Destiny by Sally Beauman : A New Archive

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Since the book Destiny by Sally Beauman is becoming quite a large category on this blog, I’m going to collect all the links to posts about the book here. I will update this post on an as-needed basis.

Destiny By Sally Beauman

The Kindest Stranger

Bookstack

Books Update

The Origins of Destiny: Early Sally Beauman

Destiny In The Wildest Places

Loving Destiny

Sally Beauman to Publish New Book

Two More Sally Beauman Books

Broken Destiny

Books Update 2

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Destiny In The Wildest Places

Paul and I were poking around a tiny hamlet called Hinton Ampner. We saw an ancient Saxon church and in front was a small box of old books for 50p a piece. I made a mental note to check them on the way out. We walked inside, looked at the sad relics and plaques, and then made our way out again.

I paused at the box of books and my eyes went directly to a most amazing sight: Destiny by Sally Beauman! Furthermore it was an edition I had never even seen before. I was stunned. I left with it in my purse feeling like there really is a small transparent thread of destiny in the world and sometimes you run across it like a spider web across your face.

I love this book so much. I will buy any edition of this book in any condition, and so far, I’ve been very lucky. I’ve found it twice in two months, and both books are in good condition. Happy happy joy joy.

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Destiny

Destiny

Q & A With Wendy Plump, Author of “Vow”

Wendy Plump

Author Wendy Plump

In May 2013, I wrote a review of the book Vow: A Memoir of Marriage (and Other Affairs) by Wendy Plump. I had some problems with the book – mainly untangling my own complex feelings about separating adultery from the adulterer. One thing I was not confused about, however, was that Wendy Plump was an amazing prose writer. It sparkles. I loved it.

Wendy found my review and we began a dialogue about the book, and she was gracious enough to agree to a Q & A.

How did you decide to write Vow?

Initially, it was about trying to make a living. My marriage was splitting up, my husband was refusing child support, I needed to pay the bills and raise my sons. So while I was figuring out what to do in my real life, I decided to just do what I knew best, which is writing. I wrote a column for The New York Times, and the book was born from that. That’s the boring, easy answer. The other answer has to do with the morning I was sitting in a cafe with a broken-down friend, who had just discovered his wife’s infidelity. He looked so much like me, sounded like me, made no sense like me … the point being that I realized how similarly so many of us react to the trauma of finding out. And I knew I had something to say about that. Thus, “Vow.”

Is there anything positive to be learned from adultery in the general sense, and then personally for you?

It depends on how it falls out. If you have an affair and then can nevertheless rescue your marriage or your relationship — having learned how precious it is to be able to love one person — then I suppose there is value in adultery. Many people find a new way into their marriage after an affair. And of course, there is the knowledge that you can get over something so traumatic. I suppose those are all positives. For me and what I have learned? Well, only the perspective that my whole life is still beautiful, regardless of what I have done to it. My affairs were generally 20 years ago at this point. So I can look at them with that detachment and say, That’s what I did and I have to regard it as part of the whole picture, without shame or regret.

Did the reaction of your book take you by surprise? Did you anticipate that there would be some negative reaction to you – in addition to just the book – as a result of writing Vow?

No, I wasn’t surprised. I knew it would have a kind of love-it-or-hate-it impact. I was prepared for the judgment, which doesn’t in any way remove my disappointment in it. I wish people could be a little less tyrannical when it comes to other people’s lives. Everyone has a threshold, some line they have crossed. We’re flawed. An understanding of that seems to me to be the best way to approach all of our lives.

What has been the reaction of the men you were involved with? Are you in contact with any of them? Would you say any of them are friends?

I actually called “Terry,” the hunter, because I was having trouble remembering some of the episodes in our brief affair. We had a really great conversation remembering our shared history, and then he called me back three or four times over the next few days to say, “Remember this? And remember when that happened? And do you remember the time ….” It was really pretty cute. Of the four of them, two remain friends.

Your openness and honesty is astonishing. I don’t think I’ve ever read a memoir that had so little defensiveness. Have you always been so open or has the subject matter forced you into a kind of radical honesty?

Frankly I have always been this way. If it’s verboten, then I’m talking about it. I could not disagree more with the adage, “There are three things you should never talk about: Sex, religion, and politics.” In my world, those are the most interesting things to talk about. It’s the stuff people do not want to discuss that I find fascinating. I want to jump right in. And also, I figured there was no way I could write “Vow” in as fair a light as possible unless I was willing to put myself out there. I didn’t want it to be a screed against Bill; I wanted it to be a genuine and revealing look at the subject.

One thing that wasn’t covered in the book was how your husband handled your adultery. You said he got very quiet and didn’t want to discuss it. But was there ever any discussion of it? Did he ever hold it against you? Were you able to move on in your relationship after the affairs?

There was never any discussion. There is still no discussion. I do not think I will ever have any answers from him.

One of the most poignant moments for me was after an affair you asked Bill, “Am I still your wife?” and he answered, “Always.” I would have liked to see more of that kind of thing in the book. The healing process and reconciliation was kind of glossed over, so I wonder was there a healing process at all? Did Bill just accept the adultery and march on as if nothing had happened? And if so, why didn’t you talk more about that in the book?

I remember that moment so clearly. And it makes me sad too. There were a couple things that were particularly difficult to write, and that was one of them. The other, of course, was the part when I had to tell my sons that we needed to sell the house. It still wrecks me, just thinking about that. Healing process? I think Bill just went to ground. I don’t think he ever wanted to seek answers, or to provide them.

After you discovered your husband had an affair and a baby with another woman, you assumed that he had ended that relationship. Was that blind hope? Was that a kind of desperate desire for normalcy? Did you even want him at that point? Or did you just want your normal life?

Blind hope? Yes. Desperate? Yes. A desire for normalcy? Yes. Of course. You want all of those things when you are hit with a disaster like infidelity. You want to erase even your knowledge of it so that you can resume your “normal” life as quickly as possible, and not have to feel the agony of it. But I also couldn’t see my future without Bill, and that fed into my attempt to save the marriage. I just simply could not envision a life without him.

What is your relationship like with Bill now? Is he still with Susan?

Yes, he is still with Susan.

I get the feeling from the book that you’re completely done with adultery. Do you think you are? How would you handle unexpected overwhelming desire in the context of your current relationship? And would you tolerate it from your partner?

I am so done with it. How would I handle it? I don’t suspect I would feel an overwhelming desire for someone else at this point. I know where that all leads, and I don’t want to go there again in my life. Would I tolerate it? No. Zero tolerance. I couldn’t bear it either way. And Zane feels the same.

What are you working on now?

I’m still figuring that out Cara. The paperback of “Vow” comes out in February 2014, so I’ll have some more work to do for that book then. But the summer, for me, is developing the couple of ideas I have for the next book and just seeing which one has the most kick.

I hope this helps both you and your readers. Thank you for the questions and the chance to talk about them with you. I wish you all the best in your own work Cara.

Thank you Wendy!

Her book can be bought at retailers everywhere.
Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Never One Thing

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Since I was six, I wanted to be a writer. Most people who say this – or something like it, just insert your choice of profession for “writer” – say it with a kind of smacking smugness: Oh yes, I was wise at the age of six, wise enough to choose a profession. It imbues the speaker with a kind of foresight, even mysticism. Who, at six, or twelve, or even eighteen, has the kind of deep self-knowledge to select a career for herself? Or, at that age, has anything to write about?

There is a reason we don’t allow six year olds to vote or entrust them with Ferraris.

I love writing and will always write. It is fundamentally who I am. And yet, by selecting that career so early and with such certainty, I no doubt foreclosed on other opportunities. It is, for instance, too late for medical school.

You might have seen my earlier post about Joyful Girl Fitness. Joyful Girl Fitness is my new venture into fitness blogging, and it is also the name of my new fitness company. In addition to that, I’m still elbow deep with my marketing & pr company, Bene Media. Plus I have a few other things going on that don’t quite fit into any of these slots.

I want to do many things with my life. I want to be many things. As a professional marketer, I’m quite aware that this harms my branding of my current ventures – marketing company, fitness company and author (and Enron blogger). I can’t say that I am utterly indifferent to that criticism. I cringe knowing that I could so easily be misunderstood. It might be easy, for instance, to assume that I am not serious about any of my ventures since my love is spread among them. That’s incorrect. I’ve been writing for years, and have had my marketing company for years. I’ve only just now begun to talk about all these things though. With my revelation, there is the possibility that a potential client may not like my political opinions expressed here or that I use the word “fuck” and decide they don’t want to hire me to do marketing work. Or a former Enron employee might decide they don’t want to buy my book.

I accept these consequences. It is too difficult compartmentalizing all these various aspects of my online life, and there is no real reason for it. If you want to know me, this consolidation of everything should delight. If it doesn’t, that’s disappointing, but I won’t be deterred.

I want to write books and blogs and do cool marketing projects and help others achieve fitness. I demand a lot from the world, and instead of just pretending these demands don’t exist, I’m embracing that hungry aspect of my personality. We are never just one thing; there is room to explore it all. Life is too short to be anything other than who you authentically are.

Weather Review: Partly Cloudy

Current temp: 58 degrees and partly cloudy.

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I’ve basically turned into an English person and quail when the temperature threatens to touch 70 degrees. Today is a good example of my preferred mode of atmospheric circumstance. Cloudcover, with occasional breaks, and nice cool air. Little humidity, not enough to frizz my hair or make me sulk. Yet there is something that hints of rain looming in the distance. If I were to venture outside, I’d wear jeans, a short sleeve shirt and a cardigan over it. Maybe a scarf.

Today’s weather gets a B-. I took off points for the lack of sun and the general feeling of impending rain.

Administravia

Just a note of administravia: ellisonblog.wordpress.com is now caraellison.com. If you use ellisonblog.wordpress.com, no prob! It will redirect to caraellison.com.

Carry on!

Leah & Omar’s Story

If you’d like to be notified when Omar & Leah’s story is published later this autumn, please sign up here.

Thank you for your interest and support! It means so much to me that you care about these characters are much as I do!

At Any Cost Is A Bestseller!

At Any Cost is number 5 in romance, and number 8 overall on the B&N Bestseller list. I’m sort of stunned my book is doing so well. I mean, I know it is a good book. I knew it when I was writing it. People have told me that they’ve enjoyed it, and many have written great reviews for it. And yet it still feels a little surreal to be on the bestseller list with people like Cynthia Eden, whose books I admire a great deal, and Sylvia Day, whose books are just crazy-famous right now.

As my friends know, the writing of that book has a long and storied history. Now, reading it, I feel a kind of weird nostalgia: I remember that place or I remember what inspired that line or that scene. I could never write that book in any other time in my life. It remains a kind of postcard from a very specific era.

Forgive me if I go on about it. But it’s a very special moment for me. I am so thankful that so many people are enjoying the book. I hope if you’ve read it and you want to tell me your impressions you will.

Meanwhile, I took a screenshot of my book right beside Cynthia Eden’s. What an awesome day!

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At Any Cost Is A Bestseller Again

After a few weeks of falling off the bestseller charts, At Any Cost is currently number 33 on B&N! Check it out!
Additionally, yesterday I had a funny notification from Amazon. I received a newsletter enticing me to buy At Any Cost!

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Ah I’ve already got every version known to mankind, but I hope others find some use in the Amazon mailings!

Hugh Laurie In Concert: A Scrumptious Dream

I discovered Hugh Laurie through my husband, who is English. The Limey grew up watching A Bit of Fry & Laurie and Black Adder. Hugh Laurie was constantly on tv, and I believe my husband took this for granted. Contrarywise, even when Hugh Laurie became huge in the US and was on House, I never watched while it was on. It was *too* popular. When something gets that big I feel an overwhelming pressure about it – I didn’t want to watch House with the rest of America. If I was going to fall in love with a tv show – and looking back that was pretty much written in the stars – I wanted it to be on my own timetable.

When we met, the Limey introduced me to the wonder that was Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. Lawd have mercy, they were brilliant together. Hugh Laurie always looks annoyed and upset while Fry has a very open visage. They’re the perfect double act, playing off each other. I just devoured every Black Adder and Fry & Laurie produced and still wanted more.

I began to consume House like it was water and I was a man who had just had a Guatemalan insanity pepper. I would watch an episode as I did an hour on the elliptical. The show made the time go by quicker. It was brilliant; he was brilliant. Stephen Fry actually had a funny quip about his former co-star in the role of House: “Hugh makes you think he’s as smart as the character.”

Last August I saw him in concert at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA. It was a tiny venue, and I was about 5 feet away from him. He is astonishingly beautiful up close. I kept imagining how he’d smell and it would send me into a state of blissful catatonia. I just wanted to sit there all night and dream about that sexy, handsome man. He was funny on stage, and his music was flat-out amazing.

Then last night happened.

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Holy merlot. As he pointed out when he took the stage, Oxford is his hometown,and he really put on a show for the home team. He was hilarious, such as when he said, “I was born just a … well a placenta’s throw from here… at Radcliffe Infirmary… Wow. Placenta. That’s an odd place to start the evening.” Yup. But somehow, it worked. One thing I truly admired about his performance was his ability to be funny on the fly – it was a weird and delightful mix of humour and truly soulful music. He was loose and funny and open, with tons of praise for his band. His admiration for them was obvious; it is rather amusing to see a big Hollywood actor openly admire other artists, but he was bare in his emotion for them. He danced – often in a ridiculous white guy dance – and he was sexy as hell when he sang a duet with Gaby Moreno. His voice is excellent: it is a voice you trust. Yes, he’s English and speaks with an Eton accent. But he can also sing like he’s fresh from the Louisiana bayous, circa 1928 too, such as when he gave a heart-quaking performance of “Careless Love”. You could feel the wistfulness down to your toes. Then he’d jump up and make you laugh at his comedian’s patter.

That is his talent: his ability to fully become whoever he wants. He was Dr. House. And at the same time, he is a very credible jazz singer. Like his friend Stephen Fry, he is a polymath. He seems to embrace the duel acting/singing roles – though last night he said, “I used to be an actor” which made me think perhaps he isn’t anymore.

That’s a loss. But I am like an Italian wife who keeps making spaghetti as long as Tony keeps showing up for dinner. As long as he’s doing something, I will be watching, and listening, and fantasizing.

My images of the evening are poor, but I share my meagre gifts with you:

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