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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Married Dating Goes Viral

I am getting a kick out of writing about the aftermath of infidelities – because it takes the romance out of the story and the battlefield left is replete with human drama. 

Perhaps because I am researching the topic, recently I have noticed the culture of infidelity has been in the news with some alarming frequency – or maybe it was there before and I did not notice.

In the last few weeks there has been a mention of Ashley Madison cited as cause in several divorces. This Internet dating service for married people’s motto is “Life is Short. Have an Affair.”

One of the cable stations is doing a new reality show based on a community of swingers. It hasn’t aired yet and already there are family values protesters threatening boycotts and all sorts of fire and brimstone and the collapse of Western civilization (again).

Finally, there was a BBC article about Gleeden being sued in France. Gleeden is another online dating service specifically for married women. The interesting part of this is that apparently the French have codified fidelity.

Article 212 of the French Civil Code:
"Married partners owe each other the duty of respect, 
it springs from fidelity, help and assistance."
My opinion has always been that marriage is a social contract, but it is a Catholic organization that has begun proceedings here--so even if the civil judges agree, that association might be the end of the argument because Church and State are very much separate in France. 

To me, the truly funny part is that it has always been the French who have been on the vanguard of what is cool in infidelity.

Don’t misunderstand, I am not condoning cheating, what I am saying is that in literature, film, fine art, song the French have cast the lover as something of no consequence. If you go by popular culture alone, everybody in France has a lover.

Of course, you haven't truly reached acceptance until the news media starts to apply puns to the phenomena and getting details of the digital age totally wrong: Married Dating Goes Viral!

Discretion in such things is relative and has always been so, from royal courts to modern day, and it inspires the idea of writing about infidelities across different ages and times.

Fifty years of French films on infidelity

The idea that the French will fight for fidelity is both hilarious and ludicrous. It’s the equivalent of screwing for virginity! But it probably will make for a good, and farcical story. I’m thinking a bastardization of the Don Camillo stories but with antisextivists (devout activists who want to make sure nobody has sex).

And that is how inspiration works around here…

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

On Reviews and Opinions

I solicited reviews and opinions about The Mistress and there is a thread in the comments I got back.

There was a little bit of confusion – which I wanted there because the telling of the story is also part of the story – and it did make some thirst for more details about the characters.

The Mistress will get a makeover for the anthology – expanding the characters, some of the storylines, and the settings. I admit that I edited out a lot of setting to get the action going, but it wouldn’t hurt the story to include a little color. 

The critiques, in this case, will serve to give the story a chance to soar by freeing more of its details. 

In the meantime, the first draft of one story for the coming anthology is complete.

In this story, I worked with memories of a childhood experience. It’s not the actual story, I am not the character recounting the story nor is the setting one in which I have lived. The main characters in the story have passed away and nobody’s privacy or dignity will take a hit.

The adults around me chose and insisted on keeping mum about the infidelities. I rarely thought of the infidelity and somehow what remained, years after the fact, was the lying. It was the deception that offended me most. I surveyed some folks and there were different opinions on it: some felt that silence was more a sin of omission.

And this was the idea that propelled the story.

To my own surprise, as I wrote the story another aspect of it came back to me and I added it.

I remember reading about unreliable narrators, and certainly taking a story from the mind of a child is ripe for unreliable storytelling! Memory can lie because it sometimes fills in what it forgets, but more often it lies because the mind cannot reconcile the details – too painful, too ugly, too boring…

Thankfully, this is for fiction, but it requires some truth. If there is not a single aspect of the story that approximates truth, nobody will care to read it. 
Truth in fiction is not about veracity as much as it is about relatability.

Of course, I want to believe that I do this artfully well but it may just be awfully done. The truth is that it isn’t my call but the readers. If I am fortunate, they’ll let me know one way or the other.

If you get critiqued, you should always act on it (not aggressively) and put it to good use.