On Sunday, I got to meet the wonderful Wendy Merrill, author of Falling Into Manholes: The Memoir of a Bad/Good Girl. I'll have more here from her soon, cause she has lots of fascinating things to say, but for now, here's a little snippet of her reading, which I grabbed a quote from for my subject line. And if you judge a book by its blurbs (which, yes, I tend to do - I stumbled across a $5 copy of her book at Artists and Fleas, where we met up yesterday, and those helped me know I need to read it) you could do a lot worse than the likes of Anne Lamott, Hollis Gillespie, and Kim Addonizio, among others.
You can read a sample chapter from her book too:
Brad was like an abbreviated version of my love affair with drinking. At first it was fun, then it was fun with problems, and finally just problems. I stopped drinking years ago, but I still fall into the occasional manhole. At least I usually don’t set up house and furnish them anymore. I was never a serial dater, but I was a serial mater, so after hooking up with the wrong person, I would either marry them or spend years trying to make it work. Now I can usually fall into and climb out of a manhole in about six weeks, tops, Once in a while, I can even walk around one. I call this expiration dating—relationships that last about as long as a carton of refrigerated soymilk.
My married-with-children, mental-health-professional sister Robin describes my dating history as “Wendy’s catch-and-release program,” a term used in sport fishing where the sole objective is to catch the fish, and then return it to the water, relatively unharmed. I used to think this was funny, until I realized that I was guilty of the very thing that I accuse men of doing. The possibility of a man is more interesting to me than the man himself. If I settle on someone, then the possibility is lost. When I drank, I chose men that drank more than I did so that they could be identified as the ones in need of help and I didn’t have to look at my own behavior. This “thinking” has clearly followed me into sobriety. So who’s really on the hook here? What is it that I am really fishing for?