After singing Auld Lang Syne at midnight, I’ll dive right in to accomplishing my 2011 creative writing resolutions. This year’s creative writing goals include:
Have the Dating a Widower book available by end of January. I finally finished rewriting the latest draft this week and have an editor queued up to do a final review of it. Providing the editor doesn’t have substantial changes, it should be out an available on Amazon by late January.
Have a final, polished draft of a novel that I hope will take me to the national market. Code named “White Whale” I’ll be pitching it to an agent the first week of May at a writer’s conference. The clock is ticking on this one. All I have right now is an outline.
Wrap up the sequel to The Third. The first draft is almost done but need to get it polished by fall should the publisher pick up the option to do the next book in the trilogy.
And if I can accomplish all that, 2011 will be a very successful year indeed—at least when it comes to writing. And to keep me honest, I’ll be posting regular progress on this blog.
Back when I was in middle school, the NFL started to be called the No Fun League because the league became über concerned about its brand and started cracking down on showboating players like Jim McMahon. Over the years players like Terrell Owens tried to liven up the game by spiking the ball on the Cowboys star or autographing footballs after a touchdown and the NFL predictably fined players and created new rules about player behavior least the game where grown men hit each other at breakneck speed appear too uncivilized.
It should have come as no surprise that the NFL decided postpone the Vikings-Eagles game because of a blizzard. Yet, I was stunned. Unlike baseball, football is played in any weather condition. I’m not a fan of either team, but I’ll tune into just about any game played in pouring rain or twelve inches snow. And since Sunday night is about the only time I have to watch football nowadays, I really would have relished a chance to watch an entire game taking place in blizzard-like conditions.
While the safety of fans and players should always be a concern, (hence I have no problem with them postponing a game because a stadium roof collapses) there comes a time when you have to treat people like adults and let them decide for themselves what level of risk they’re willing to take. Ticketholders who don’t want to brave the snow can give the tickets to someone else and watch the game from home. Buying tickets to an outdoor football game in Philadelphia comes with the risk of – gasp! – cold and snow.
Now that it’s painfully obvious that the No Fun League is run by a bunch of business people whose neckties have cut off circulation to their brains, don’t be surprised if more games get delayed because of snow. In fact don’t be surprised if more games are postponed because it’s raining, too hot, too cold, or too much wind. After all, the biggest game of the year be played in less than ideal conditions. Heaven forbid if regular season games are as well.
Occasionally I’ll get an email from someone who’s having a long distance relationship with a widower. Generally these relationships start off well with both parties communicating via email, texts, phone, Facebook, etc. for hours at a time. After three or four months the communication from the widower levels off and I get an email asking if the widower is still interested.
The problem with long distance relationships is that phone and other forms of communication only go so far. It’s hard to really get to know someone or remember why they set your heart aflutter in the first place when all you’re doing is talking or texting each other. Knowing whether or not someone is worth a serious, committed relationship, you need to spend a lot of time in with them—something that’s hard to do when you live hundreds or thousands of miles away from each other. The widower status of the man adds an additional layer of complexity since you’re seeing someone who may not be emotionally ready to start a new life with you.
For those who have read Room for Two, you know that my first serious relationship after my late wife’s death was a long distance one. Even though we talked on the phone for an hour or two ever day, sent copious amounts of email to each other, and each took turns flying to the other’s state every other month, I kept feeling that something was wrong with the relationship. At first I thought my misgivings were because we spend so little time together. But as the relationship progressed, I realized that the spark that I was looking for wasn’t there. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to end the relationship. I liked having someone to talk to and someone who would spend time with me. It added a much needed layer of normalcy to my life. Instead, I started cutting back on the amount of time we talked on the phone and the numbers of email I sent. The amount of contact plunged even further when I started dating Marathon Girl—something that may not have even happened if the first girl I was dating didn’t live over 600 miles away.
What it comes down to is this: widowers who aren’t ready to move on can fake interest in someone for an hour over the phone for months or years but have a harder time doing this over extended face-to-face encounters. When you’re dating a widower and aren’t able to see his non-verbal actions, if the house is full of shrines to the late wife, etc. it’s hard to tell if he’s really loves you or is simply using you to pass the time until someone better comes along. Eventually he’ll get bored and contact will slow down or stop completely but in the meantime you’ll end up wasting countless hours and mouths (or years) of your life.
My advice is to avoid long distance relationships with a widower unless you can find a way to spend lots of face-to-face time with each other. Dating a widower already comes with plenty of unique challenges; adding the complexity that comes with a long distance relationship is simply asking for more trouble.
Steve Wozniak, the cofounder of Apple Computer, does a much better job than I ever could explaing why the FCC’s “Net Neutrality” vote will end up screwing we the people. Writes Wozniak:
Imagine that when we started Apple we set things up so that we could charge purchasers of our computers by the number of bits they use. The personal computer revolution would have been delayed a decade or more. If I had to pay for each bit I used on my 6502 microprocessor, I would not have been able to build my own computers anyway. What if we paid for our roads per mile that we drove? It would be fair and understandable to charge more for someone who drives more. But one of the most wonderful things in our current life is getting in the car and driving anywhere we feel like at this moment, and with no accounting for cost. You just get in your car and go. This is one of the most popular themes of our life and even our popular music. It’s a type of freedom from some concerns that makes us happy and not complain. The roads are already paid for. You rarely hear people complain that roads are “free.” The government shines when it comes to having provided us pathways to drive around our country. We don’t think of the roadways as being negative like telecommunication carriers. It’s a rare breath of fresh air.
I frequently speak to different types of audiences all over the country. When I’m asked my feeling on Net Neutrality I tell the open truth. When I was first asked to “sign on” with some good people interested in Net Neutrality my initial thought was that the economic system works better with tiered pricing for various customers. On the other hand, I’m a founder of the EFF and I care a lot about individuals and their own importance. Finally, the thought hit me that every time and in every way that the telecommunications careers have had power or control, we the people wind up getting screwed. Every audience that I speak this statement and phrase to bursts into applause.
More heat waves are predicted [in the UK], increasing heat-related deaths to around 2800 cases per year. This is likely to be offset by fewer cold related deaths. — What will climate change mean for the UK?, National Environment Research Council, March 20, 2009.
Matt Drudge has found an article from a UK paper in 2000 with the headline “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.”
The best quote?
According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.
“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.
Back when I was five or so my favorite cartoon was Scooby-Doo. I remember watching the episodes over and over again on the black-and-white television in my dad’s art studio while he worked on his art projects. My brother liked the cartoon too. One Halloween my mom made me a Scooby-Doo outfit and my brother a Scrappy-Doo outfit. (The photo she took of us in those costumes is still one of my favorite childhood photos.)
Fast forward 30 years. I have four kids. The oldest three (ages 6, 5, and 4) are the same age I was back in the late 1970s/early 1980s when I liked Scooby-Doo. What’s their favorite thing to watch on TV or stream from Netflix? Episodes of Scooby-Doo.
The other night, too tired to write, I sat down and watch an episode with them. I was a little surprised that the writers are still using the same formulaic. Yes, the show’s been updated. The characters use cell phones and computers, but they still dress the same and drive The Mystery Machine. The bad guy always dress up in monster costumes, Scooby and Shaggy are still cowards, eat like pigs, and manage to stay thin, and the villain always says that he/she “would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you meddling kids” at the end of every episode.
But why mess with something that’s not broken? I liked it 30 years ago and my kids like it now. (My oldest has a Mystery Machine lunch box he takes to school every day.) In fact the new episodes are just as fun as the ones I remember watching as a kid. If anything, it’s nice to have something like Scooby-Doo that stretches across generations. I know who Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby are, I’m happy to get my kids “Scooby snacks” from the treat cupboard, or laugh with them at the silly slapstick humor in every episode.
Kudos to those who have been able to keep the show alive in various incarnations over the years. May it still be around when I have grandkids that are old enough to enjoy it too.
Today’s Widower Wednesday column comes from a comment that was posted on my Dating and Marriage: One Regret post. I thought the commenter asked some good questions and raised some interesting points. So I’m going to post her comment below with my thoughts in italics.
“Daughter of a Widower” writes:
I stumbled across this website trying to find information to help me understand my recently widowed dad’s new relationship. Mainly, I’m struggling with…Why does it seem like men in particular feel comfortable starting new relations so quickly (I know that’s relative) after their wives have died?
I know this site is meant for women who are dating widowers, but as an adult, female child of a widower I felt I could offer a perspective on this topic that maybe hasn’t been addressed before.
Excellent question. You’re correct that it hasn’t been addressed in-depth on this blog. (Side note: It is discussed in my upcoming Dating a Widower book.) So here’s my take on why widower start dating soon after their wife dies.
Most men, especially men who have spent a long time married to someone they love, find that their lives lose a lot of the richness and purpose it held once their wife passes on. Frankly, most widowers don’t know what to do with themselves when their wives are gone. In order to put some meaning back in their lives they try to “fix” their life by finding another woman who can add some meaning they feel is missing. I felt that way and a lot of the widower’s I’ve talked to had similar feelings. Just because they start dating weeks or months after their wife dies doesn’t mean that they don’t love her. Instead, they’re simply trying to fix a part of their life that feels broken in the most logical way they can think of.
I read the post by “Bob” whose 15 year old daughter is taking his dating very hard. I truly feel for this poor girl. I really don’t think guys understand the complex impact starting a new relationship will have on the women in their lives.
The following has been my experience in the last few days since “the news broke”…
I (the only daughter in the family) was stunned and confused, but determined not to judge, then I cried.
My brothers are “supportive” and/or “happy” for my dad.
My sister-in-law cried when she found out.
My husband sort of smiled, nervously, not knowing what to say.
My son said, “that’s weird” and moved on.
My two daughters cried.
And so I started to wonder about this reaction that seemed to be unique to the women affected by this new relationship. I’ve come to realize that what we are feeling is akin to (but not exactly) betrayal. Even though in our conscious minds we know he needs to move forward, we are caught off guard. And with this new “relationship” we are smacked in the face with the realization that what was supposed to be forever has come to an end, suddenly it seems. Deep inside of us women we wonder, ‘is it that easy to move on when we go?’ And that is frightening and extremely sad for us.
I think your right that women tend to have a harder time accepting the new relationship than men. I actually like the word betrayal even though the emotion is more complicated than that. (There’s a good deal of grief thrown in there too.)
One thing to remember is that the world will keep moving on after someone dies. Yes, the world may stop for a day or two—at least for those who knew the person; but it will quickly start back up again. The deceased will always live on in the hearts of this who knew him or her but this world is meant for the living—not the dead. It will continue to move forward whether we’re breathing or not. The question for those left behind is whether or not we’re going to move on with it.
So, to you ladies who are dating widowers with young children or adult children, especially if it has been less than a full year of seasons that would mark milestones in their mother’s life, do not be surprised if you are not fully accepted into the family right away, especially by the women in your new boyfriend’s life. You must try to understand the loss that they feel (for their mother and for their parents’ relationship that will never again continue as it was). And, unfortunately, in many ways that are probably unfair in your mind, you will be for some time the “other woman” in ours.
I, for one, am hoping and praying that my feelings change.
I understand where you’re coming from. A lot of my family and friends had similar feelings when I was dating again. It’s a natural reaction that most people have—especially those who are still grieving the deceased.
In defense of the women dating widowers, it seems like those who email me understand that the widower’s friends and family may not be ready to see the widower with a new woman. Often meeting the widower’s family and spending time with them is just as hard for them as it is for you.
That being said, if you want to think of your dad’s (or brother, uncle, etc.) new woman as “the other woman” that’s fine. However, this doesn’t justify the rude comments or remarks or other things that are purposely done to make the new woman feel uncomfortable or she doesn’t belong or is somehow responsible for your dad dating again. I’m not saying you have or will do this. It’s interested that the widower’s or late wife’s family usually takes their grief and feelings of betrayal out on the new woman instead of the widower. If anyone reading this blog is upset with that their dad (or brother, uncle, etc.) is dating again, then talk to him about it instead of taking your feelings out on the woman’s he’s with.
An advertising agency says nearly 19 percent of the 28,110 votes cast in an online poll named the song. It was recorded in 1984 by the British duo Wham, made up of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley.
Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas placed second among the ten featured songs, with more than 15 percent of the vote.
Considering how much annoying US/UK music they played when I was over there, I must admit I’m impressed with the poll. Admittedly I’m a grinch when it comes to Christmas songs; there are very few that I acutally enjoy. However, the two mentioned above would probably make my top 10 list along with Merry Christmas With Love by Clay Aiken, Christmas Conga by Cyndi Lauper, Wonderful Christmas Time by Paul McCartney, and Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas) by John Denver.
The Wall Street Journal reports that marketers are looking for ways to put ads in e-books.
Marketers are exploring a variety of formats, including sponsorships that give readers free books. Videos, graphics or text with an advertiser’s message that appear when a person first starts a book or along the border of the digital pages are also in the works. Ads can be targeted based on the book’s content and the demographic and profile information of the reader.
The advertising business has dabbled with books before without much success as authors howled and revenues proved skimpy. It’s not clear that readers and authors would be more accepting now.
But with sales of bound books under pressure, the introduction of sleek e-readers and the emergence in the industry of such big players as Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Google Inc. is fueling new enthusiasm for e-book advertising.
No doubt there’re a lot of readers and authors who will start kicking and screaming once ads start appearing in e-books. My guess is that a lot of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth will go away once readers are offered discounts or other incentives to buy books with ads in them and authors realize they can make some extra cash by allowing them in their books.
As the Borg famously stated, “Resistance is futile.”
I just found out Adam Sandler’s origional Chanukah song was originally performed back in 1994. I knew the first performance was from the 1990′s but for some reason I thought it was from the latter half of the decade. Knowing that the song was performed 16 years ago makes me feel old but not as old as I’ll feel when I’ll hear the song 10 years from now and my kids will ask me who David Lee Roth, Arthur Fonzarelli, O.J. Simpson, and Rod Carew are.
From the emails in my inbox this last week, appears that one of the big holiday stressors for women dating widowers is being involved in holiday traditions that the widower and the late wife shared. It could be small things like where to buy a Christmas tree and what Christmas party to attend to bigger issues like where they spend the holidays or when to open Christmas presents. Of course, the big commonality (and stressor) is that these women share is that the widowers insist that these traditions must be maintained and refuses to compromise or consider doing something different.
Committed relationships bring a lot of adjustments for widowers. Some adjustments are hard to make if they’ve become accustomed to doing things one way or another year after year. I was only married just shy of three years to the late wife but had already become used to the way we did things. I didn’t realize this until my first holiday season with Marathon Girl when she started making suggestions on what she wanted to do during the holidays. It was so unlike how the late wife that most of the holiday season felt different. I don’t mean to imply that the holiday season was worse. It wasn’t. Instead there were a lot of mental and internal changes I had to make in order to enjoy the new season. I share this because a lot of these widowers might be having a hard time doing things differently during the holidays—especially if they’ve spent 20 years or more so doing things a certain way. Change is harder for some than for others.
What concerns me is when the widower refuses to compromise or doesn’t see why he should have to spend the holidays doing something different. For example one woman wrote to me and talked about how the widower wanted to spend Christmas in California because that’s what they, meaning he and the late wife, always did. While she wasn’t opposed to spending the holidays away from home, she suggested that they go somewhere just as sunny and warm as California, he refused and said that it wouldn’t be Christmas unless they spent a week in a certain town.
My first suggestion in these situations is, as always, to talk to the widower and see why he feels strongly about uphlding certain holiday traditions. Hopefully he’ll be willing to at least add some of yours to the list or create one or two new ones that the two of you can call your own. If he refuses to budge, it indicates a larger problem like not being ready to move on or having difficulty adjusting to the new life. Whatever the reason for his refusal to compromise, it doesn’t bode well for your relationship. You may want to consider spending the holidays with friends and family who can make this time of year more enjoyable.
On a side note, I’m more tolerant of keeping traditions when there are minor children at home—especially if their mom is recently deceased—since traditions can give them some sort of normalcy to hold on too without their mom at Christmas time. I’m a lot less open to traditions just for the sake of traditions. Even then, he should be willing to do something that makes you feel like part of the holidays instead of someone who’s intruding on family rituals.
Back in 2008 when I first sent copies of The Third around to some writer friends to review, several of them greeted the concept of forced population control for the sake of the planet with skepticism.
So I’d like to thank Ted Turner, father of five children, for not only doubling down on the plot of The Third but backing up my idea of reselling population credits.
Climate change and population control can make for a politically explosive mix, as media mogul Ted Turner demonstrated Sunday when he urged world leaders to institute a global one-child policy to save the Earth’s environment. …
Mr. Turner – a long-time advocate of population control – said the environmental stress on the Earth requires radical solutions, suggesting countries should follow China’s lead in instituting a one-child policy to reduce global population over time. He added that fertility rights could be sold so that poor people could profit from their decision not to reproduce.