We realized the other day that we never talked about why we named this blog “When The Flames Go Up,” and that you might be interested in that. So here’s the story:
We decided to write a blog together with a lot of trepidation. We’d written into our separation agreement that neither of us was allowed to talk about the other in any public forum. Which was, in hindsight, a little paranoid, but there had been a rash of divorcing couples who had done things like post each others’ match.com profiles online and make fun of them, and all kinds of stuff that was the online equivalent of taking a Louisville slugger to both headlights.
The problem, of course, is that I write an advice blog, and the whole focus of it is to give data points so people know a) they’re normal, and b) they could try something someone else has done and see if it works for them. So I’d been getting a lot of questions about things ranging from “How did you know?” to “How does your custody arrangement work?” to “Tell me our kids won’t be fucked up forever.” And not being able to give any of my own data points was killing me, because I felt like I was not being loyal to my readers when they needed me.
And it was beginning to feel like people thought something Really Bad had happened that we were hiding on purpose, and we didn’t want to have to keep assuring people that we weren’t trying to kill each other and they could still be friends with both of us.
So we decided to do the blog. And kind of circled around each other warily. We agreed that we’d alternate posts. And that we’d each show the other our posts before we posted them. (No absolute veto power, but we were trying to balance honesty with taking the high road.) And that if we got media requests we’d only do them together. And then we had to come up with a name.
It was all so predictable. I suggested things like “A Blog About Co-Parenting” and “It Could Suck More.” LOD suggested things like “Pooping In The Enameled Tub” and “An Obscure Reference No One Will Get.” We each rolled our eyes and thought about how glad we were not to be married to each other anymore and how in the hell was this blog going to work?
And then “Alive and Kicking” by Simple Minds rolled through my Pandora station. The whole song is about having it all and then having it all go away, and what do you do?
What you gonna do when things go wrong?
What you gonna do when it all cracks up?
What you gonna do when the love burns down?
What you gonna do when the flames go up?
And I realized that LOD and I were living the worst case scenario. We were married and we were a family, and then things went wrong. It all cracked up, and the love burned down.
And the blog was about what we were doing about that, living here in the worst-case scenario.
So I suggested “When The Flames Go Up” to LOD, and he got it immediately.
And that was the last time writing this blog was easy. But it’s worth it. Because who else gets to a) realize they’re living the worst-case scenario, and b) make something out of that that’s greater than the scenario suggests? I feel lucky in a lot of ways, but especially in being able to write about this together but separately. Thanks for reading.