Friday, April 29, 2011

Burning Bridges

With the publication of Swiss Chocolate, and now the enormous popularity of my blog that tells so candidly my feelings about my disease, family and all that I endured as a child, I am afraid I have gone beyond the point of no return. My family really wants nothing more to do with me, and I have been shunned by all.

But as my good friend and editor said, Hemingway once wrote that it’s the writer’s job to tell the truth as he sees it, and that I am only a bi-product of what I went through growing up. So, as I sit here and bleed from all the veins I have opened, I ask myself was it worth sacrificing my family the way I did? I am also sure there are plenty of people in Rumson who scorn me for what I have written, but I simply wrote what I felt from my heart, and for that, I simply cannot apologize. I will just have to live with it, and so will they. This is the cross that any artist who is true to himself must bear.

Swiss Chocolate is a fictionalized memoir, but that doesn’t mean the passion and feelings that went into the story are not real. And although it is a work of fiction, it is largely based on truth. I will never forget how the Library Director at The Oceanic Free Library blew me off after reading Harmony House. I must have hit a nerve pretty damn close to home. When we first started corresponding she was so exuberant and excited about hosting my book launch party at the end of January. She was perfectly clear in her correspondence that the renovations would be finished at the beginning of January, and that the perfect time for a book event would be at the end of the month.

But then suddenly I got a very terse email from her telling me that she could not guarantee the event, and a host of other things she never mentioned before. Basically, she was backpedaling rather quickly from any involvement with me, and I sent her an email telling her what I thought of what she did. I never mince words, and I never heard back from her.

I made a grave error trying to setup a book event at The Oceanic Free Library. Basically I was rubbing salt in my father’s wounds. Hell, I don’t even know if he read the damn thing; he said he wouldn’t, and to please not market it in his area. But, then again, I grew up in that damn town and have every right to market my book wherever I please. Still, going to The Oceanic Free Library is out of the question. Rumson will never open their arms to me; I am forever a pariah—someone without shame or honor in their eyes.

I see it the other way around. I am the one with honor, and they are the ones who are filled with shame. Dirty, little secrets are not to be exposed, but hidden away from public view. People in Rumson are a rare breed; they live in a world of high society where everyone is king of their patch of the world. Go to Sea Bright Lawn Tennis & Cricket Club or Sea Bright Beach Club and you will see immediately what I am talking about. These are people who are very comfortable in their skins and have achieved great wealth and stature in their communities. Many of them are CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, or Wall Street gurus. Scandals are something they don’t like seeing; it makes them human and vulnerable, and it could happen to any of them.

So, I must rise above, be proud of my accomplishment, do not second guess myself, keep blogging what I feel, and write with honesty and passion when I have the muse. This is all that can be expected of a writer who has any aritistic integrity at all. Indeed, he must push the limits of what is acceptable.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

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