This Blog Was Ghostwritten by Stephen King
If you happened to read my Twitter feed over the weekend, then you know -- a lot happened between seasons. Life keeps rolling after the cameras stop, and it impacts our relationships on screen. Andy often says in interviews that Housewives, off-camera, are pretty much the same as they are on and it’s true.
You probably guessed this -- my friendship with Aviva was nearly non-existent already when we met for lunch at the St. Bart's café. (I should have known. As we learned, nothing good comes out of St. Bart's.)
I can't pretend to feel something I don’t (ask my ex-boyfriends). I'm a lot of things but not a liar or a phony, even when I know it's in my best interest to be. I'm no actress, either, or I would have acted like Aviva and I were old friends catching up over iced tea in that first scene, which is what she wanted to do. Instead, I frowned so much that after watching the episode I ran straight to my dermatologist!
This Isn't About Writing, It's about Lying
All that talk of moving men, glasses, and copyediting made me cringe. I couldn't stop shoving bread in my mouth. This might be the most awkward lunch since President Bush vomited at a banquet with the Japanese Prime Minister!
I don’t really care that, as Aviva said, she "single white femaled" me and I don't care that Aviva had a ghostwriter. No one does. The only person who seems to care is Aviva. I think its great if anyone gets published these days. Publishing is a tough business. Remember what I said about LuAnn's book last season. I'm nothing if not consistent. And I didn't even like her much then! [Spoiler alert: Now I love her.]
So this isn't about books, it's about behavior. I can't understand why Aviva is so set on being dishonest when it's much easier to tell the truth. It's common procedure in the industry for people with little or no professional writing experience to get a book deal because of their profile, and then hire a writer.
(Although I know which ghostwriter Aviva worked with, out of professional courtesy to the writer and to Aviva's publisher, I'm not going to name her. But she is well-known in the industry and has penned many books, including several by reality stars.)
Aviva was looking for a way to promote her book on the show, I get that. She knew that by engaging me in a drama about writing she'd get a lot of attention, which she did. There is nothing the Bravo likes more than a Housewife talking about another Housewife behind her back, again and again and again. So if I helped Aviva sell some books, that's great. It's not how I would have done it. But I'm sure my Thank You note's in the mail.
Who Drew First Blood?
I know it's dramatic, but like an extra on Game of Thrones, Aviva told Heather that it was. . .I who drew first blood!
I did? Here's what happened, it's simple. Aviva asked me to vet a ghostwriter for her, a woman her publisher suggested. So I did. During our lunch at St. Bart's I asked her about it, during a long conversation we were having about writing. "Did you end up hiring the writer?" Those are the words that launched Bookgate. I had no idea she was going to lie to me and say she didn't use one. Had she been honest I would have supported her whole-heartedly, as I did when she signed her book deal, and that would have ended what was already an awkward scene.
Instead, she said she wrote the book herself. As she described it, it was fun, like "writing a long email." Ouch! No offense to long-emailers but writing a book is nothing like that.
As you can see in the scene from my blank stare, I was puzzled. She was lying and I could have said, right then, "That's not true. You went through two writers before you found one who would work with you. Your contract was close to being canceled. . .for failure to deliver." I could have run to everyone else on the show with gossip about her. I didn't. Instead, I said nothing.
Let's be clear: Me asking her about a ghostwriter (a woman she wanted to hire, who we had talked about) is not the same as her asking me. I am by profession a writer, she knows that, and she is not.
Aviva acts ignorant of all of this as if she is -- Surprise, Surprise -- the victim. Please. Get over yourself. In typical Aviva fashion she goes on and on and on. First telling Ramona, then Heather, and then Sonja and Kristen.
Bitch in the Whine Shop
Even Ramona, who has seen her fair share of drama, is confused with this new absurdity.
To cover up her fake story, Aviva behaves like a seven-year-old. She makes up a distraction story. She says: She didn’t have to hire a ghostwriter. But guess who did? Carole! And Aviva even knows his name! Imagine that. This whole time, I could have had someone else writing my books/columns/articles while I took kickboxing classes, or learned Mah Jongg.
What Aviva keeps calling "silly show drama" is called something else by the legal community -- Slander. Slander is serious business. If she were a lawyer as she claims then she would know that. I'll rely on the intelligence of the audience to see through what she is doing. I think she makes it easy.
Unlike Aviva, the wine from Provence explodes, but then settles down. And I'm still waiting for my bottle of Bitch wine.
It Doesn’t Take A Village to Write Book, It Takes a Writer.
It was eye-opening to see that Aviva not only has little respect for me, specifically, but she has even less for working women in general. Instead of celebrating our accomplishments, she belittles them. She does exactly what she accuses me of doing. I have the utmost respect for the life choices she's made, I think she's raised a beautiful family. I have never spoken negatively about her life's work. Yet she feels it's okay to slander my writing career, reduce my decades-long news career to "a few essays," and dismiss Heather’s multi-million dollar fashion company as "fat-binding pantyhose."
Same lie again, now to Heather. Did you see it? Don't blink, it's quick because she instantly changed the subject to. . .you guessed it! "Carole's ghostwriter." Aviva "typed and wrote and consulted" all by herself. Hmm. Typing and writing are, I believe, the same thing. As for consulting, writers don’t do much consulting. They're busy writing and drinking.
Like I said, "The woman is deranged."
Housewarming Party From Hell
I didn’t want to go to Aviva's house but. . .
I even brought a bottle of tequila because I'd heard she and Ramona reconciled over her newfound love of tequila!
But before we get to the Hellish part, how much did you love Heather's dress? She's showing Aviva's image consultant friend. She has a Housewarming Dress! And if she's not in the mood to wear her Housewarming Dress, she won't. That is the only line in the entire show that still makes me laugh.
I love Heather for taking on Crazy. She gets it. She, too, has spent 20 years building a career. Speaking of careers -- Sonja, love you, but I have the time to write a book because it's a job. I write and companies pay me for it. That's how jobs work. (Except for this blog, which Bravo gets for free!)
Kristin might not be the sharpest tool in the shed, as she jokes, but she nails it. She explains that in modeling there is one model; like in publishing, there is one writer. Okay, she loses me there in the end, but for the most part she is the only one who makes sense.
As usual, Ramona is stirring the pot. I don’t blame her. She's just a pawn in Aviva's sideshow. And then, yep, I take the bait. Aviva poked and poked until I lost it. I don’t care if she rearranges her own reality, but I care if she rearranges mine. I get mad. Really mad. White! Hot! Mad!
Oh no, she’s heard things! Big bad things! Do you get the feeling that sometimes the only thing Aviva hears are voices in her head?
(And why does she keep pushing the pasta?)
Maybe I am John Grisham! It took him three years to finish his first novel and guess what? It was rejected by 30 publishers and had to be overhauled. Imagine that! He re-wrote and re-wrote until he got it. Wait, maybe I’m Stephen King. He chucked his first novel in the garbage then fished it out, overhauled it, and called it "Carrie."
Before I leave you lovelies (are you still there?) let’s do a quick pop-review:
1. Aviva Says: Bill Whitworth ghostwrites my books.
The Truth: Bill Whitworth is a real person, and an editor. He's not a writer and he's not a ghostwriter -- not mine or anyone else's. He's retired now, after a long and distinguished career, but still considered one of the best and most respected editors in the business. Bill makes a cameo on the show!
2. Aviva Says: Her "Publishing House" passed on my novel.
The Truth: They didn't pass, they made an offer. They were one of six publishers who bid on it, but they lost in a heated auction.
3. Aviva Says: Her "Publishing House" told her I hired a ghostwriter.
The Truth: Houses can't talk. Aviva hired a ghostwriter. I have a professional relationship with her "Publishing House" and no one there told her my books are ghostwritten. No one wants to talk to Aviva about anything – surprise, surprise.
Maybe the night watchman told her? Maybe it was the voices in her head. Let’s hope they don’t tell her to burn down the gymnasium.
Buy Widow's Guide here.