Friday, April 8, 2011

The Charming Appearance of the Surface of Things

Adam Weiss
(played by John Gilbert)
Those of you who have read The Edge of Ruin may have noticed that Emily Weiss's husband, Adam, is something of a rotter. I got an argument over that from Dr. Art, my chiropractor, who felt that Adam's consistent neglect of his wife was the sort of thing most men engaged in back then, one, and two, he was a hard-charging entrepreneur, and could hardly be faulted for putting all his energies into his nascent moving picture business. Don't you love it when one of your characters comes so completely to life that people feel compelled to gossip about him?

I, too, feel that Adam is a real person, although I hasten to add he is no person that I've ever known in life. Rather he is the personification of selfishness, or of the Selfish Man, a character well known to many women of my acquaintance. A whole book club full of women accepted Adam as a typical man the other day. "Yes," one of them said, "They're all like that."

I wouldn't go that far. I know lots of good men. Harold, for example, is a perfect sweetie. Dr. Art is the nicest fella you ever want to meet, even though he comes to Adam's defense. And I know many more excellent men, just in Lambertville alone. But you do have to wonder, or the women in the book club had to wonder, why Emily stayed with this man who treated her so inconsiderately.

Emily Daggett Weiss
(played by Billie Burke)
And stay with him she did, for another five years, until the opening of the next book in the series (The Brink of Fame, available in August of this year). Well, as I explained to the book club women, those were busy years. The couple were building their business, both of them working very hard. And it was, as I mentioned, the moving picture business. Physical beauty, the glossy surface of things, is what the movie industry concerns itself with, and being a movie person Emily loved physical beauty. She loved Adam for his beauty, not looking too deeply into his character or examining too closely the way he treated her.

This is what young women do. Women who are older, like the book club women, develop intelligence, or at least a sense of self-preservation, so that they will take a kind man with plain looks over a handsome rotter. So there you have it, children, my sermon of the week. Remain alert and marry late. And if you want to know what Emily did when the scales finally fell from her eyes, read The Brink of Fame. You can pre-order it from Amazon if you like.

Kate Gallison

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