Monday, March 7, 2016

"The Two-Family House"

Lynda Cohen Loigman grew up in Longmeadow, MA. She received a B.A. in English and American Literature from Harvard College and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her debut novel, The Two-Family House, and reported the following:
I was super excited for The Page 69 Test – that is, until I turned to the actual 69th page of my novel, The Two-Family House. Here’s what it says: “Part Two.” The rest of the page is blank.

At first, I was disappointed to have so little to go on. I stared at those two little words, wracking my brain for something to say about them. Part One of my novel ends with the highly anticipated birth of two babies in the middle of a blizzard. The husbands of the mothers are away, and only a nameless midwife is there to witness what occurs. When the words “Part Two” appear, the storm has passed and the reader is about to discover how the choices made during that evening will affect the characters for the rest of their lives.

I suppose I could have written my Page 69 Test entry about the structure of my novel and about the use of time throughout the story, but, honestly, that didn’t sound so appealing. Then I looked at the words again. “Part Two.” It felt like the book was trying to tell me something.

You see, writing The Two-Family House is my Part Two.

Like many of my fellow English majors, I went to law school right after college. As a summer associate, it became clear to me that trusts and estates law was the only kind of law I wanted to practice. The reason for that was simple: trusts and estates law revolves around people’s individual stories. Births, deaths, marriages, divorce – all the drama of everyday life. For a while I enjoyed it. I worked with some very nice people on some very interesting projects. But the clients themselves were more compelling to me than the tax issues I was supposed to be researching. After several years, I gave it up.

I got married, I had children, I dabbled in this and that. But all the while, in the back of my mind, I knew I had a story to tell, and I hoped I had more than one.

After I turned forty, the need to write overwhelmed me. I joined a writing class and began the task of putting what was in my head down on the page. I wrote and I deleted, I wrote and I cringed, I wrote and I cried, and then I kept writing.

The publication of The Two-Family House is dream-come-true stuff for me. I am well into my forties now, and I feel like one of those people on television who says, “If I can do it at my age, anyone can.” It’s a cliché, I know, but that’s how I feel. I am where I want to be professionally and creatively. I feel fulfilled in a way I didn’t think was possible, and I am extremely grateful. Writing is my first love, but my second career.

It is my Part Two.
Visit Lynda Cohen Loigman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue