Our interview today is with M. Hill, author of The Ones That Got Away.
FQ: - You end the book on an optimistic note, though optimistic about life more than romantic relationships. What did you hope readers would think or feel after they read your memoir?
I would hope that they’d see there is more to life – and living – than just finding some guy to validate their existence. Too many women sell themselves short and stay with losers just so they won’t be alone. I may be a bit of an anomaly on this, but being alone is not so bad.
FQ: - As I got to know you through reading The Ones that Got Away, I came to think that you have led a happy life, with close family relationships, good friends, and a successful career. How did you come to write about the one aspect of your life that had been less than successful?
Simply, my story is an elaborate (no kidding, right?) answer to the question, “Why are you still single?” As you know, I’m not against dating, I don’t have one tragic episode that’s left me emotionally scarred, and it’s not that I haven’t had a fair share (more than a fair share, probably) of men in my life. It’s like I mention in the beginning, I’m just not that into it right now, and so, when people ask me that question, now I can say, “Here, read this.” (Not that I’m carrying around books like business cards!)
FQ: - It seems as though you wrote about every single date you ever went on. Were there any that you skipped?
Believe it or not, yes, I skipped some: The electrician in the plaid flannel shirt who took me to see The English Patient; the cable guy who took me to a comedy club in NYC; the waiter who splurged on a hansom cab ride around historic Philadelphia – just to name a few. Some dates just didn’t fit into the arc of my story; and some, like those just mentioned, didn’t really have a ‘story’ to them – they were just...dates. I mean, seriously, how much of a story could I tell about the businessman who yucked it up with his doorman when we went back to his place (he forgot something). To tell you the truth, I’m still wondering about that one. What was the deal with that juvenile behavior – was I that guy’s first date with a girl, a real girl, and not one of a blow-up variety? Who knows? Certainly not me – but see what I mean? No real story.
FQ: - In the book you were honest about some fairly personal details of your own life-- and also personal details about the men you have dated. I understand that you changed the names of some of the characters. Still, did anyone recognize himself? Have you gotten feedback from any of the ones who got away?
I think it’s the details that make a story relatable – and I do have a tendency to share, obviously (I’ve actually blogged about this very topic: www.otga.blogspot.com Diff’rent Stokes post of 6-21-2009), but believe it or not, I actually held back quite a bit.
I have received a fair amount of feedback and, from those who know me, most can’t believe how dead-on accurate my account is, so as long as it’s truthful...But as far as hearing from any ‘who got away,’ not yet; although I think chances are good that I may in the near future. About two years ago, after 14 years had gone by, I heard from Adam. (I have a detailed account of this on my blog: Blast from the Past post of 9-14-2008.) Anyway, the long and the short of it is that he had Googled me and then contacted me. And while you are correct that I changed the names of some of the characters in my book, what you don’t know is that I changed my name slightly, as well – M. Hill is a pseudonym. So, here’s what’s weird. I received a Christmas card from Adam and his family this year that was addressed to M. Hill. So he obviously knows about the book; but whether he’s read it or not, I couldn’t say. Of course he’s the one I said had a big dong so, really, does anything else I’ve said matter? He’s a guy, so probably not.
Now some of the others… I can’t say they’d be beaming with pride over what I shared, but as I said, it’s all truthful. If Jeff got a hold of my book he’d likely enroll in writing courses at his local community school so he could publish his rebuttal. Randy, although extremely funny, has no sense of humor about himself so I think a lot would be lost on him. And Mike, well, most of the intimate details I share surround him and it’s my belief that he would absolutely love this book. I really believe that – wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong, though.
FQ: - Especially given your interest in theater, has anyone suggested that the book would make a great play? I think it could be hilarious.
Thank you. I always feel that if I can make people laugh it’s all been worth it, somehow. No one has suggested a play, although some have suggested a movie – and I can easily see that. I have a tendency to view my experiences, while they’re happening, through my mind’s eye – like a cosmic camera – maybe that’s why my accounts are so detailed. I look at the scenes, the sets and the players – taking it all in...ACTION!