Meet Margaret Meyer

May 20, 2024 by Ruth F Stevens

Margaret (“Mar”) Meyer—engineering journal editor, fitness enthusiast, and youthful-looking 50-year-old—is cranky, quirky, and often disappointed in the people around her. Picture the temperament of Olive Kitteridge in the body of Sutton Foster! She’s the narrator of My Year of Casual Acquaintances, my upcoming women’s/contemporary/ humorous/book club fiction novel. 
 

When we meet Mar, whose husband has recently divorced her for another woman, she’s abandoned everything in her past: her home, her friends, even her name. Though it's not easy starting over, she’s youthful-looking, fit, and ready for new adventures—as long as she can keep things casual. Each month, Mar goes from one acquaintance to the next. She learns from each encounter. But can she open herself up to true connection?
 

Rather than say more, I’ll let Mar take over. These snippets from the book will shed light on our heroine’s tastes and opinions. Without further ado, here’s what Mar thinks about…

 

Her ex-husband’s annoyingly sweet girlfriend Alice

 

“I envision her on her birthday, receiving an avalanche of Hallmark cards festooned with adorable kittens or sprays of colorful spring blooms . . . The few cards I get invariably feature cartoon figures who are swearing, farting, or giving someone the finger. Sometimes all three. That’s the difference between Alice and me.”
 

Meditation

 

“I respect people who meditate, the same way I respect people who never touch alcohol. Both are admirable practices I have no intention of pursuing myself.”

 

Her new casual acquaintance, Whitney

 

“She doesn’t carry much baggage or wield much intellectual heft. In short, she is exactly the kind of person I want to associate with. Fun, fun, fun, with no commitments—that’s what I want my life to be now.”

 

Broadway musicals
 

“Sondheim, Rodgers & Hart—thumbs up. Disney musicals— thumbs down.”


Jazz

 

“I hope the musical entertainment will be something improvisational—maybe classic jazz or blues. Please, God, anything but smooth jazz, which grates on me like elevator music.”

 

Reinventing herself 

 

“Instead of throwing away my past, maybe this can be more of a winnowing process. Maybe I can find a way to sift through the good and bad parts of my previous life and hold on to the things that are worth keeping.”

 

Her sex life

 

“Superficial one-night stands might have been okay for Henry on his out-of-town trips, but they are not okay for me. Trouble is, I’m not sure what is okay for me anymore, not sure how to plot a safe course.”

 

Looking youthful

 

“I wish I could offer some pearls of wisdom on personal maintenance, like get a lot of sleep and drink plenty of water. But the truth is, I’m not much of a sleeper and I drink more wine than water.”

 

Cookies

 

“To my disappointment, the cookies are ginger snaps, which I’ve always regarded as more of a punishment than a treat, surpassed only by graham crackers in their lack of appeal.”

 

Guilt

 

”I am sick and tired of guilt. It’s such a useless, exhausting emotion.”

 

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

 

“This has become an all too familiar catchphrase during the past year. But I never expected to utter these words to a dog.”

 

Restaurants

 

“To my mind, any restaurant that serves its white wines too cold and its reds too warm might as well hang out a sign that says, Mediocrity rules here, or maybe even, we don’t know what the f--- we’re doing, but we do it with a smile.”