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adrift… unmoored, aimless, disoriented

In her twenties Megan Danner wrote three novels that found both critical and popular acclaim. She was regaled by the literary world and appeared on The Today Show and Oprah Winfrey. She lived in New York City and traveled the world. Life was good.

At 30 she married. At 31 she had a daughter. At 32 she found out she was pregnant with twins. She and her husband moved to the suburbs. Near Mom.

Megan the novelist slowly began to drift, to disappear. When we lose our bearings, when those we trust betray us, when our dreams begin to die… the sane turn mad. The sweet turn bitter. The contented turn violent.

Megan has now been saddled with a decade-long writer’s block. It was, she believes, brought on by marriage, three kids, relentless domestic drudgery, stress, inertia, way too much time with Mom, and finally the proverbial straw that has, just recently broken the camel’s–Agnes’–back.

Plots are being hatched. Characters are being torn asunder. All hell is about to break loose.

adrift is the story of one woman’s efforts to take control of her life, only to discover control is, at best, a shadowy and elusive illusion.

Author’s View

Thomas William Simpson headshot

I have witnessed more than once the disintegration of a middle class American marriage. It is not a pretty sight. There are three primary causes for marital disintegration–money, incompatibility, and the granddaddy of them all: infidelity.

Ah, infidelity. Temptation. Doubtful man was designed to be permanently attached to one woman. It seems so unnatural. A man produces billions of sperm in his lifetime. He seems designed to spread his seed. Every woman a man sees who he finds attractive conjures up thoughts of sexual conquest. If it was socially acceptable a healthy man would undoubtedly have sex three or four times a day, even with complete strangers.

Ernie ‘Mac’ MacLeod and Megan Danner MacLeod have been married for just over a decade when our story opens. They have three young kids and live in an old Victorian in a leafy New Jersey suburb.

There is a lot of muted discontent, anger, and animosity.

By far the biggest source of trouble is Megan’s flagging career as a novelist. Once the three kids are old enough to attend full-time school, Megan makes the decision to resurrect her career. In short, she wants her old life back.

Mac is not exactly overjoyed with his wife’s desire.

adrift is the story of a marriage in crisis. The novel raises the basic philosophical question: should the individual pursue his or her dreams and passions or should the individual succumb to the social forces of responsibility and commitment?

We all struggle with this question.

We want to pursue our own individual desires, but we also feel the need to conform to social norms, ie., to be good spouses, parents, neighbors, citizens; to be part of the whole. This is why so many of us, like Megan, feel adrift, unmoored, detached, aimless, disoriented.

Life is short, and filled with pitfalls that can cut it even shorter. I believe if we have true passion we must pursue our dreams.

But if we pursue our dreams there will inevitably be consequences. adrift delves into how harrowing those consequences can be.