A Bad Marriage Is Fattening
Can a bad marriage really be fattening? Yes it can! In my own bad marriage I went from 125 pounds to 275 pounds 20 years later. This is the story of how my unhappy marriage made me fat — and how I divorced my husband and moved on to a happier new life.

Invest In Yourself And Never Lose Sight Of Your Dream

Monday is my weigh-in day.  I weigh 225 pounds.  That’s a 5 pound weight loss in the past week!  I’m down 17 pounds since my initial weigh-in January 1st of 242 pounds.

What is the secret to my incredible weight loss so far?

When Paul and I divorced I made a vow to myself.  From hereon in I was investing in myself and my dream.

My dream of being a writer began when I was eleven years old. . .

I had come home from school crying and locked myself in the bathroom, refusing to come out.

“Joan,” my mother said, pounding on the bathroom door, “it’s not the end of the world just because some boy didn’t invite you to his birthday party!  Twenty years from now you won’t even remember his name.”

“I’ll always remember his name,” I screamed behind the closed door, “CHARLES SCOTT!  I’m not popular.  No one likes me.”

“That’s not so, we all love you!  Daddy, Larry, David, Grandpa, Grandma and I!”

“You’re my family, you’re supposed to love me – but no one else loves me.  I’m unlovable.”

“Joan, please open the door.”

“Why, so you can tell me more lies?  How beautiful I am.  If I’m so beautiful then why didn’t Charles invite me to his party?  He invited everyone else in the class.”

“I’m sure it was just an oversight.”

“NO IT WASN’T!  He took me aside and told me that his mother said he could only invite twenty kids to his party, and there are twenty-one in our class.  He said that he thought I, being his best friend, would understand being left out.”  I started to cry.  I unlocked the door and fell into my mother’s open arms.  “How could he do this to me?  It hurts — it hurts so bad to be left out.”

“I know,” Mother said hugging me close to her and trying to comfort me.  “I have a very good idea.  Do you want to hear about it?”

I looked up tearfully.  “What Mommy?”

“Come with me”

I followed Mother into the kitchen.  “Sit down at the table.”

I sat down at the white Formica kitchen table that had brown specks in it.

“Close your eyes – I have a special surprise for you.”

I closed my eyes in anticipation.

Mother placed something down in front of me.  “You may open your eyes.”

I opened my eyes.  I couldn’t hide my disappointment.  All that Mother had laid in front of me was a pencil and a blank paper.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Mother said.  “You think that this is just a pencil and a blank paper – but you’re wrong.  It’s a magic pencil and a magic blank paper.

“It is?”

“You can write anything that you want, but first you’ll have to learn one secret.”  Mother bent down and whispered in my ear, “You’ll have to learn to believe in yourself.” Mother straightened up.  “Do you think you can do that?  Do you think you can learn to write about every hurt, every joy and every disappointment that you’ve experience, and still go on believing in yourself?”

I slowly nodded my head.

“Could you start by writing how if felt not to be invited to Charles’ birthday party – because if you can, then you will have created magic.”

I began to write with a concentration that I never knew I possessed.  I entered another world and lost track of time.

When I finished writing it was dark.  Mother had already started preparing dinner.  She was standing at the stove frying lamp chops.  I walked over to her, holding the paper in my hand.  It was no longer blank.  “Mother. . .”

She turned and faced me.

“I know what I’m going to be when I grow up.  I’m going to be a writer.”

Tears started to flow down my cheeks.  What I didn’t know then was that my life had been irrevocably transformed forever.

If you had told me at the age of eleven how long it would take me to finally see my words in print I never would have believed you.

In January 2005, with my divorce finally behind me, I sat down to write a screenplay and prove to myself that I was the writer that I knew I was.  I wrote full time, seven days a week.  In November 2005 I completed the screenplay.  I called it, “Kidnapping Margo Sterling.”

March 30th 2006 I attended The Women In Film Foundation Legacy Series at UCLA.  Actress Gena Rowlands was the host.  After it was over I went up to Gena and told her that thirty years ago I had received my Master of Fine Arts Degree in Screenwriting from UCLA.  I told her I had planned on being a screenwriter and writing these wonderful screenplays for actresses – but life happened.

Gena looked deep within my eyes and said, “Doesn’t it happen to all of us?  But it’s not too late.”

“I know,” I said.  “I’ve written a screenplay to star two actresses and I’d think you’d be perfect for the titled role, Margo Sterling.”

“Is it registered with the Writers Guild?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said, and then I handed my screenplay to Gena.

She took the screenplay and clutched it to her bosom.  “I’ll read it,” she promised.

Somehow I had a feeling she would.

Six days later I received a phone call from Gena.  “Joan,” she said, “I’ve read ‘Kidnapping Margo Sterling’ and it’s very funny, very clever and well written.  You should be congratulated on a job well done.”

Gena’s words were music to my ears.

“Usually I can tell where a screenplay is going by the third page, but not this one.  It held me in its grip until the very last page.   There’s not an actress over the age of forty who would not want to star in this screenplay.  I would like to play the role of Margo Sterling,” Gena said.

I was joyous!  This was Gena Rowlands, an Oscar-nominated actress speaking to me, one of the most respected and consummate actresses in the industry — and she wanted to star in my screenplay!

“What good luck,” I thought to myself, “to be able to get my screenplay directly to Gena to read.”  I knew that if I had sent it out as an unknown writer with no literary representation to Gena’s agent the chances of my screenplay getting a serious reading was practically nil – and most likely Gena never would have seen it because it would have been rejected.  Then she never would have known what a special screenplay was sent to her for her consideration.

“Would you mind if I hooked you up with a producer?” Gena asked.  “There’s this producer that I’ve worked with on another film and I would like to have her produce your screenplay.”

Would I mind being hooked up with a producer?  Oh, dear God, I can’t believe that I’m actually speaking with Gena Rowlands and she wants to star in my screenplay!

“I’m leaving for the Cannes Film Festival,” Gena said, “but I’ll give your number to the producer and she’ll be calling you.”

The Cannes Film Festival?  Maybe in the future we’ll all go together to the Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of “Kidnapping Margo Sterling,” I silently thought.

I was dreaming high.  I finally had reason to hope that my writing career was about to take off.  But it was not to be.  The producer was unable to get my screenplay off the ground.

Still, I shall always hold Gena Rowlands in the highest esteem for reading my screenplay, and liking it enough to want to star in it.  Even though it didn’t happen, just knowing that an actress of Gena Rowlands’ caliber liked my screenplay meant the world to me.

Which brings me to this blog and my decision to write it.  December 24th 2009, Christmas Eve, I was in a Barnes & Noble bookstore.  Looking at all the books I had one of those Oprah Aha! Moments.  I made a spontaneous decision: I would write my memoir “A Bad Marriage Is Fattening” as a blog.

What is the secret to my incredible weight loss so far?  I’m doing what I love.  I have invested in myself and I have never lost sight of my dream.

7 Responses to “Invest In Yourself And Never Lose Sight Of Your Dream”

  1. I think that this is a great post, thinking behind it is clear and concise unlike many other articles I have read on this subject

  2. You’re an incredible writer! You deserve to have your screenplay made. I’d go out and see your film!

  3. What a talented writer you are. Too bad I’m not an agent. I’d sign you in a minute!

  4. Great writing! Look forward to seeing more.

  5. This is a nice page. Thanks for the awesome read.

  6. Wow. This is a phenomenal blog. I started at the recent posts and kept going back one more, then one more, then one more and finally decided that perhaps I should go back and start at the beginning!

    You are an amazing writer! I am SO glad I found you on blogfrog… you have a new fan!


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