Something I’ve Been Chewing On

I think that one of the things that I like so much about Roseanne is the feeling of reality of life in the middle class (and a little bit lower). That it’s not all bad, but it’s not the “fabulosity” that so many “reality” shows, and so many “documentaries” point out on countless channels. And even the “winning the lottery” season makes sense in that sometimes, you have dreams to help you escape from how bleak the real world can be. And finally, that writing transcends and documents the human condition, takes you away from it while allowing you to examine what happened and how you felt.

So I just thought that I would share the last monologue from the show with you.

“One often wonders where creative people get their inspiration. Actually, I found it’s all around you. Take Leon for instance. Leon is not really as cool as I made him. He’s the only gay guy I know who belongs to the Elks Club. Then there’s Scott–he really is a probate lawyer I met about a year ago and introduced to Leon. I guess I didn’t get too creative there.

“A lot of kids have called my son a nerd, but, as I told him, they called Steven Spielberg a nerd, too. A lot of times nerds are really artists who just listen to the beat of a different drum.

“My mom came from a generation where women were supposed to be submissive about everything. I never bought into that and I wish Mom hadn’t either. I wish she had made different choices. So, I think that’s why I made her gay. I wanted her to have some sense of herself as a woman. Oh yeah, and she’s nuts.

“My sister in real life, unlike my mother, is gay. She always told me she was gay, but for some reason I always pictured her with a man. She’s been my rock and I would not have it made this far without her.

“I guess Nancy’s kinda my hero, too, ‘cause she got out of a terrible marriage and found a great spiritual strength. I don’t know what happened to that husband of hers, but in my book, I sent him into outer space.

“When Becky brought David home a few years ago, I thought this is wrong–he was much more Darlene’s type. When Darlene met Mark, I thought he went better with Becky. I guess I was wrong, but I still think they’d be more compatible the other way around. So, in my writing I did what any good mother would do, I fixed it.

“I lost Dan last year when he had his heart attack. He’s still the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I go to sleep. I miss him.

“Dan and I always felt that it was our responsibility as parents to improve the lives of our children by fifty percent over our own. And we did. We didn’t hit out children as we were hit. We didn’t demand their unquestioning silence. And we didn’t teach our daughters to sacrifice more than our sons. As a modern wife, I walked a tightrope between tradition and progress and, usually, I failed by one outsider’s standards or another’s. But I figured out that neither winning nor losing count for women like they do for men. We women are the ones who transform everything we touch And nothing on earth is higher than that.

“My writing’s really what got me through the last year after Dan died. I mean, at first I felt so betrayed as if he had left me for another woman. When you’re a blue-collar woman and your husband dies, it takes away your whole sense of security. So I begin writing about having all the money in the world and I imagined myself going to spas and swanky New York parties just like the people on TV where nobody has any real problems and everything’s solved within thirty minutes. I tried to imagine myself as Mary Richards, Jeannie, That Girl, but I was so angry I was more like a female Steven Seagal wanting to fight the whole world.
For awhile I lost myself in food and a depression so deep that I couldn’t even get out of bed until I saw that my family needed me to pull through so that they could pull through. One day I actually imagined being with another man, then I felt so guilty I had to pretend it was for some altruistic reason.

“And then Darlene had the baby and it almost died. I snapped out of the mourning immediately and all of my life energy turned into choosing life. In choosing life, I realized that my dreams of being a writer wouldn’t just come true–I had to do the work. And as I wrote about my life, I relived it and whatever I didn’t like, I rearranged. I made a commitment to finish my story even if I had to write in the basement in the middle of the night while everyone else was asleep. But the more I wrote, the more I understood myself and why I had made the choices I made, and that was the real jackpot. I learned that dreams don’t work without action. I learned that no one could stop me but me. I learned that love is stronger than hate. And, most important, I learned that God does exist. He and/or She is right inside you underneath the pain, the sorrow, and the shame. I think I’ll be a lot better now that this book is done.”