Barbara Slate drew her way out of her marriage

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Barbara Slate’s new book, “Getting Married and Other Mistakes,” tells the tale of the nightmare of all marriages. Her semi-autobiography’s main character, Jo, married a man she didn’t love in a quest to fulfill her mother’s expectations. Jo suffers through the realization that she hadn’t listened to her own voice in years and goes down a winding path to find it. She found that 12 years through her marriage, her husband was having an affair, and both of them had not been happy in their marriage’s entirety. Slate offers advice to help others avoid this marriage disaster.

What advice would you give women looking to marry?

You know, I want to say “don’t,” but I’m not going to say that. So I would say, definitely not do it before you’ve been together for a couple of years and I would say that 30 is probably a good age. I think it’s a really beautiful idea. I just think it’s tough. It’s a tough thing, and you have to be really thoughtful about it.

In your book, Jo is
always listening to her friends and her mother. Why couldn’t she hear her own voice?

Well I think her own voice was there for a very long time and just got tired of not being listened to. And I think it’s sometimes very hard to recognize what your voice is saying. And there are so many things coming at you every day that you don’t really pay enough attention. I really pay attention to my own voice now. I quietly sit someplace and try to figure out what I’m thinking and what I’m saying but it takes a very long time to hear it. But everyone has their own voice. Jo’s voice kind of went into retirement because it was tired of not being listened to.

How do you write about an intense issue like Jo’s depression while incorporating humor?
   
I did shed a lot of tears. I can’t say that I didn’t. I really did cry a lot through it. But there’s this “poor me, poor me,” thing going through my head and who wants to read about “poor me”? You know, it’s kind of a drag, so I do try to keep it readable — but without being all funny. It’s a life that you get sucked into by not following your true path and who you are. It was not all fun and games writing this book, there was a lot of emotion involved in it.


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