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Publisher: Central Recovery Press (July 15, 2014)
Category: Non-fiction, Memoir, Substance Abuse, Codependency
Tour Date: June/July, 2015
Available in: Print & ebook, 224 Pages
The dynamics of codependency are illuminated in this heartbreaking story of a marriage comprised by a husband’s addiction to alcohol.
Through the eyes of love clouded by denial, Fran saw the danger signs but ignored them. Her husband, Terry, was accomplished, romantic, and good-natured. A newly divorced single parent, Fran was ready for love. She recounts the joys and sorrows of their relationship, including Terry’s attempts to control his drinking, her attempts to control him, his death, and her subsequent recovery.
Interview with Fran Simone:
What initially got you interested in writing?
I read a lot when I was a child and dreamed of becoming a writer but that dream seemed unattainable coming from a working class family. Not that my parents weren’t loving and supportive, but they wanted me to have a secure and good paying job. Also I went to Catholic schools back in the day when girls were encouraged to become teachers, nurses or nuns.
How did you decide to make the move into becoming a published author?
As I said I was always an avid reading so I majored in English in college and then went to graduate school where I obtained a doctorate. At the university I directed a statewide writing project and also taught writing classes. About midway through my career I decided to have a go myself.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
People can overcome tragedy and move beyond it. .I want my readers to take away hope that one day they will lead happy and fulfilling lives despite what challenges they face.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Filling a blank page with words even though you don’t know where you’re going and discovering things as you go along.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Finding just the right words to convey my thoughts and ideas.
What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?
Read widely as much as you can.
Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?
Last year, my eye doctor invited a group of us to accompany him on a mission trip to the Chiapas region of Mexico. We spent a week examining eyes, writing prescriptions, fitting patients for eyeglasses and the docs did surgery mainly for cataracts. Hundreds of people travelled to a small village in the mountains for treatment that they otherwise would have never received. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?
Visit my website email@example.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org; ; I write a blog for the loved ones of family members with substance abuse disorders for Psychology Today under the Addiction category.
Excerpt from ‘Dark Wine Waters’ by Fran Simone:
Several weeks after we returned to Charleston, I received a postcard in a familiar handwriting–Terry- from Bellagio, Italy. The inscription read: “This is paradise. Aren’t we having a good time? Love, T.”
We almost didn’t end up at Bellagio. From Menton we drove along the coast to San Remo where terraced fields of roses, carnations, and camellias filled the hillsides. Our bliss, however, was temporarily punctured in Genoa. I don’t recall exactly what happened. Perhaps I made some remark about his drinking, but I do remember how we sat on opposite ends of an empty tour bus, pouting like three-year-olds.
Later that day, we declared a truce as we packed the Renault and headed toward Lake Como.
“Frannie, it’s been a long day. I’m tired. Why don’t we stop in the town of Como and spend the night?”
“I really want to get to Bellagio today. I read a description in the AAA guide: It’s a town on the peninsula that divides the two sides of Lake Como. Outstanding hotels and restaurants. Plenty to see. So what do you think?”
“The guidebook says about 27 kilometers. What’s that in miles? I always get confused.”
“It’s about fifteen. But no telling how long it’ll take on these roads. They’re like back home. And you aren’t a very good navigator.”
“I’ll do the best I can. I promise. It’ll be worth it. You’ll see.” I hoped my enthusiasm for the town would rub off on Terry, and that the AAA guide wasn’t exaggerating.
As the Renault chugged up a narrow, winding road with hazardous switch backs, Terry looked straight ahead and gripped the steering wheel. We almost wrecked when an Italian driver in a red sports car blew his horn to signal a blind curve a second before the car shot through a hairpin turn.
“Basta. Italian drivers. Goddamn. Unbelievable.”
Late afternoon, our driving nerves were soothed, as we settled into an elegant room at the Hotel Florence where we were mesmerized by our view of the lakefront. All reluctance and annoyance forgotten and swallowed up in the view from our windows.
Our guidebook recommended visits to The Basilica of San Giacomo, the gardens of the Serbelloni Villa, the chapel at Villa Melzi and other “must see” sites. We wound up and down steep stone steps past iron balconies festooned with clay pots of red geraniums or laundry drying under hot sun. At the many shops tucked below apartments, we admired fine silks and Venetian glass jewelry. I purchased a tee shirt for Matt and silk scarves for Terry’s mother and aunt.
We drank wine at a café on the lake and sampled food cooked in heaven: lake trout, perch, fluffy risotto, and ripe white peaches. Our love making become another delish dish to savor, and savor we did.
Like the excursion boats slowly crisscrossing the surface of the lake, we floated in a perfect dream. In my journal I wrote: “I’m totally happy.”
So was the composer Franz Liszt. In 1837, while cavorting with the Countess d’Agoult, he wrote, “When you write the story of two happy lovers, set them on the shores of Lake Como. I know of no other spot more obviously blessed by heaven.”
Bellagio soared to the top of my most favorite list. Numero uno to this day.
Years later, on my fiftieth birthday, Terry surprised me with a savings passbook marked “Italy”. He recorded the sum of $400.00 in the top column. My birthday card read: “This is a down payment for a return trip to Bellagio. Love, Terry.”
“I figure if we put away a hundred or so each month, we can swing a return trip in about a year. That’s if you can control your spending. Can you manage to limit your shopping for clothes and household doodads?” Terry asked.
“Of course. For a return trip to paradise, I’ll try, really try.”
But I continued to spend.
He continued to drink.
Praise for Dark Wine Waters’ by Fran Simone:
“Dark Wine Waters goes way beyond the plethora of recovery books. It is a beautifully written memoir, with its charming water motif throughout, and it so clearly offers everyone a way to continue, to be happy, despite whatever happens. In this, the author has handed all of us a true gift.”-Cat Pleska, president of Mountain State Press and author, Riding on Comets (forthcoming, April, 2015)
“Brutally frank and fearless in its honesty, Fran Simone’s book is a gift for those who love or have loved alcoholics or addicts. She tells the story of how she jumped into a relationship with a man she never imagined would have the disease of alcoholism. She simply had no reference for such an illness and missed all the clues. Once in love and married, she struggled to keep their life together, admitting she made every mistake possible.
This book boldly explains how alcoholism seduces and corrupts the most innocent of people, both the drinker and the ones who love them. Nicely written and well crafted, Simone’s memoir will appeal to those who enjoy a human interest and love story. But more importantly, it is for those caught in the darkness of loving someone with this disease and how they can find joy and hope and a better way to live through recovery.”- L. Farwell, Amazon Reviewer
“Fran Simone has written an intimate, deeply honest, and absorbing memoir that clearly shows the four stages of alcoholism through the years of her marriage to Terry. When she begins writing their story and the narrative starts to take shape, she finds “the courage to admit my faults, face my fears, and forgive my husband and myself.” Her honesty is compelling.
I particularly like the way the author organizes her story, dividing the book into four parts, each opening with an epigraph of the disease stage. Part 1, for example, opens with “The addict has a ‘wow’ experience and begins to form a relationship with the drug. Family members may observe subtle changes in personality, and a formidable barrier to communication appears: denial.” I leave the rest for you to read.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in a very well told narrative that intimately shares the lives of two very human people ensnared in the full throes of the disease of alcoholism.”-Mary Jo Doig, Story Circle Book Reviews
“I was absorbed in this book from the very first page. The author takes us on her journey through life with an alcoholic from the moment she falls in love with him through the inevitable sad conclusion, yet gives those of us in this struggle hope for recovery.
This book is written with the honesty that can only come from the experience of living those highs and lows. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, whether you are just looking for an engagingly candid memoir or you are looking for clues to learn to cope when and if you’ve found yourself in a similar situation.”- Peggy E. Gunter, Amazom Reviewer
Fran Simone, Ph.D. is a Professor Emeritus from Marshall University in West Virginia. She is the former director of the WV Writing Project, a statewide affiliate of the National Writing Project, University of California at Berkeley. Her doctorate is from Duke University.
Her essays have appeared in The Voice and The Quarterly of the National Writing Project, the Charleston Gazette, Story Circle Network journal and anthology. Her blog posts have appeared online in Hazelden/Betty Ford. She is a regular contributor to The Addiction Blog and to the Psychology Today blog. She is a member of Story Circle Network, the National Association of Memoir Writers and West Virginia Writers, Inc. She conducts workshops on writing and speaks on addiction and recovery.
Honors: Featured author of the month, National Memoir Association, January, 2015.
Listen to the Interview with Fran Simone:
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