My next guest is Lois Tarter. Before we start on her story though I want to share with you her book, The Divorce Ritual: Get Up, Get Out And Get On With Your Life (Canal Publishing House). Lois sent me a copy of her book before our interview so unlike many of the people I’ve interviewed I actually knew something about her. Lois has cleverly compiled a list of 85 divorce rituals to guide you through the end of your marriage.
I have to admit that before reading Lois’s book I had only considered a divorce party or a closure ceremony as a divorce ritual but Lois suggests that even activities like redecorating your home, cleaning out your closet or your Facebook friends are rituals and since they are all associated with ending your marriage, and something that many of us perform, I’d have to agree. Making each of these tasks a more conscious, intentional rite seems to remove some of the associated emotional pain and who said that rituals have to be solemn and serious?
As part of my interview with Lois I asked her to tell me about the book. Here’s Lois:
I’d wanted to write that book for a long time. This specific book. I always thought it would be really cool to write a book. I grew up in L.A. You either want to be a writer, actor or whatever. That’s just part of the L.A. culture. That’s probably not true, but there are certainly a lot of people there that want that in their life.
The reason that I wanted to write this particular book was because when I was going through the whole divorce process, I found it very difficult. I couldn’t find anything that was light. All of the books that I found were just so heavy tomb-like. It was like I was going back to university. And I needed something to make me laugh, because it’s not a happy time no matter how good, bad or indifferent the process is and no matter how much you want it or you don’t want it. I can’t imagine that going through the process is a pleasant process for anybody.
I just needed things to make me laugh and I couldn’t find anything. I had friends. We’d go out and we’d go to the movies and try to laugh as much as possible, but I just needed more. And so, I came up with these little silly things—many of which I put in the book—that just made me feel better about the whole situation. And I thought, “Man, if it helped me, it should help other people.”
I started writing it probably 25 times and when I moved back to New York and I was packing stuff up, I was laughing, because I’d found so many bits and pieces of a beginning and never got beyond that. I came here because I had met a man who is a New Yorker and his business is here. It was fun. It was a whole new life. It was a whole new different situation. I had more time to really reflect and start to write it. It too was incredibly cathartic even though I had no idea that there was still stuff that was bubbling below.
I dredged up stuff and I thought, “Whoa.” Or stuff popped to the surface that I had totally forgotten about but obviously was buried somewhere and buried not deeply enough that it didn’t surface. Things that he had done that really upset me: behavior patterns that I was unhappy with.
I’m in a whole different place now than I was when I was going through the divorce, much more comfortable, secure, relaxed now the turmoil is pretty much gone.