good on your promises because I mean business.”
“You really think I could do this?”
“Of course I do! You’re doing it now!” The band had started and the dance floor was quickly populated. Marlene had to shout, “You’re doing it right now! Look how you changed from third person to first. Just let that imagination loose, girl. It’s been a long time.”
It had been. I’d been trying to fit my writing into my life, into a mold, into a funnel that would condense it to something befitting a good wife and mother as if I were personally responsible for the wholesomeness and salvation of the entire planet. Not that I wanted to write anything that was the polar opposite to such a thing, but somewhere in the vast middle there were limitless stories about everything my heart desired and my mind wrestled with that didn’t conform to the mold I’d created for myself and had tried to stuff myself into. Now that I had Marlene on my side, I knew I could write to my heart’s content.
“Come on, ellie, let’s dance!” she said, calling me by my real (pen) name and not a random character’s name.
I grinned. Marlene knew how to draw me out of myself. There is no Muse better than her. I joined her on the dance floor. Except for a dance with the kids here and there, I hadn’t danced in over thirty years – since high school. It was a sheer pleasure throwing myself into the beat and getting lost in the rhythm. It didn’t matter whether or not I was perfect. It was all about getting immersed in the moment and enjoying myself.
“That’s right!” Marlene shouted in my ear. “Just let yourself go. That’s how you have to write. Remember?”
The biggest smile lit up my face. I remembered! It was like all my favorite Christmases, summer vacations and ice cream cones as a kid all wrapped into one. It was pure, refreshing and without inhibitions. A good feeling welled up in me, the kind of feeling that tells me I am doing the right thing and that I’m on the right track.
Marlene threw her head back and sang with the band without a care in the world. Why I had clamped down on her, caged her, bottle her, I don’t know…and I don’t care. The important thing is that she’s free now and so am I. I threw my head back and joined my voice to hers and the chorus of all the others. That feeling of something good and right just kept on growing.
No regrets. I choose what I will do instead of letting things happen to me and creating a life of drift. But I will regret, at this point in my life, if I don’t choose to do something other than continue to be mistreated. I am a loveable, capable, wonderful woman who deserves to be loved, respected and treated like the treasure that she is by her spouse. That ain’t happening.
I said, “I came up with a pen name and created a blog and I’m going to write. I will be free to write whatever I want under my new name.” He was agreeable to this.
Later I said, “Don’t tell anyone about my pen name. Only you know.”
He said, “I really could care less.”
Perhaps he meant well, but when you share something really close to you with one of two people in the world, the other being your therapist, and it’s something that means a great deal to you because being a writer is what you ARE and it’s been a long hard road and part of growing, healing and making progress in this relationship and as a human being was to pursue being who you are independent of wife and mother…and he says, “I really don’t care,” well, a sleepless night and 570 calories later, you think, “Fuck you,” and you determine to go on without his support because who needs support like that anyway? Amiright? So called “best friend.”
I won’t be putting his name in my dedication. And I am sure he could really care less about it, too.
It hurts, but he isn’t God, nor is he truly my best friend. Something we are working on – our friendship. In his colloquialism (back at him), “Sucks boo to you!”
No regrets for me and I am not planning on starting any now.