August 14, 2007

"Elizabeth Edwards pens inspiring memoir."

Ah, headlines! They're so wonderful. Sigh....

You know what would be cool? If some politician or politician's wife (or husband) "penned" a memoir and it wasn't the least bit inspiring. So, let's have a little contest here today. At the link, you'll see an excerpt from the "inspiring memoir." Choose a passage and rewrite as if you were the political spouse and you didn't give a damn about inspiring anyone. And I'm not asking you to trash or humiliate the woman or her yummy husband. Give us a good rewrite where the author is someone who despises cloying treacle, has some edge, and who knows what a real memoir should be.

23 comments:

Roger said...

It was a dark and stormy night when John's latest hairstyle failed to set properly; it cost 2500 dollars to fly the stylist in for repairs and the private jet was delayed............

MadisonMan said...

Elizabeth began, but was interrupted by the thud of her husband arriving from home as he walked in their room, stripped and hopped into the shower to rinse off the day, put on paisley pajamas, padded to the kids' room for a good night kiss, and returned to the boudoir, to fall asleep.

Doug said...

Fall 2002

John is feeling pushed and pulled about the upcoming resolution to authorize an invasion in Iraq. I have told him to oppose it, but I think he is leaning the other way. Maybe I should defer to him, since he is on the Intellegence Committee and has seen all the unfilter evidence. I also understand that we are in a Red state and if we want to appeal to the country fried rubes around here, we need to be seen as at least as tough as Hillary (which is a high standard, since she isn't a womanly as I am).

I have Presidential aspirations for Johnny, so maybe this is the way to go. A manly, moderate, take no prisoners Southern Democrat is the key to the White House. If we run, we will have the edge on these northern liberals. The Democratic Party would never be so dumb as to put a Massachusetts liberal at the top of the ticket for a long time.

The last Democrat to beat a Bush was another Southern boy wonder. So why not us in 2004?

Paddy O. said...

"John called me back about an hour after I called, even though he was on his way to Indianola, Iowa and had nothing else going on. I asked, "How's Iowa?” It was all I had to say. He continued on to an evening campaign event and then a couple days later came back to North Carolina. I e-mailed the Iowa family in whose home he had a house party that night, and who had cleaned and prepared deviled eggs and cocktail wienies for the friends and neighbors who were gathering to hobnob and impress each other, each trying to get a picture with my husband, who really does have a great smile, as he prepared to decide— maybe in March— on whether to add that second pool inside the guest house. The Waltons thanked me for sending the email; he was where he should be, they said. I couldn’t really disagree."

I can't help but think of the Perons when I think of Elizabeth and John.

Fen said...

Ya know, I wish Elizabeth Edwards running instead of John. Say what you will, but she doesn't need to hide behind anyone's skirts.

Jason said...

You know, people talk about the MSM simply running Democratic press releases as news.

Only in this case, it is literally true!

AllenS said...

A Short Story
by
Elizabeth Edwards

We laughed, we cried, we ran, we got beat by a woman, like we were rented mules.

The End

michael farris said...

names changed:

It was the middle of March as Henry and I sat in the car watching Jim’s baseball practice. We sat in the bleachers at first, but when the sun set, it got cold in a hurry. Henry actually seemed interested in the proceedings on field. That is, he had on his "interested" face, that he uses in important media interviews and committee meetings and when he's out among the voters listening to some farmer complaining about his credit rating. Whatever. Really, he's a good man and tries, but I really wish he'd stop treating the kids like voters in some diner in Iowa. I don't think he even notices anymore and honestly, I think the kids don't either. I don't know why I do.
Coach Arnold, who seems entirely too _nice_ when the kids inevitably screw things up, was throwing them grounders. He cheered them on when they clutched onto one, and coddled them when they watched it wobble past between their legs. This rotation, Jim was playing left field, or rather by now he had given up on any balls being thrown toward him and had sat down and was pulling at blades of grass. I remembered him doing the same kind of thing last year. He would be kicking dirt in left field or looking for bugs in right field. I would call out from the bleachers: PAY ATTENTION!. Just a reminder about why I was there, which was not to watch him play in the dirt, even if it is "all orange and stuff".
I rolled down the window and did it again now. For Jim: PAY ATTENTION! Why is that child so easily distracted? I keep telling him he can quit baseball anytime he wants if he really finds it that boring, but he won't hear of it. I can't imagine why. He never seems to enjoy himself at all.

Kirby Olson said...

The American people don't want lousy idealists to be their president, but we've decided to be idealists anyway, since that's what the far left of the Democrat party seems to want. So we had John go to as many soup kitchens as we could find, and have him give people soup for their supper. They seemed to enjoy their soup. It may seem soupy or sappy to some, but soup is super when you sup with your super idealist John Edwards.

It seems to be the canny approach but darn it those far left Democrats won't take John Edwards because he's got the wrong race and the wrong gender, and he's even from the wrong class. We put a big emphasis on the fact that he started from nowheresville but this confuses the Democrats because their idea is that the rich are rich and the poor are poor and only massive restructuring can help, but it seems that John Edwards rose on cleverness, skill, and hard work. So we keep trying to pose him in prayer (but this confuses the far left further who don't believe in God unless you call Karl Marx god, which some do), and then we tried to have him pour more soup, as if he was at the very least a Marx brother. But the folks just said, this is soupy, and we lost, and now we're thinking about becoming Republicans, because there John can talk about having a work ethic, and how with certain skills you can carve whole mansions out of corporations and laugh all the way to the bank. But first we're going to keep trying the soup bit. Perhaps some oyster crackers, perhaps some toasted cheese, perhaps he'll have to take the wig off and admit he's as bald as Ralphie in the Sopranos.

I don't know. Whatever it takes we'll do it. Just tell us how you can get elected in this lousy country and we'll pour you some cheesy soup.

Steve said...

I remember one spring day, John and I were watching our 8-year old son practice baseball. Of course, we don't want to be noticed, so we sat in the car and let the practice continue as normal, without attracting celebrity gazers and other onlookers. Although honestly, I'm not sure any of the parents would have noticed that their former senator and his beautiful wife were sitting so close, with the mothers enthralled in the latest Brittney Spears gossip and the fathers living vicariously through their undertalented children.

All the while, Coach Mitch was doing his best to teach the children how to play baseball, but I must admit that I think John or any competent high-schooler could have done a better job, considering how many simulated grounders went whizzing into the outfield, the look of apathy on most of the children's faces, and the blase attitude of my own son in the outfield, waiting for the practice to end.

It was like this last year, too, when both of our children were under Mitch's "direction", if one could call it that. I hate to be one of those parents, but I often found myself calling out from the stands to remind the two exactly why I was paying $700 a season each- "baseball." One word was all it took.

I found myself doing it again on that crisp April evening. Baseball. Sometimes we just need someone competent to motivate us when we lose concentration.

After all, baseball isn't cancer; one shouldn't have to distract oneself from the sport. It was just a week before that John and I had been waiting for the bad news, and I had wished that I was the one, flailing at ground balls thrown from the hand of Coach Mitch.

Before the news, all had been going so well. I was asleep when John came home from the campaign trail, but I heard him recite the patterned steps of routine that must become imprinted upon the male brain at an early age- undress, shower, eat, sleep.

I ahppened to still be awake when he came to bed. "How's your back?", he asked, remembering how I wrenched my back trying to move some of his files from the den into his office. Really, the husband should be the one doing such things, and I have the throbbing pain in my lower back to prove exactly why that is. But I had tried to play the role of perfect housewife, making everything just so while John was out promising everything to everyone while standing next to Senator Blown-Chance.

We all must make sacrifices for the purpose of the campaign; my sore back was my one small sacrifice.

"It's not too bad", I lied as I bit my tongue wanting to tell him that it was nothing like the pain of bearing his children, or of waiting every night for two weeks for him to come home from Podunk, Iowa. But this was no ordinary muscle pull- I had broken a rib, not strained a muscle. The story then got worse- something suspicious had shown up on the other side of the X-ray. The doctors, as well as myself- immediately suspected cancer.

(etc., etc., etc.)

Pogo said...

January 22.
Midnight. I lay awake staring at the ceiling. I found another hidden mirror, a small one, tucked away in his armchair. I thought I saw him tilt his head the way he does when....anyway.

Another. Mirror.
When will it stop?

AllenS said...

Ann--

Try your hand at this. Something more substantial than my short story.

Chip Ahoy said...

John sat first in the bleachers, but then he sat in a chair, one of those cheap fold-out kind of chairs made of aluminum tubes and woven nylon strips. I imagined the impression that chair made on John's tender white butt. I couldn't rid myself of the visualization of a woven pattern in red on white and I suddenly felt another laughing fit coming on.



On a related note, I'm waiting for the Wheel-of-Fortune contestant who introduces himself as having a rather ugly wife and three rude sloppy sloven children in a dreadful broken down household.

nick danger said...

Stupid John, I thought - why wasn't he ever around when I needed him? I'm trying to run a household here, recovering a sense of normalcy from a recent move, and he's nowhere to be seen. And of course, when he is here, it's the middle of the night, with business tomorrow. I would give anything for some domestic help, but, well, we have a certain image to maintain, and I guess I have to be the one to bear the costs, killing myself so we can maintain an image. Just the little lady at home. Strained muscle? Play it to the camera! But whatever. At least he noticed when he finally got home - maybe he'll actually think about what that took to accomplish.

I have to admit that the loneliness was catching up with me, of course, and I forgot any grudges as my nerves thrilled to the touch of his skin as he slid into bed. No way was a pulled muscle going to keep me off him. With any luck, I'd be pulling a few more by the morning. Obviously he wanted me as much as I wanted him, because he grabbed me and yanked me toward him. Hard. Well, that was the end of that night, because I was instantly felt so much pain that all I wanted to do was curl up and die. Only by taking a double-dose of the pain meds for my back was I able to get to sleep.

Only to find when I woke up that he was gone again, on his way to Iowa. Great.
I got myself to the doctor and confirmed what I thought - he broke my rib! I can't blame him, I guess, in the heat of passion and all, but jesus - he knew he had to be careful with me! What was he thinking? And then he leaves again after all of that! Do I even exist as a person to him? I despaired over becoming nothing more to him than an abstraction of a wife - but here I was, a living, breathing human being, with her own needs and wants, with a pulled muscle, a broken rib, and an empty house.

Of course, my concerns over John's attention were short-lived, for the rib x-rays revealed that I had cancer. I was no longer a wife - I was a political asset.

From Inwood said...

The glory of a campaign is that, regardless of whether the hated VRWC won, you’ve made so many positive comments on life, on love, on diseases, on the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free from Big Oil, Big Pharma, Talk Radio, Faux News, Global Warming, the bloggesphere, whatever, that even with the campaign’s worst moments, exaggerated by the VWRC, of course, you recall it in a inspiring light.

You remember the women who commented on how movie-star handsome John is & how it’s amazing that he can be so beautiful & so smart. Both in one man. A Greek God. And richer than Croesus. You remember the funny stories, like how a handsome man like John could be so witty & droll. You remember the wonderful people like the man in Kansas who said that John was an inspiration for him with his own sick wife; seeing John on message & still with nary a hair out of place glancing over at me lovingly. You remember the gay women partners who thanked John for pledging to keep abortion legal since they had had to abort an in-vitro fetus because some rogue lawyer was helping the biological father in his claim about it being half his. You remember the wonderful people like the small-town barber who coifed John’s hair just for the privilege of being able to do something for a man who’d changed the world so much. You remember the member of the British Press, also the scion of the famous Brideshead family, who found our estate an inspiration of a modern approach to land-use management. You remember the espirit de corps of all the young women who found beauty parlors all across America for John’s hair.

And that’s what this book is about. It’s not a day-by-day blow-by-blow of how John tried to rise above the Republican attack machine, because that’s not what this campaign was all about. As John says “the thing about it was that though this was a campaign for truth & justice for all people including the poor, the women, and the minorities, especially the poor, the women, the minorities, every day when you looked in the mirror, you knew you were alive.”

From Inwood said...

OK, OK, I didn't stay on task.
My point is that none of these people has it in him or her to write what they think is an uninspiring memoir.

Their whole idea of their life is

Sum, ergo afflo.

michael farris said...

"Honestly, sometimes I awake as he comes in but fall back asleep before he finishes his ritual."

Am I the only one with a dirty enough mind to think she could be writing about something else here?

michael farris said...

another offering to the Gods (with apologies to Attia of the Julii.

It was early April as Mark Anthony and I sat in the car watching Octavian’s baseball practice. At first we sat in the bleachers, but the stench of the plebs became too much so we retreated, leaving the slaves to cheer for Octavian on our behalf.
We sat together facing the field and watching the seven- and eight-year-old commoner pigspawn who dare to share a team with my Octavian. They were drooling and making obscene gestures, occasionally punching their fists into their gloves and leaning forward onto the toes of their new bloodstained cleats, their elbows resting on their knees, waiting for the next head to be thrown their way.
Coach Pullo, whose brain is mostly lost to syphillis but who still has a way with the children, was throwing grounders. He followed the newly decapitated heads along, and fondled the boys nether regions when they caught one and brutally thrashed anyone who let the head slide between their legs to the still unbloody grass of the outfield (except Octavian if he touches my Octavian I'll have him disemboweled and string his intestines above the city gates. In one rotation, Octavian was playing left field, or rather he was standing at the edge of left field, kicking up dirt and watching the wind carry it. He claims it’s a new form of auguring and a way of turning the Gods against his opponents, but I had my doubts.
I remembered him doing the same thing last year. Octavian would be kicking dirt in left field not paying any attention to the game. I would have to call out from the bleachers: KILL THEM ALL!!!!. Just three words. Just a reminder about why he was there.
I rolled down the window and did it again now for Octavian. KILL THEM ALL!!! Sometimes we all need reminders when we are distracted from the task in front of us.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Oh, well. "Worthwhile Canadian Initiative" had a good long run.

Methadras said...

I'm not sure what is more annoying? Elizabeth Edwards allowing her cancer to be used as a tool within her husbands campaign or that she is out shrilling Hillary in the shut your F'ing mouth catergory. Sometimes women just don't know when to shut up.

rhhardin said...

I imagined the impression that chair made on John's tender white butt.

...like the parallel azure lines one sees on the bruised backs of cabin boys...

(Lautreamont)

sydney said...

John and I sat in the car watching Jack’s baseball practice. John first sat in the bleachers. Pouting, as usual. I had hoped to rehearse the speech he was giving tomorrow in Iowa, and the talking points for the question and answer after it. I wasn’t able to fly out with him tomorrow and I wanted to make sure he had everything down pat. I’ve invested too much in his career to see it falter now. First, writing his term papers in law school, then writing his oral arguments and coaching him in their presentation for his court cases. I knew the moment I first met him that he would be the beautiful face to launch my brilliant ideas to the world. And oh, how we’ve profited. But you can never have enough money or enough power, and I wasn’t about to give up now. Cancer was not going to stop me from achieving my goal. I wasn’t going to sit back and be the quiet campaign wife like I was last time. No, sir. This is my last campaign. He was going to have to buckle down and memorize his lines and delivery. And if I couldn’t be there at every campaign appearance, I would make up for it on the internet and television and radio. I was going to get our message out come hell or high water – or metastatic cancer.
The pain in my rib set up another excruciating wave as I shifted in the seat of the car. The sun was setting, and a cold April night replaced the warm April day. John returned to the car, as I knew he would. He could never tolerate any sort of discomfort, even a mild South Carolina chill. I was determined to make him continue our work. Looking up at him with my most Nancy-Reaganesque gaze, “I felt so warm and happy seeing the golden glow of your hair from the reflected sun while you were sitting in the bleachers. I forgot why we were quarrelling. Believe me, John. Those hair cuts are worth every penny. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” He smiled as only John can, picked up his speech and resumed his rehearsal in the most gratifying country accent I had ever heard.

Freeman Hunt said...

That night John and I held each other as we lay awake. In my mind, I prayed ceaselessly for God to cure me, to make it disappear. I prayed that it would all have been some mistake, a blotch, a blur, a misleading phantom on the x-ray image. I promised an utterly selfless existence in exchange for an all clear at the hospital. I would read nothing but the Bible, I would travel to some hellish land and devote myself wholly to God's work, I would never say or do another thing to cause offense; if only I would be spared. Part of me knew that it wasn't true--if given a clean bill of health I wouldn't alter my entire life for an x-ray technician's mistake--but I wanted it to be true. If only I could make it true, then perhaps God would be persuaded, and it would all go away.

The intensity of the dark fear gripped my chest. Each breath felt like a countdown. How many left? How many breaths does a person take each day? I watched the clock and counted my breaths for one minute. Say I have one year, how many breaths is that? I started the math but realized that it wouldn't be helpful. I wouldn't be laying down for six months. I would take many more breaths in other minutes while up and about. Suppose that was how it really worked when a disease worked you over. It wasn't the time that got you, suppose the real countdown was breaths or heartbeats. Suppose you could lie very very still. What if the countdown were something strange like the number of times you emptied your bladder? I could stop drinking coffee. I'd give up water even and take my fluids from nothing but fruit and vegetables. Of course scientists were always finding these magical cancer-killing vitamins in fruits and vegetables, so maybe that would take care of everything.

John. I felt guilty that I'd only been thinking of myself just now. I should be thinking of John and the children. What will they do when I'm gone?

It was all so unfair. And now having prayed for God's deliverance, I cursed God's name. How could He? After everything. I hadn't been a bad woman, better than most, perhaps even excellent, relatively speaking. Why couldn't it have happened to someone else? Someone who wouldn't mind. Someone who wouldn't be missed. Not a mother at least. Someone old who'd had a nice, long life. Or someone mean and cruel who deserved it.

I imagined John getting remarried many years from now. All that money--she'd be pretty no doubt, striking even. She'd better be excellent to the children. She would be. She'd keep them from being motherless. Wife Version 2.0, a replacement. I appreciated her. I hated her.

I didn't want to die. I don't want to die.

But then, I thought, maybe it's all a mistake. A blotch. A blur. A misleading phantom.