Contest — “A Healthy Divorce”

To celebrate the release of Susan Surman’s new book, Dancing at all the Weddings, she is hosting a writing contest, “A Healthy Divorce.” Please write a short story or a real life anecdote (no more than 500 words) about a healthy divorce — to help you think of a subject, here are the stages of a healthy divorce: Denial, depression, anger, acceptance, reorientation of lifestyle. Or you can read Susan’s book to see how her character, Elaine, goes through her divorce.

Post your story here on the blog or send it to: The winner, chosen by Susan Surman, will win a signed copy of Dancing at all the Weddings. Deadline for entries is September 15, 2011.The contest is open to anyone, but if the winner resides outside the United States, the prize will be a coupon for a free ebook download in the format of your choice. So . . . get ready, set, write!


Dancing at all the Weddings: Vivacious and talented Elaine Richman is faced with choices: A risky life in the New York theatre; an exciting life with college sweetheart, actor/director Jake Applebaum in Hollywood; a secure life in Boston with predictable lawyer David Alter, the match anointed by her domineering mother because ‘he’s the kind you marry.’ On the way to a dream, it is possible to collide with another dream’s seduction, only to learn there is no fulfillment on the path to safety. Elaine goes through the wringer to meet herself, proving there is no expiration date on talent or true love.


Click here to read the first chapter of: Dancing at all the Weddings


Boston-born Susan Surman, author of Dancing at all the Weddings, lived abroad for over twenty-three years in London and Sydney as an actress and playwright (Gracie Luck/Susan Kramer), performing in London’s West End, Edinburgh, Sydney Theatre Company, Ensemble Theatre before returning to the States. Surman has also written Max and Friends; Sacha: The Dog Who Made It to the Palace; The Australian Featherweight; The Noble Thing. Plays include: In Between; George; The Australian Featherweight.


Filed under books, fiction, fun, writing

2 responses to “Contest — “A Healthy Divorce”

  1. Seasons–am I really the first leaving a story?–257 words

    In September she cleaned. She polished the furniture till it shone—till she couldn’t see his reflection anymore. She hoovered carpets till every scrap of memory was bagged and disposed of. She washed his finger-prints from pots, slung clothes that were all her own in the washing machine… She remembered they’d said “You’ll know the baby’s coming when you want to clean the fridge,” but, of course, there was no baby; not anymore.

    In October she shopped. “Retail therapy” her friends called it. Running out of money and needing to get a second job more like—in a store perhaps? She bought shoes to replace the ones he wasn’t leaving all over the floor.

    In November she wanted to throw out their wedding album, but pictures of her siblings reminded her of childhood and caught her eye. Everyone looked so happy. Besides, it was Thanksgiving, so she waited till December and decided, after all, he’d been a part of her life and wasn’t now, but so was childhood.

    In January she decided it was time to start anew, so, when she got the invitation to his wedding, she thought “No way” (September), “He can’t” (October), “I’ll kill him” (November), “I always knew” (December), and finally, “Yes, of course I’ll be there.” She’ll be there, drawing a line under the past, grown-up and ready to move on.

    And the baby? She’s framed their picture and hung it on the wall. Three days, the infant lived, but he too was part of her life, just for a little while.

  2. Courting Disaster
    So let me try to break this down as succinctly as possible. We dated for 8 years. We got married and had two children. He had two more. We divorced. In the midst of the unraveling, I discovered and uncovered some things about me and God and the world.

    I got the kids, he got the car (since it wasn’t paid off yet); I got the paltry child support, and then he got saved. Three weeks after the divorce was final, he got married. Meanwhile, I got a new place, got the kids settled into a new school, and began tending to healing.

    That is just background filler so you can catch up to now. Here is something you will find about me – I am quick to forgive others, but have the hardest time forgiving myself. I think it has something to do with my religious upbringing: catholic, Methodist, and apostolic. Mix that up and what do you get? Basically, there is a method to my guilt – I think I will have a drink and repent. Oh Jesus, I am convicted because of the drink. Now I will repent and we can all shout about it. Yes, some of that.

    In any event, (which is one of my favorite colloquialisms) I forgave my ex husband. It took some time and some healing within me, but I didn’t want to carry that heavy weight around, and I still had two children to raise. Who wants a parent walking around in unforgiveness? Our oldest son is raised already, and he definitely needs the example of forgiveness before him. He struggles still today with anger and unforgiveness toward his father. Did I mention that I got all 3 kids in the divorce? I love my kids and am like a mother eagle protecting them.

    Here is where it gets real. We are everyday walking out this divorced family unit. There is a myth that suggests a family is dissolved by divorce. That, I tell you, is a lie from the pit of hell. The family does not dissolve as much as it disintegrates and reforms as a new entity. When there are children involved, whether or not the adults are ambivalent, a new kind of family emerges from the ashes. The health of that entity is predicated by the determination and health of the parents.

    Imagine me, coming from a family that, for the most part, does not divorce – trying to figure out how to live now. Not like the blues song drama of my man is gone, but like the real life reality flick – We Have Got To Keep Living Here, What Now?

    Add to this mix that my health took a turn for the mysterious and my sisters husband was murdered by his employee, and you will agree that this was one tough journey. How do we walk it out? I clung to God like lungs to oxygen. I never turned my head for fear I would lose focus and drown. I got my kids into counseling immediately, and because I am a reader, found good books on the topics they were experiencing. I talked about it with people I trusted (even if sometimes that was me talking to me. Buffi to Ricki – that is a later post).

    My sister, who lost her husband, found Griefshare. grief recovery group where the first rope was thrown out to help me out of the abyss in which I had become paralyzed. Amazingly enough, this journey taught me that grief suppressed can control your life without your knowledge. That is why I intend to shout! Some stuff, you just have to let out. In the middle of grieving what I call ‘the great man drain’, I grieved my marriage.

    I am a healthier me today, well on my way in this journey of being black, divorced and virtuous. Walk it out with me.

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