Tag archive for "Marriage"
March 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm, by Cherise Bathersfield
Entertainment journalist Thelma Adams’s novel Playdate, just out in paperback, explores the minefields of modern marriage with humor and sass. But Playdate is no empty romp. In addition to parenting precocious pre-teens, the protagonists—couples Lance and Darlene and Alec and Wren—are dealing with complex issues. Lance, an unemployed weatherman, is married to Darlene, a restaurateur, who maintains an inappropriate flirtation with her restaurant’s financier, Alec, who is married to Wren, a yogi, who is having an affair with Lance. Got that? If that love quadrangle weren’t dizzying enough, a fierce forest fire is menacing their comfortable upper-middle-class California enclave. We asked Adams to talk about the game plan behind Playdate.
You’ve been a film critic and entertainment writer for almost 30 years. How did that experience inform your first novel, which is about marriage and relationships?
I am a married film critic and entertainment writer with relationships. Some of which, I confess, are a little convoluted. This novel began as an idea for a screenplay: What if we melded Warren Beatty’s handsome rootless philanderer in Shampoo with Michael Keaton’s overwhelmed dad in Mr. Mom? It seemed like a funny concept. However, as it turned out, I’m a prose girl. The movie idea morphed into a novel.
With his sensitive nature and commitment to parenting, Lance is the heart and soul of the book. But he’s also having an affair. Was it hard to construct a sympathetic cheater?
Making Lance sympathetic without demonizing his wife Darlene was one of the great challenges of the book. Personally, I am the daughter of a relatively sympathetic cheater. My dad was no saint, but he was no demon either. I was a daddy’s little girl who adored her father, and growing up we had this kind of very easy, affectionate, unconditional love. And then, when I was in my early twenties, I discovered that I’d lived in a house where a pattern of infidelity on my father’s side gutted my mother. Being daddy’s little girl was suddenly a difficult position to have within the family politics. And, on top of that, when I found out about my father, I was still crying over a post-college live-in relationship with a serial cheater with whom I was crazy in love. That’s a long time ago, but fidelity, and understanding how infidelity molds a family, and a relationship, has been central to a lot of my writing. In the end, I came to understand my father, which is not exactly the same as forgiving, through my love for Lance and [his daughter] Belle. Continue Reading
Michelle Williams follows up her brilliant Blue Valentine performance with another emotionally rich, clear-eyed and candid portrait. She plays Margot, a young Toronto wife who’s having trouble sticking with her marriage to Lou (a touching Seth Rogen) — especially after she gets a whiff of the rickshaw driving artist Daniel (Luke Kirby) who lives across the street. Written and directed by Canadian Sarah Polley (Away From Her), this is a sexy, funny-sad women’s movie about fidelity and individual identity and what we often don’t talk about when we talk about marriage. It pulls no punches, yet radiates empathy and humor. Sarah Silverman steps in as Margot’s alcoholic sister-in law who calls the pretty pixie on her shit — basically saying that marriage, or coupling, is not a solution to a personal feeling of emptiness. For me, the hard-won truth echoes a line from my novel, Playdate, when the philandering stay-at-home-dad Lance considers walking out on his wife and life and starting over but realizes that he would probably end up under a different roof with a different woman and maybe even a new cat but essentially recreate the same mess if he doesn’t own up to who he really is in his current marriage.
Polley has created a touching, funny, original film — the inane scene in the water aerobics class is just one in a series of refreshing set pieces. It’s a Toronto International Film Festival find that’s currently on the market — and while this may not be the kind of role that earns Williams another Oscar nomination, she certainly holds the movie together without one sticky false emotion. Men and women are bound to have different reactions to this film — even sisters may disagree — but the discussion it inspires will be revealing about the depth of the film, and the emotional state of the viewers. Definitely, take this waltz.
Thelma: How old were you when you came out of the closet as a writer?
Sarah: I began to write books and send them off to publishers in elementary school. I still have a few of those old books, written on three-ring-binder paper and tied up with red yarn. I think my masterwork is The Lost Gold, which is pretty much a rip-off of the Nancy Drew mysteries. I was in awe of Nancy and her speedy little roadster.
T: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
S: Probably a teacher. I’ve always been drawn to kids, because they say the most outrageous things, and they have a completely fresh way of looking at the world.
T: OK, every one always wants to know: How long did it take to write this novel?
S: Skipping a Beat took about a year, and I popped out a baby (my third son) mid-way through the writing. He slept on my chest while I wrote many a chapter. Continue Reading
An hour later, Lance and Belle worked off their pancakes in Encinitas Park, kicking the soccer ball, trying to maintain the rhythm for as long as they could, back and forth, to the side, to the side, going long. The air quality was crap, and their throats were raw. There was a swath of blue above the ocean, but overhead, smudge- gray smoke clouds filled the sky like dirty insulation. Belle wore her retired Barstow soccer uniform: nylon goldenrod shorts and T-shirt gray from washing. go rattlers! Intent on maintaining the rally, the pair didn’t notice a silver Volvo SUV scraping the curb and disgorging Sam. The wethaired boy flew fl at- out toward them. He entered the game with a smooth steal, amping up the energy level. Lance fell back like a player tagged by his replacement and strolled toward the car. “Need help?” he called, watching Wren struggle with the car seat as she tried to unbuckle the sleeping Max.
“Damn,” Wren whispered. With her back to Lance, she felt for the release lever that was beneath the car seat and between Max’s legs. She crouched awkwardly while she tried to release the unseen mechanism without jarring the toddler, then shecarefully raised the shoulder straps over Max’s sleeping head. She lifted the sleeping baby giant, cradling his head and finding the right spot for it on her shoulder as she backed out of the SUV.
Wren rose and turned, with Max heavy but reassuring against her chest, his eyelashes tickling her neck. She protected him—and he protected her; for Max, she could be stronger than she ever was alone.
“Need help?” Lance whispered.
No, she mouthed. In faded red yoga pants and a turquoise hoodie, her head angled to compensate for Max’s weight, her smile content and mysterious, she was a beach bum Madonna. Continue Reading