Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
That's What She Said
You can also find Monica's writing here:
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Wednesday
Jul262006

Link Park

So. Another day. The Surge just left for Chicago. Then on to Nashville to record a soundtrack for an upcoming movie. The soundtrack is all Marah which will definitely be cool. I've heard some of the songs and they're amazing. Kind of a bluegrass, folky vibe.

Me? I'm just floating around. Still applying for jobs, exercising a lot (Did she type exercising? I know, it surprises me too!) I'm writing quite a bit. I decided I wasn't finished with The Girl Who. A very wise bestselling author as well as a lovely editor nudged me in a different direction. So I've decided to write about what I feared writing about. My childhood. Growing up Mormon. The scandal that rocked a small Mormon community:

"The church court sent Mom back into the lobby while they deliberated her fate. She sat there with Dad horrified by the speed at which her life had spiralled out of control. The minutes ticked by, the silence so loud it hurt her ears.
"Elaine. Craig. We've made a decision." My parents were called back before the court to hear the verdict.


My parent's divorce and what happened to my family afterward:
"Dad would call every now and again. But a telephone conversation with a child is like pulling teeth.
"How are you?"
"Fine."
"What did you learn in school today?"
"Nothing."
"Are you being a good girl?"
"I guess so."
"Is your slut Mom still dating that asshole?"
"I don't know."
"What do you mean, 'you don't know'?"
"I don't know."
"Where is she right now?"
"I don't know."
"Are you being smart with me?"
"No."
Dad sighs in exasperation. "Okay. I love you."
"I love you too." I replied automatically."


Unlocking secrets from my family's past:
"Dad, do you have life insurance?"
"Yep." He strokes his beard with the fingers of his right hand, a habit that has been with him for as long as I can remember.
"So we get lots of money when you die?"
"My life insurance policey is for 100,000 dollars. So split that three ways and that's what you get."
"Three ways? But you have four kids, Dad."
"I have three kids."
"What?" I am utterly bewildered.
"C'mon Monica. Quit being such an idiot. You know." My brother rolls his eyes from his throne, the passenger seat next to Dad.

But I really didn't know. Dad and Brandon, exchange looks. Two conspiring best buddies who apparently hold the keys to Pandora's Box. The box that contains all the bad secrets about my family. Things I didn't know about. Things I didn't want to hear."


And of course, what would a good Mormon memoir be without...Perverted bishops!:
"Soooo.." Bishop Johnson leans back in his office chair, adjusts his red and white striped tie, (like a candy cane, I think) and looks at me through lowered lids. "Your boyfriend stuck his finger in your vagina? How far did he stick his finger up?"
I'm startled by the directness of the question. The word 'vagina' slid easily out of his thin, sharp lips. But it didn't sound the same as when my health teacher said it in school. It sounded different. Bad. "Why do you need to know that?" I ask.
"Because I need to determine the gravity of your sin."


Anyway - so there's that.

On a side note - I have a set of blogs I read every day, websites I peruse etc.. I tend to come across some interesting stuff. So I've decided to add a links of the day page. Just funny, intruging bits I find on the web. If you have a favorite blog you've written or photo you've taken or you find an interesting blog/link/photo/news item feel free to email it to me. I may just throw it in the next set of "Link Park". Turn me onto new stuff, people! I'm unemployed! I got nothin' but time! Pimp your artistic endeavors! If I dig it, it'll go up.

Reader Comments (33)

Holy shit! I would buy that book in a second! The bishop sounds like the worst person ever. I have a great blog you should read? Where do we send a link to for the link park?
July 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
What's wrong with a representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints asking you how far a boy stuck his finger in your pussy? He is one of the mouth pieces for god; didn’t you know that, sillyhead? He was asking on behalf of god, so it could be said that the question was straight from god. Got it? God is curious about such things, sheesh.
July 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCL
My fiance' is Mormon, well, he's a bad Mormon really, he doesn't attend services. He does the whole caffine drinking thing, plays violent video games, and well, the premarital sex thing. His parents (mother and step-father) want me to become Mormon. This made my Episcopal (again, bad Episcopals) parents very upset, especially when his parents wanted me to commit to a baptism date ASAP and my parents happened to be out of town. I have had several of the "lessons" that they require of the potential "new members" and I just wasn't into it. I was never into religion as a whole. I've studied Wicca (he knows this, however his loving mother doesn't.) His mom just wants us to be able to be together in the afterlife as a family. His step-father wants my parents to have the "lessons". Yeah, that won't be happening. I've been to several church services and the people are awesome, just.. conforming to an organized religion, isn't really for me. Fortunately, David knows this and respects this.
July 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTangentism
Was hoping to make it to the show Friday night but am heading out of town. Shubas is a great venue to see a band. Small, dark, smokey, and drunkey. Damn I love that place! For some tasty late night burritos, tell the guys to go 1/2 block West on Belmont to Los Taqueirios Americanos. Follow the big neon American flag (as opposed to the big neon American fag--that's East on Belmont).
July 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterChicagoDave
I think it would be a great direction Monica! Have you talked to your parents about it? Just curious. My parents are devastated about some things I did when I was in my early twenties, they still don't want to hear about, much less read in a book. Just curious. Your mother is a gem of a woman and she will love you no matter what! Your dad seems to be the same way, plus he is good looking! LOL
I think it would be COOLIO if you became a famous writer!
July 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen
Fun Links:
AmblingAmply.SquareSpace.com
LithiumPicnic.com (fetish/goth photography)
July 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTangentism
I opened up the site and did a double take. Love the new look.

Yuo can always link to my blog, any day ;-) Shameless self-pormotion, I love it.

Monica, I honestly think every one of your stories is worth telling. Let them all come out.
July 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEDW
Wow! Love the new look. Glamorous New York girl. Link Park? It's not like I needed another reason to click into your blog a million times a day.
July 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGemma
Loving the new blog look -- looks cleaner!
July 26, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersandra
Good for you Monica...way to face your fears and put it ALL out there...as always it is an honour to look directly into your head...keep up the focus and the great writing!
July 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle
Love the new blog look! As always - your ability to tell the truth in a sadly humorous way is beautiful to read. Keep it up!
July 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAimee
i'm really very excited about buying your book when it hits stores! you are such a talented writer!

and i really hope that this did not sound like ass kissing ;)
July 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte
Hey... if you send me a link to a blog - send me the HTML link to either your favorite blog or your favorite page.. That way readers can get right to the good stuff.. Not that it all isn't "good stuff"... but you know what I mean
July 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
Like Michelle, I would buy this book immediately. Hell, I would pre-buy it. I've never been LDS, but I'm fascinated by the LDS culture. And your writing is just amazing. As is your photography. I don't comment because it makes me feel like I'm trying to join a cocktail party conversation with people who are much cooler than I am, and I know you can relate, so I just like to read. But I had to post here that I hope you pursue this. I would be first in line to buy it and I wish you the best. I think you probably have a fascinating future ahead of you.
July 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKDS
CL if your actually being serious in your comment then all I can think of is "How stupid are you?" I mean seriously God knows every thing already, it's not like this man (who by the way is totally awful from the sound of it!) and God sit down to tea every night and this man gives him a play by play of questions he asked. Sheesh.
July 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMeDumbfounded
No worries MeDumbFounded - CL is being very sarcastic. He's around these parts a lot - it took me awhile to get his humor. But I take it he is a recovering Mormon like Monica which actually makes his comment pretty funny. Anyway, it's always nice to see new commenters!
July 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAimee
hey monica, hope you doing ok with your man leaving again..my long-distance love has just gone back to his home country last week after a three week visit and I know how much the first week sucks. It all sucks really. But that first week when the memories are still fresh and the sheets still smell of him can be a killer. Hope you holding up ok. And good on you with the book decision (although I am still hanging out for the Misfit Society!).
July 27, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteramy dee
Website looks great! I like these colors much better. Your book needs to be written - just keep at it.
July 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSloopy
Love the new look, Monica.

Here is a link to one of my favorite photo blogs... the guy does some incredible post processing on his photos.

http://www.j-roumagnac.net/index.php

July 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStFarmer

Thanks StFarmer! It'll go up tomorrow. Again, anybody feel free to email me links. All the time. I'm hoping to compile an interesting set of new links every day that may help you pass that boring period after you wake up and before you can legitimately begin drinking.. you know - between 9AM and 5PM.. There will be some regular links like the Urban Dictionary Word of the Day (today's is a good one!) and Weird But True.. other than that.. it's whatever I find on the web that tickles my fancy. If you link me to the favorite blog you've written - it automatically goes up whether I like it or not (and I'm sure I'll LOVE it). Spreadin' the blog love and all.

July 27, 2006 | Registered CommenterMonicaBielanko
Wow StFarmer...I went to your link and your photos are incredible! Is that what you do for a living or are you just passionate about photography? My photos are never as vivid as those.....well done, I really enjoyed browsing through and being late for work!
July 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle
Okay wait I am an IDIOT!!! I just realized that you wrote this:

"Here is a link to one of my favorite photo blogs... the guy does some incredible post processing on his photos".

That is awesome...today I am illiterate!

July 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle
Even though I am the furthest thing from naive, your stories seem James Frey-ish to me; they are unbelievable to a point where I often ask myself, “does this really happen?”

The writings of the Girl Who are didactic.
July 27, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterleggo
To be honest, the stories to me don't seem so extraordinary as to be unbelievable. I guess it's because it's my past so I often worry that it's so boring nobody would be interested to read a book about it.

My husband is continually amazed by the stories I tell (particularly the Mormon related variety) so much so that he's a bit of a Mormon history buff at this point (which is annoying!) He's currently reading a biography on Joseph Smith. He's always urging me to "write about that. It seems normal to you but trust me, it's not!" Anyway, Mom reads the blog every day and would totally call me out if I started making shit up, particularly in regard to her or Mormonism..
July 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
Well look at Aimee sticking up for the ol’ CL, thanks.

St. Farmer, I think those photos actually moved me, is that possible?

MeDumbfounded, I will expound upon my sarcasm simply because I want to, and quite frankly I enjoy crushing the beliefs of all who may still cling to some blind conviction in this god figure and claim authority on its behalf. I suppose I could start by laying out the history of organized religion as a whole but I will spare everyone the details but ask all to think about the history of every ancient and modern war and take a look at the reasons for the conflict. Most likely the wars started because someone in power (King, Monarch, Baron, Caesar, Caliph, Maharajah, Majesty, or Mikado) decided they wanted to expand their influence and wealth and what better way than to invade your neighbor. Of course, as a ruler you need the support of your people and how do you do that? You tell them god hates everyone that doesn’t believe as you do and god wants you to kill them. You tell the people to cut off their head and pike ‘em for the buzzards, or just burn them alive because he doesn’t want you to spill heathen blood. Either way, someone’s gotta die for your god.

When all the non-believers are either dead or converted the king may sit back fat and happy for the time being.

Hell, I could go on for a while but I am tiring of this topic so just let me leave you with this: There are 7 billion people on the planet, the main religions claim god only speaks to their chosen ones (Prophet, Buddha, etc.) so my point is this: Why would I listen to anyone, anywhere claiming to speak for god on my behalf? Am I any less capable of receiving enlightenment?

That’s all. Don’t put any more fucking quarters in the machine.
July 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCL
Richelle,

I wish those were my photos!

I ran across that website when I was researching a camera to buy someone as a gift. That guy uses a Nikon D200 and it is the camera I ended up buying. The photos from the person I gave the camera to aren't quite that good yet. A lot of what makes good digital photography is in the photo editing.
July 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStFarmer
HMMM.. "your mother is a gem of a woman and would love you no matter what. Your dad seems to be the same way, plus he is goodlooking." Isn't that pretty much the same as being lined up with someone...."oh you'll like her, she has a really great personality." Thanks Jen. uh, nope, don't want to hear any backpeddlin'. it's already out there.
July 27, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermama
Oh, Mama, that was funny! I am laughing out loud here at work. Very bad.

You know we love you!
July 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEDW
Like the new site much better than the old!
July 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRaj
Hey,

I stop by daily to see what's going on with the Girl Who and I cast my worthless vote heartily in the direction of telling your story. The real one. With the Mormon stuff and all. Because while it may not seem strange at all to you, as you lived it, it is fascinating to all of us.

It's a real, bonafide motherfucker of a story to tell and I think you can make people laugh and cry and help lots of people along the way. And like you said, your Mama is there to keep you real.

After you put some of The Girl Who snippets in here yesterday, I put this on the top of my daily stops lists, because dis sum good shit, and not in a trainwreck sort of way. In a real life, this happens to people and they live to tell about and become incredibly beautiful and talented sort of way.

Carry on. Love it.

Susanna
July 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSusanna
I really like the new layout! Please keep writing. Enjoy reading every day!!Hilarious and very well written.
July 27, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkaren h
Hmmm...Oopsie...CL I think I fell alseep during the middle of reading your post. lol

Anyways, long time reader second time poster. :)
Seriously interesting blog!
July 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMeLostForAnAnswer

i just got hooked to your blog over the weekend. . . .did you ever get published? as a recovering mormon myself, i'd love to read your book!

April 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterme

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