Moving on might be easier than writing about it

by Kristin on July 31, 2008

in God & church, hope & doubt

I have an overflowing plate of client work, plus an August 1 deadline (yes, that’s tomorrow) to submit a proposal for a collection of essays called Ask Me About My Divorce: Women Open Up About Moving On.

So why am I writing a blog post, you ask? I’ve got some thinking out loud to do, and feedback to gather. The problem: getting to the essence of my story in 2,000-3,000 words.

A divorce, after all, isn’t a single story. Not for me or anyone who’s been through one. It’s a collection of stories and genres—part comedy, part tragedy, a bit of historical documentary drama, and lots of, well, just plain drama.

One of the reasons I’m drawn to this particular book project, though, is that it doesn’t intend to play up the tragic or dramatic. Its intent is to provide hope. The call for submission document puts it like this:

“So many women and children are trapped in unhappy marriages because we are unable to move beyond the feeling that divorce is the devil. Sure, it’s not what we wish for when we walk down the aisle (whether we wear a white gown or a scarlet shift) but if it’s the escape hatch into our best life, it can have more promise around it. It can hold more of a space for the positive.”

I’ve had plenty of positive, life-changing experiences since—no, because of—the messiness of divorce. So which story do I tell? I’ve narrowed it down to two solid possibilities:

One story is a humorous, down-and-dirty look at blended families. In particular, it’s a story about how Jason and I have created an extended family of sorts with his ex-wife, her lesbian partner and their baby, along with my two daughters and stepdaughter. This story also touches on how I’ve made peace with my ex, Conrad, and how much I genuinely like his new wife.

The other narrative I could write focuses on my love-hate relationship with religion and the church, and how that relationship has evolved alongside my relationships with men. The particulars of this story include losing several Christian friends at the time of my divorce and being told by the church to stop taking communion…and then eventually meeting my new husband at the last place I expected: another church. This story examines how complicated love and faith can be, and how nothing in either realm is ever black and white.

So which will it be, readers? Which story is more appealing to my imagined audience? Which one is more marketable to the editor of this book? Which one is more unexpected in its depiction of forgiveness, hope, and the surprising ways a messed up situation can be redeemed?

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  • Lorna

    Well, it seems like I’ve heard the “I found everything I was longing for when I least expected it” story much more often than the “this is the crazy, messy, yet lovely life I live” story. For what its worth.

  • dorie

    my vote goes to the humorous, down-and -dirty look at blended families. I think your honesty here will make for a very interesting read.

  • Anja

    I would agree with the two comments above, although I hope to hear more about sotry #2. But as for now, I’m really looking forward to the crazy family story.