Stranger Than Fiction: When Your Life Starts to Resemble Your Novel

Stranger Than Fiction: When Your Life Starts to Resemble Your Novel

On a summer night twenty-nine years ago Mark, my then boyfriend and now husband, and I were in our second-floor apartment. Mark was ironing a week's worth of dress shirts for his job as a clinical psychologist at a well-known psychiatric hospital. The windows were open, and the shades were up. A cheap portable radio on the counter was tuned to the Red Sox game, and I was boiling pasta for dinner, occasionally shuffling across the kitchen to give Mark a kiss. It could have been a scene from a romantic indie film, but it was the start of our horror . The next day Mark called me between patients. His typically confident tone had a tremor. “Before I say anything,” he told me, “I want you to shut the windows.” When I came back to the phone—landline days—Mark said, “One of my patients was spying on us last night. She was listening from the yard.” “What?” “She said it made her cry that I did my own ironing, and she wishes that she and I could go to a baseball game together sometime. She wanted to know what you were making for dinner, and did I ever cook?” So began a four-year stalking ordeal. It was also the day the idea for a took root in my consciousness. I didn't want to fictionalize the sad case of this woman whose mental health issues led her to feel proprietary toward my husband's home life. The idea that came to me was dangerous in a different way: What would happen if a psychologist were visited by a patient who knew something him that she shouldn't have known? Not just that he was a diligent ironer and liked the Red Sox, but something damaging from his past. Almost three decades later, my debut novel, Wednesdays at One , is about to be published. It's the story of a clinical psychologist, Gregory Weber, and a mysterious female client, Mira, who appears unscheduled in his office each week and wants to talk about his past, not hers. With each session, Gregory […]

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