My two-month hiatus has ended, you lovely faithful readers. But I’m going to write a blog only once a month from now on since I have to take care of my over-worked hands. However this August blog is very interesting as you will soon see.
GHOST CHAPTER – the final chapter that never materialized in “An Incident in the Family” is at the bottom of this blog.
I published the novel without the last chapter, and shot down my chance for the coveted Ribalow Prize sponsored by Hadassah.
Yes, I published the novel without the last chapter. ! Why? I was all used up (the blog membership had not grown; my novels were not selling well enough). I had become disenchanted, as had so many writers before me. I did not care anymore. What made them return to writing? I supposed they came around because the alternative to not writing was unbearable.
So then I wrote the novel “The Women Who Refuse to Grow Old”. Again I shorted the final chapter. One of my dedicated readers who reads all of my works wrote me: “What are you working on now? I need to read more of you.” When I told her how I was feeling and wanted to stop writing, she “begged” me, “implored me” not to stop. I wrote her, “I’ll send you my newest manuscript. It has not been published yet.”
She read “The Women Who Refuse to Grow Old” and loved it, but was not satisfied with the last chapter. I could see that she cared, so I cared again, and I wrote a final chapter to fit. She wrote back that it was “brilliant.”
Here were two novels that fizzled out for want of a satisfying last chapter. Both were signs to me that at best I wanted to write shorter works —which I am now doing. “The Man Who Never Marries” is the first of these.
However, if you own a copy of the originally published “An Incident in the Family,” you have a collector’s edition – as one does of the flawed limited edition of a postage stamp.
Here, then is the short concluding chapter to the “An Incident in the Family”:
But I knew Mr. Steinberg and I were not the principals in this scenario. My mother and I were. We would talk – finally.
She started it. “Do you blame me, Tamma?”
“For what?” I asked.
“For marrying your father.”
“I can’t sit in judgment of you, Mother. I took my own chances in my own marriages.”
“Would you have taken the chance I took?” she asked, with her eyes everywhere but on mine.
“Mother, did you think you were taking a chance?”
“In my heart of hearts—I don’t know,” she said. “Perhaps I was so in love that I was blinded.”
“You paid too high a price,” I said.
“Yes,” she said almost inaudibly.
“But times were different,” I said, trying to come to her rescue. “One of my sons, both of them could have been born retarded even without the family history of incest.”
“But they were born normal.” She looked at me for a long time without speaking. Then she said, “Thank God.”
“Your father and sister are with God in Heaven.”
“What? You believe in God?”
“Do you have a better idea?”