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popmuze
08-03-2010, 08:07 PM
I recently discovered what became of a girl I knew when I was ten (a long long time ago). We had (in my mind anyway) a kind of sad unspoken romance that ended badly due to something I said and did that I have regretted ever since.

(She's now doing very well, thank you).

So, for personal clarity and closure (and maybe a chapter in a book or maybe an entire book) I have had the urge to contact this person to A) see if they remember sharing those unspoken romantic feelings; B) see if they remember me at all; C) see if they remember the incident; D) see if they've forgiven me; E) see if there was really anything to forgive; F) catch up on old times; G) trade current pictures; H) plan a double date with our spouses to talk about being ten years old?

But then the question occurred me: why am I doing this? A) to apologize; B) to torture myself; C) to torture her; D) to show her how much I've changed; E) to inadvertently show her I haven't changed at all; F) to rub her face in my success (though it's nowhere near as great as hers); G) to ruin the rest of her life as I imagine I ruined the first part? H) because an author does what he must to gain insight into his characters and material for his books, no matter who it might hurt?

What I want to know is: A) should I go for it? B) should I just let it go?; C) Should I just make up both parts of the inciting incident; it's fiction isn't it? And fiction is always better than the real thing and D) besides, she probably cut her long black hair and put on sixty pounds.

Lavern08
08-03-2010, 08:35 PM
Since you both have spouses,

I vote for B) Let it go ;)

popmuze
08-03-2010, 08:47 PM
Hmmm, that's pretty conventional, especially for the author of Old Friends.

Shadow_Ferret
08-03-2010, 08:50 PM
I had a similar thing. I called her home, learned from her mom she was married, and I let it go after writing a very personal poem about her called, "Do you ever think of me?"

I've since destroyed the poem, too.

I have my memories and thoughts of what could have been, and that's good enough for me.

Amadan
08-03-2010, 08:53 PM
Let it go. It won't end well, and you know your motives are questionable at best.

Said The Sun
08-03-2010, 08:58 PM
Not for nothing but this is quite interesting... It just BEGS to know what you did to her. :D
But yeah, I'd say call her up. You never know, she might not even remember what happened and you guys can catch up on old times. Or maybe she does remember and you calling her could give her some sort of closure and release. It doesn't necessarily mean you need to cheat on your better halves. Being social isn't condemnable; your intentions are purely yours.
You'll just never know if you don't try.

Chris P
08-03-2010, 09:02 PM
I've been on both sides of this. I made accidental contact with an old GF (literally a chance meeting on a street corner), and email correspondence re-ignited feelings on her part and not mine, and turned into a big "shouldn'ta done that" moment. But on the other hand, I tracked down an old high school crush, and five minutes on the phone allowed me to hang up and move on. She's still hot, but now I don't have any "I wonder if..." moments.

I'd err on the side of dealing with it yourself and moving on. Too many have gone the other way and paid for it, especially if others (spouses) can be hurt. And doing this for the sake of a story is (sorry) downright shitty of you.

Lavern08
08-03-2010, 09:04 PM
Hmmm, that's pretty conventional, especially for the author of Old Friends.

True dat, but my Old Friends are female and single. :tongue

popmuze
08-03-2010, 09:06 PM
As an aside, some of my other adventures on People Search have ended badly. There was a suicide I'd never been aware of. Someone else was also dead and I had to beg forgiveness to the husband's second wife for bringing back such painful memories.
On the other hand, this one's still alive and living in a million dollar home.

popmuze
08-03-2010, 09:09 PM
It's amazing how things from years and years (and years and years) ago can haunt you. Not the imaginary romance part, just the stupidity part and the not being able to make amends part.

popmuze
08-03-2010, 09:13 PM
And doing this for the sake of a story is (sorry) downright shitty of you.


But I might have another The Great Gatsby here.

Lavern08
08-03-2010, 09:13 PM
It's also amazing how things from years and years (and years and years) ago can hurt you too.

Said The Sun
08-03-2010, 09:34 PM
Okay I guess I'm the little red devil on the shoulder here...

If you can pull off a green light on the porch across the harbor, more power to you.

leahzero
08-03-2010, 09:40 PM
At the risk of being "conventional," your OP implies that you're married. This would be a betrayal of your spouse. Don't.

(Unless you tell her first and secure her blessing.)

Too much talk of "torture," guilt, and success in your posts. Whatever happened, it sounds like your problem. If you want to have a dialogue with her, you need to do it with better intentions than this.

Button
08-03-2010, 09:54 PM
You want to go behind your spouse's back to talk to a girl you used to have feelings for when you were 10 and you're asking for opinions about whether you should go talk to her?

I'm more concerned about the spouse you can't have a conversation about the guilt you feel for something you did a long time ago.

It sounds like you're harboring feelings and hope on some weird dreams. Get over it. It'll never turn out like you imagine. If you love your spouse, you'd talk to your spouse about it.

Chris P
08-03-2010, 09:58 PM
But I might have another The Great Gatsby here.

Perhaps you do. I'm not objecting to using personal experiences to enrich your writing; shoot, we all to that. What I'm objecting to is stirring stuff up just for the benefit of having a story to tell. My divorce was something that happened that now allows me write about divorce more convincingly. My first reaction to the divorce wasn't "Great! I can put this in a book! Now let's fight over the money so I can write about that too." Now that I'm moving on, it would be completely wrong of me to play with these new women, although a character in a book I might write would.

"Doing what it takes to be a writer" means buying a couple cheap remote control airplanes to learn about the hobby, or spending a weekend in Nashville to get the lay of the land, etc. Intentionally causing drama for another person is across the line, IMO. It's selfish. I'm not totally convinced you're being serious with this thread, by the way.

stormie
08-03-2010, 10:00 PM
You're looking at things through rose-colored glasses. Keep it that way and let it go.

popmuze
08-03-2010, 11:25 PM
I'm not totally convinced you're being serious with this thread, by the way.

You may be familiar with some of my previous work: see "Selling Books to Relatives" and "Critique my first sentence."

At first I wasn't sure myself, how serious I was. That was when I was all set to contact this person. That's when it hit me how sick this obsession was and how much potential evil it could wreak. And that's when I figured there might be a scene or a story or a book in it.

In that case, I guess there's no reason pursuing the reality of it, when the fictionality of it would be much more interesting. (Including the fiction that this person would someday read it).

But, all kidding aside, it never fails to impress me how insightful the folks here are.

Lyra Jean
08-03-2010, 11:33 PM
I learned if you really want to make amends only do so if it doesn't hurt yourself or others. Otherwise let it go.

Devil Ledbetter
08-04-2010, 12:30 AM
So, for personal clarity and closure (and maybe a chapter in a book or maybe an entire book) I have had the urge to contact this person to A) see if they remember sharing those unspoken romantic feelings; B) see if they remember me at all; C) see if they remember the incident; D) see if they've forgiven me; E) see if there was really anything to forgive; F) catch up on old times; G) trade current pictures; H) plan a reunion at an unspecified location unbeknownst to either of our spouses?

Just rent High Fidelity (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0146882/) and let it go. Trust me, she married Kevin Bannister. It was never about you.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
08-04-2010, 12:33 AM
I'm old and I've learned many things the hard way. One of the most important is: Sometimes it's good not to get what you only think you want.

popmuze
08-04-2010, 12:37 AM
Just rent High Fidelity (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0146882/) and let it go. Trust me, she married Kevin Bannister. It was never about you.


Ah yes, the movie of my life. Or any other movie with John Cusack in it, except for Serendipity. And by the way, the girls he winds up with are never right for him. An older Zoey Deschanel, maybe?

But I digress. As far as the wife goes, I've written this scene several times before; she's not threatened by a ten year old. And it's not the present I'm trying to fix; it's the past. (Maybe that's why my latest novel involves time travel).

Anyway, assuming this happened when I was 10, what would be a good age for the main character attempting this doomed rendezvous:
A) 16
B) 30
C) 40
D) 55
E) 65
F) 78

Seriously.

popmuze
08-04-2010, 12:43 AM
If you can pull off a green light on the porch across the harbor, more power to you.


The green light across the harbor is what keeps me going. It's my Rosebud.

Button
08-04-2010, 12:43 AM
I'm confused. Are you trying to work out a fictional story based on you and your past? And you were considering calling up this girl for real or were you just trying to work out the story in your head.

What 10 year old falls in love? 16 is more realistic for love drama.

Chris P
08-04-2010, 12:47 AM
Anyway, assuming this happened when I was 10, what would be a good age for the main character attempting this doomed rendezvous:
A) 16
B) 30
C) 40
D) 55
E) 65
F) 78

Seriously.

It will depend on what exactly you want the character to be experiencing; i.e., what triggered the sudden desire to connect with the past. If he's been diagnosed with cancer and has six months left, then D or E are probably more realistic. If he's recently divorced/widowed, then B or C. A (16) seems a little young, and an MC of that age would be more fitting an MG novel (but can be an adult novel).

Lyra Jean
08-04-2010, 12:54 AM
I'm confused now. :Wha:

popmuze
08-04-2010, 01:36 AM
What 10 year old falls in love?

Indeed!
Although I can't say it was really love. But it was something. And it hurt when it ended.

popmuze
08-04-2010, 01:42 AM
What triggered the sudden desire to connect with the past.


I think it was the birth of the Internet. Or maybe another birthday. Or maybe the time travel aspect of the novel I'm working on. Or maybe that this person eluded all the usual social networking sites.

Then again, there have been several other women I did wrong long ago who I've been unsuccessfully looking for. So I'm really wondering what kind of a passage I'm going through.

If it was a YA story, the character could legitimately be 16, right?

popmuze
08-04-2010, 01:42 AM
I'm confused now. :Wha:


Don't be confused. Although she does live near you.

popmuze
08-04-2010, 01:43 AM
On another level, I wonder if I'm attempting a literary Andy Kaufman stunt?

backslashbaby
08-04-2010, 02:00 AM
My love-of-my-life at 10 and I were reunited for the first time (I'd moved away) at 19. New Year's Eve. At a huge party in many hotel rooms. He came over, talked about old times. Told me how powerful it all was for him then. Soon I passed out, went into a coma the next morning, and nearly died.

True story, actually :D

Now that's drama, silly ;)

Said The Sun
08-04-2010, 02:22 AM
My love-of-my-life at 10 and I were reunited for the first time (I'd moved away) at 19. New Year's Eve. At a huge party in many hotel rooms. He came over, talked about old times. Told me how powerful it all was for him then. Soon I passed out, went into a coma the next morning, and nearly died.
Talk about red soaring flags :D





And I think 30 is a bit more awesome than 16.

popmuze
08-04-2010, 02:43 AM
True story, actually :D


Have you written it yet? If not, I may have to rent some of it.

popmuze
08-04-2010, 02:44 AM
By the way, Sun, I love the Nabokov quote.

backslashbaby
08-04-2010, 02:45 AM
Have you written it yet? If not, I may have to rent some of it.

Oh, no. Be my guest! The coma part got interesting, but the dude was just coincidence :D

Devil Ledbetter
08-04-2010, 03:24 AM
Ah yes, the movie of my life. Or any other movie with John Cusack in it, except for Serendipity. And by the way, the girls he winds up with are never right for him. An older Zoey Deschanel, maybe?
When I read your first para there I was convinced you were my IRL friend J.G. But you say you're married. He's never been married. His Facebook statuses can be utterly cringeworthy: a 46 year old guy gushing about Zooey Deschanel and Joanna Newsome, and complaining about how long it's been since he's had a hug (big mystery, eh?).

He is my friend though so apparently I have a high tolerance for this sort of thing.


Anyway, assuming this happened when I was 10, what would be a good age for the main character attempting this doomed rendezvous:
A) 16
B) 30
C) 40
D) 55
E) 65
F) 78

Seriously.Either 40 or 55. Old enough to have become seriously disillusioned with the life he's built for himself, but also old enough to be pathetically delusional and indulging in treacly fantasies about things that might have been.

And I'm referring only to your fictional character here.

Button
08-04-2010, 04:36 AM
Then again, there have been several other women I did wrong long ago who I've been unsuccessfully looking for. So I'm really wondering what kind of a passage I'm going through.



You know... you're kind of creepy, in a stalker sort of way.

Seriously, you need to get over whoever you think you wronged. Try doing something right. Give to charity or something. If you focused on being a better person more than trying to find people you 'wronged' then it'll all balance out.

Working on your book is a good thing. Stick with that.

Sassy3421
08-04-2010, 04:58 AM
I'm just not really sure what you're looking to accomplish here. And as others have commented on, you're both married, my vote is to let it go. Is it worth ruining a relationship (by planning a reunion at an unspecified location unbeknownst to either of our spouses)? Truly ask yourself that. And if you're willing to risk your wife finding out and don't care who gets hurt in the process, at least do the decent thing - let your wife know what you're doing upfront. Otherwise it seems childish to me. There's my blunt reaction.

And if it's to get "that great story", as a fictional writer, you should be able to conjure it from your own imagination without hurting anyone...

vishvakarman
08-04-2010, 05:04 AM
Okay I guess I'm the little red devil on the shoulder here...

If you can pull off a green light on the porch across the harbor, more power to you.


This actually happened to me, and girls were involved even. A green light blink blinked at me from across a small lake and I blink blinked back and wondered if all I am and will be is just a halfass version of Gatsby made real. Maybe I shoulda reached out for her like he did. Maybe it was all just an interesting coincidence.

But it happened.

popmuze
08-04-2010, 05:26 AM
Working on your book is a good thing. Stick with that.


But what if my book is about a creepy stalker? I guess I'll have to work on giving him some redeeming qualities.

popmuze
08-04-2010, 05:28 AM
I'm referring only to your fictional character here.

I, too, get myself confused with myself.

Said The Sun
08-05-2010, 12:32 AM
By the way, Sun, I love the Nabokov quote.
Quite suitable to this thread too. ;)



Maybe I shoulda reached out for her like he did. Maybe it was all just an interesting coincidence.

Or maybe you'd just end up face-down in a pool. So cheers to driving away.

popmuze
08-05-2010, 03:15 AM
I think I see the problem here. Let me just revise the o/p and delete "get together at an undisclosed location unbeknownst to our spouses" and replace it with "go on a double date with our spouses and talk about what it was like to be ten. Or golf."
Now, whaddya say?

popmuze
08-05-2010, 08:14 PM
By the way, I edited the o/p.