Wow! It’s hard to believe that we first started this blog way back in 2006. Soon it will be time for our ten-year-reunion. I’m very glad that Litlove has challenged us to come back to it and catch up on what we’ve been writing during the five years we’ve let this blog lie dormant. This has been the year of revisiting the blogosphere for me, as I pretty much stopped blogging on any kind of regular basis a couple of years ago, and I recently decided to start a new blog. My old blog was anonymous. This new one isn’t. I’m struggling with that. The world of social media has changed so much that I’m now amused to visit early posts I wrote back in 2006 in which anonymity was so important to me that I wouldn’t even name the amusement park my husband Bob and I visited, in case people could figure out where I lived and who I was. On the other hand, now that I’m not anonymous, I feel a bit stifled, especially as a minister’s wife (a good topic for another blog post here).
That’s the biggest change, I suppose, for me, since we first started “What We Said.” I was on my way to becoming a minister’s wife (for anyone new to this blog and me, Bob is a third-career Presbyterian minister) in the fall of 2006, but I wasn’t there yet. Now I’ve been here for seven years. We live in a very conservative place, the sort of Apple-Pie-Small-Town-America place that looks good on paper — from far away — I never really knew much about until I moved here. Generations of families still all live in the same community and have for hundreds of years. Unlike Charlotte, who is encouraged when it comes to feminism, I am discouraged. Most of the young women here still see teaching and nursing as their only real career choices. Bob once asked one of these young women why she didn’t become a doctor. Her response, “Because I want to get married and have babies.” There’s a part of me that thinks maybe it’s a good thing that a young woman knows what she wants and is choosing a career path that fits it, that maybe my generation of burnt-out women trying to be Super Doctors and Super Moms was a lesson to the younger generation, that I shouldn’t judge, but there’s another part of me that is very sad to hear that. I doubt there are any young men in my community who are choosing to be nurses rather than doctors because they want to “get married and have babies.” If there are, I doubt they’d admit it out loud. There is hope, though, even here. We know one young woman who is on her way to becoming a research biologist, another who wants to be an editor, and a third who has a real entrepreneurial spirit and whom I sure will run her own business one day. When I get too discouraged, I try to focus on that hope.
Anyway, back to what I’ve been writing. I also sporadically blog book reviews for my library at Pequea Valley Reader’s Blog, and I even more sporadically write posts at a blog I started called The Minister’s Wife Reads, in which I write faith-based thoughts on quotes I pull from stuff I’m reading. One of the reasons I’ve blogged less over the past few years is that I wrote the first draft of a novel and began the second draft of it. I was having a bit of trouble with it, because I made the decision to rearrange the time line and to get rid of some characters, so I put it aside and started working on ghost stories, as well as short stories that focused on mother-daughter pairs. I also began a couple of reworking of classic fairy tales, folklore, and myths from the female characters’ points of view. All of that has been fun, but I don’t find I have as much uninterrupted time for writing as I’d like. I no longer work full-time (oh, that’s another thing that’s happened in the past five years. I’ve been laid off from two different jobs), but I work very part-time at our local library, and my volunteer work (church, library system, Presbytery, and peace witness organization) is very full-time. I’m also trying to take care of our home (Bob, whose job is all-consuming and unpredictable in a way that drives me nuts can only do so much) and the dog and two cats who’ve also come into our lives in the past 5-7 years. I keep swearing I’m going to make the time and then never do. I so admire those of you who really do make the time. Half the battle, I know, is that discipline.
So, I’m busy working on these short stories when the October of Gone Girl arrives. I read Gone Girl back in 2013. I loved it till I got about 3/4 of the way through, when I felt it started to crash and burn, and I hated the ending, because I thought it was very sexist (for those of you who’ve read it — or who haven’t but don’t mind spoilers — you can find out why here). Bob was intrigued, especially since the movie’s been released, so he decided to read it while we were on vacation in Maine. He loved it, wasn’t at all bothered by the ending, like I was, thought Flynn had written a brilliant sociopathic character. I told him she hadn’t, that Patricia Highsmith is the one who’d written a brilliant sociopathic character when she wrote The Talented Mr. Ripley, that he’d change his mind if he read Highsmith. I then said, “I think I could write a better sociopathic character.” He said, “Well, then, why don’t you?”
So, dear readers, I am. That’s what I’m working on now. It’s coming along slowly and has involved my delving into research on sociopaths — creepy — which, in fairness to Flynn, has made me realize that maybe she wrote a better character than I gave her credit for having written. Still, I’m hoping mine will be even better. Stay tuned…