Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Michael’s Diary, April 5, 2016

Michael’s Diary

April 5, 2016


Finally the Dingle lawsuit has been settled.  My first book, Stone Season, has proved to be my costly book.  My publishers, Reiner and Browne have told me that I need to look for a new publisher.   I'm slow to criticize, to anger and to condemn; but my publishers stink. 


The worst part is I loved Agnes Dingle.  I even saved her life back in 2004 when I called her house and when she didn’t answer, I called for help for her.   You would think if you saved someone’s life, it would mean something.  I never thought there would be any trouble with my fictionalized version of her life in Stone Season.  I changed her name to Sheilagh Shaughnessy and her husband’s name to Harvey Rood in the book and you would think that would be enough to protect me from lawsuits.  Agnes (or rather her money-hungry children) seemed to believe that if I was making hundreds of thousands of dollars off her story, then they should get a cut too, as if that’s fair.  I was the one who wrote the book.  I was the one who saved the manuscript from the fire. 


Her lawyers agreed with her and so did the judge.  I was starting to realize that my book had gotten out of my control. Meetings about the direction of the trial didn’t include me – even though I was the sole person who wrote the book.  I was under a tremendous amount of stress at the time.  My publisher told me that I did not have a leg to stand on when Mrs. Dingle produced her diary and found it matched the text in my book.  It didn’t really match.  I changed the names, darn it.  If this wasn’t bad enough, she told my publisher and other people in the courtroom this “news,” too.  Every time she quoted something from her diary, it was sign of my public damnation.


Even my old housemates, Jodi and Kit, testified about how they had caught me copying Mrs. Dingle’s diary.  I went on a date with Jodi once and you would think that would count for something.  Kit was always kind of a bitch, so no surprise there.  I don’t know what the big deal is.  Everyone copies. 


Only Jo stood beside me.  Even though he has a successful career and was out of the country on an assignment, the world famous Josef Weeder came to give me his support.   That’s what a true friend does.  In all the years I've known my friend, Weed has never been vindictive.  Deanna is a good wife, but what I didn’t need to hear from her was, “Do I need to get my job back at the pharmacy?”


Jo Weeder was with me.  What a great night to celebrate us.  We didn't get drunk like we thought we would. We didn't get raucous or silly. We didn't sing.  It was a late but sober night. Jo Weeder and I seconded ourselves in an all-night café.  We couldn't get enough time together. We couldn't get enough of the joy that comes from being with someone who knew you when - and loved you when, and can laugh now at everything. It wasn't a reunion, it was a communion of souls, of spirits, of like minds.  It was four in the morning when Weed and I unlocked the door to our room and fell into bed.  Afterwards, Jo fell asleep instantly. I listened to him breathing and remembered the times we'd slept together on dorm room floors and apartment hallways after an evening at the pub at university.


The sheets felt cool and comfortable. The pillow just right.  As I drifted off to sleep, I hoped with all my heart that we would keep in touch, somehow. The experience of losing a lawsuit is definitely enjoyable...if you share it with a true friend!





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