Write and film your Experiences with Love, Loss, and What You Wore
MY LATEST PROJECT AND HOW YOU CAN HELP
As some of you know, one of the highlights of my year was being in the Nantucket Theater Workshop production of Nora and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss, and What I Wore. The cast became incredibly close in the process of producing this play. During rehearsals, we told our own stories about love, about body issues, about the clothes we wore at pivotal points in our lives. We told them compulsively. And all of us had stories. I suspect that every woman does. We had worked hard for years to overcome our insecurities about our bodies, about our mothers, about our husbands, and we thought we had succeeded until we realized that those feelings were so deep that--despite all our hard work to overcome them--they could still rear their ugly heads. When we tried on our costumes, we worried about our arms, our stomachs, our hips, and our legs.
We were wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters. We had mothers whom we loved deeply, but we still remembered the difficult moments when we did not feel understood. Some of the cast had struggled with breast cancer; some of us were divorced, others were widowed, and many were happily married. We were wildly different—and we were remarkably the same. All of us had stories, and we wanted to share those stories. I know that the cast is not alone in wanting to tell their stories. When I was wandering on Main Street in Nantucket, and when I was on the ferry to Hyannis, women stopped me to say that they loved the play--and then they told me their stories.
I want to put together a book of short monologues entitled Love, Loss, and What I Wore on Nantucket with the collected stories of the women of Nantucket, which includes anyone who spends any portion of time on the Island. Furthermore, I would love to make a short film of monologues by these women. I am currently taking a class at the Nantucket Television Station learning how to film (more about this in my next article). I am not looking for writers or actors—although it would be fine if you are one or both of these. I am interested in women sharing their genuine experiences and thoughts.
SO—IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THIS PROJECT, PLEASE CONTACT ME. I can be reached at [email protected] or 310-251-9706. I want to have a series of dinners and/or lunches or brunches to get together and write our monologues and little-by-little to film them.
I am going to include my own monologue in this article. It is not a fabulous piece of writing, but it is heartfelt and true. I hope it will inspire you to write your own and to send it to me.
My husband always said, “If you divorce me, you will get fat,” and I always responded, “No, I won’t.”
But I did.
I married when I was seventeen, and I had no idea what a good marriage should look like. Consequently, I accepted things that I wouldn’t accept today. Every morning my husband had me weigh in front of him to be sure that I had not gained a pound. The I would stand, naked, on the scale praying that I was at my usual 110 pounds. If I had gained a few pounds, I knew my life would be miserable until I lost them.
At cocktail parties, when I reached for a hors d’oeurve, he would say, “You are not going to eat that, are you?” and I would say, “Of course not,” and pull my hand back.
Needless to say, eventually I did divorce him.
And, damn it, he was right.
I got fat.
I was so happy to eat what I wanted that I did. Nothing fit. I had to shop in the Big Women's departments. I waddled. Running was out of the question.
But then, I moved to California—the land of the thin and beautiful— where I lost the weight.
Now, at seventy-three, I weigh 110 pounds again, but I don’t starve myself, but when I am at a cocktail party, I eat everything I want! And I enjoy every bite.
As you can see, this is short—and it is not brilliant writing—but it is honest, and I can imagine it as a monologue. Try your own story. Try acting it out. I promise it is cathartic—and fun—and liberating. When you write your short monologue, please send it to me along with a picture of you. And, if you possibly can, come to my house for a meal and to work in the company of other wonderful women. Send me your email address, and I will be sure to send you an invitation. and my email information.