Saturday, May 6, 2017

"Every Other Wednesday"

Susan Kietzman is a Connecticut native. She has a bachelor's degree in English from Connecticut College and a master's degree in journalism from Boston University. She has worked in both magazine and newspaper publishing, and currently focuses on writing fiction.

Kietzman applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Every Other Wednesday, and reported the following:
Page 69 in Every Other Wednesday is blank, a chapter break. And while I am tempted to write about this nothingness, which is actually germane to the novel, I instead flip back to page 66.
Ellie speared a piece of broccoli with her fork. “How is that going? Are you as sore as you were in the beginning?”

“Not as sore, but sore nonetheless. It’s not easy taking up running again – which is essentially what I’m doing – in your fifties.”

“It’s not easy taking up anything in your fifties,” said Joan. “You’re lucky you have a place to work if you want. Can you imagine the looks I’d get if I walked into William Chester High School this afternoon and asked them for a job teaching Calculus?”

“You want to teach Calculus?” asked Alice. “I flunked Calculus. You can start with me.”

“I can talk to Chris,” said Ellie. “He can find out what positions might be opening next semester or next fall.”

Joan picked up another piece of sushi and swirled it in her soy sauce. “I’ll let you know,” she said. “I’m not ready to talk to anyone yet, but I want to do something.”
Ellie, Alice, and Joan are three recent empty-nesters, who meet for lunch on every other Wednesday to support one another in their individual quests for redefinition. They each have spent more than two decades focused on the needs of their children – and their husbands – and are now free to pursue their own goals. Alice turns to running, chasing the seven-minute mile pace she ran in her twenties. Because she cannot talk her husband, an avid runner, into accompanying her on the town’s wooded trails, she runs alone. Ellie, a part-time bookkeeper, pushes aside her shyness as a means to promote and grow her business. She is at first unaware that she, too, is growing and changing. And Joan, a college scholar turned housewife, questions whether joining the work force in her fifties, which she considers laughable, is even possible.

The male version of mid-life crisis often involves expensive cars and young girlfriends. The female version is different, focused not on looking backward but on looking forward, on achieving unexpressed or unexamined goals. How does a woman who has devoted so many years to the necessities of family life decipher her own personal or professional aspirations? College-aged children and working husbands may offer support to their middle-aged mothers and wives, but they don’t understand the doubts and fears of these women attempting to join a game that’s half over. The only people who understand are those facing similar obstacles. Ellie, Alice, and Joan navigate the uncertainties together in the hopes that three heads are better than one.
Visit Susan Kietzman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue