Sunday, January 25, 2009

We Are All But Actors on a Stage

When my then-husband called it quits in the summer of 1999, my sister-in-law encouraged me to talk with his first ex-wife. K was curious, my sister-in-law said, to compare notes. So I gave her a call.

We talked for about two hours.

Ten years later, I find that K, a poet (a talented one at that; M picks good wives, as I've told him), has written our conversation into her book of poetry.

It's due to arrive from Amazon tomorrow, but I have been able to find some of it on the Web. The main section of "The Paragon" is a collection of 42 sonnets titled, "His Next Ex-Wife."

It's been 10 years since we split up -- nearly 20 for K -- and I still became faint reading about my life, from someone else's perspective.

I had to order it, in hopes that maybe K's poetry would help me understand my own life.

It is, however, exceedingly strange to read. Take this excerpt from a review, for example:

And what setting could be better than the California of legends with its new-world wines, self-consciously healthful cuisine, superimposed track of Sex,
Lies & Videotape and cameo appearances by Barbie, Mr. Spock and The Frugal Gourmet? ... But just when the biting recreations of "made-for-TV-drama" resemble Hollywood scripts too perfectly, a complex picture underimposes itself beneath the film. This undercurrent cannot be paraphrased and its grief is real.

That would be my grief. Her grief. Ours?

Funny thing is, I fictionalized K as well, in a short story I had published in my graduate literary magazine. Escher is working overtime here.

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