I was so excited to announce the publication of Splitopia in March, after more than three years of working on it (and working on my decent divorce). I went to New York City for the first week of my book tour, and it was great, and a little weird. I was definitely out here, promoting my book about divorce as a divorced woman—as in, by myself. On my own. I felt a little like when I was twenty-three and had moved to Paris alone. Very solo. Free-flying. Grateful for the kindness of strangers and friends. And also, needing it.
I stayed at the lovely Flatiron apartment of the mother of a friend of my ex-husband's from elementary school. This seemed a good argument for getting along with your ex; you never know when he'll know someone you'd like to meet.
I had so much help from so many people over the three-plus years of writing the book, and I was keenly aware of the importance of friends and family in all major life transitions, from divorce to launching a book. The week before I left for New York, a newish LA friend, Sandra Barron, came over at night to help me with the incredibly tedious task of uploading details about my Austin reading onto a handful of local news outlets. Colette Yosef gathered a posse of women to come to my house for a practice reading. Rebecca Cullen said, "Oh you should stay with my mother in New York! Her apartment is great and you'll love her."
One night, while I was doing a radio call-in show from my place, my son quietly tiptoed into the living room when I was being interviewed, handed me a copy of my book, and tiptoed back out. "In case you need to look at it," he mouthed, before resuming his own project of building a ramp for cars from blocks in his bedroom.
I write about the importance of social connections in divorce in Splitopia—and also the real discomfort and awkwardness I felt with my own friendship circle after divorce. The weeks of my book tour really brought home this truth. We live in a web of social connections and family ties, and it's good to have a chance to reflect on how valuable they are.
On Day Two of my book tour, I stopped to thank my mother, Joy Paris. Sheri Fink. Sandra Barron. Colette Yosef. Abby Ellen. Stephanie Goldenthal and Rebecca Cullen. Sue Shapiro. Gretchen Rubin. Kathryn Bowers. Katherine Zoepf, Tyler Bugg, Anne-Marie Slaughter and the whole team at New America. Jin Yu, Leslie Meredith and the team at Simon & Schuster. Kimberly Witherspoon, Lena Yarbrough and the team at Inkwell. Naomi Cahn in Washington D.C. George Prochnik. David Callahan. My yoga instructor, Matthew Reyes, and many more . . .
* A version of this post originally appeared on Wendy Paris's website, wendyparis.com.
Wendy Paris is the author of Splitopia: Dispatches from Today's Good Divorce and How to Part Well (Simon & Schuster/Atria, 2016). Splitopia and her work on divorce have been covered by The New York Times, Real Simple, The Washington Post, The New York Post, The Globe & Mail, Psychology Today, The Houston Chronicle, Salon.com, Parents.com, Family Law Quarterly, PsychCentral.com and radio and TV shows nationwide. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and is an advocate for family law reform. She is divorced, and lives in Santa Monica, California, a few blocks from her former husband, with whom she has a warm co-parenting relationship.