Yesterday we had the review of Sandi Gelles-Cole's Memoir of Marilyn Monroe and today we have a Guest Post on what inspired her to write a What-If on Marilyn Monroe's life ?
Guest Post : Why Marilyn ? By Sandi Gelles-Cole
I have to say THE MEMOIR OF MARILYN MONROE is something that happened to me rather than the other way around. I was 12 when Marilyn died. I have never been a Monroe fan or even a celebrity watcher. I don’t think I’ve seen more than two or three of her movies.
But I am an avid reader and if I am not reading, I am in my car listening to a book on CD. I checked out Donald Spoto’s biography on Marilyn from the local library. I listened to it then I listened to it again, transfixed, not by Marilyn Monroe but by the woman who came through beneath the blinding star.
Marilyn is just like me, I kept thinking. My beautiful mother, may she rest in peace, always used to say to me ‘there is not enough love in the world for you’ and she was right. When it comes to assurance and security, I am a bottomless pit no matter what I succeed at or how wonderful my husband is, there is always a hungry heart there wanting more.
And that was the woman I related to that was inside Monroe. So I kept reading. Around 2006 I must have heard that her 80th birthday was coming and this book occurred to me just like that-what if she didn’t die? What would Marilyn’s life have been like?
Alternate history, that’s what I call it, a fictionalized memoir of a woman who, like me, drank too much and married men for the wrong reasons. A woman who could not leave her dressing room because what she saw in the mirror was not reality, but a distortion; like a lot of women, Marilyn never saw her own beauty, she looked to the outside world to know who she was. Then when she became successful, the studio and the other people living off her success wanted to keep her where she was.
It took me so many years to truly understand “my” Marilyn that she was turning 85 rather than 80 by the time the memoir was finished. She and I traveled together through five decades that moved Marilyn Monroe to adopt the name of her character in Bus Stop, Cherie Stoppard, in order to go underground to create herself, become balanced and grounded, see her own beauty, and finally find the partner who could love her enough.
I have grown to identify with this woman so much. Believe me, I am no sex goddess. I am a senior citizen, 5’1 and shrinking every year from osteoporosis. I never had to hide from the world because I was famous, but I have worn costumes and hidden behind masks to please other people or get to where I wanted to go. Through Monroe’s memoir of her growth and a life lived with all its complications I have spied the woman I might be if I follow her path.
You can learn more about the book — and read an excerpt — at www.TheMemoirOfMarilyMonroe.com .
I hope you enjoy her story. Writing it has changed my life.