How to Transform Yourself into a Melancholy Woman from a Novel Set in the Jazz Age in Just Ten Easy Steps

Mary Siroky

1. Old money is your burden - distance yourself from it enough to rebrand as a freewheeling

woman, full of charm and zing, but not so much that you aren’t able to live in a lush,

cream-colored home on the water.

2. Speaking of that home: wander through the hallways wistfully, marveling to no one in

particular that if the house is so big, why is it that you feel so trapped?

3. Find an unlikely companion to keep by your side for at least the next few months. He could be a

new neighbor, a stranger from your husband’s past, or a third option. The opportunities are


4. At your annual summer party, known to be a roarin’ ruckus, have a little too much champagne

and climb onto a table. Throw your arms open to embrace the world and finally feel alive

again for the first time while your husband looks on with panicked embarrassment! After that

unlikely companion of yours reappears to help you upstairs and ensure that you get into bed

safely, not being forceful but still making a gesture to show his romantic feelings, be sure to

make a cryptic, sleepy remark along the lines of: “I don’t know darling, I just imagined this

would all be...better.” When he presses you to clarify what you mean, say, “Perhaps not better,


5. Be extremely classist. This one is easy!

6. Take frequent strolls along the beach well into the autumn season when those that stay for the

summer on holiday are long gone. The remaining neighbors will shudder at this quirky habit

and whisper amongst themselves while quietly wishing that they, too, could live with such


7. Just forget about the not one - but TWO - children that you have. They somehow won’t affect

you enough to ever be mentioned more than a handful of times.

8. Female friends? Who needs ‘em! As an independent woman, you are able to coast through life

in isolated whimsy. Perhaps your live-in cook, or your widowed cousin, or your cynical

compatriot from debutante days will make a rare appearance, but that is certainly it. Perhaps

her name is Cecelia.

9. Take part in sport. Join the gang at the local bowling alley and enthusiastically participate!

Your husband’s friends will tease him for his wife’s unladylike behavior. Naturally, you will

decide to make a farce of it, cracking jokes and teasing back about your wicked strike and sips

of illicit whiskey.

10. End your summer in self-destructive tragedy! Crash your car into a ditch, or reveal to your

husband the intimate details of an affair you’ve been carrying on right under his very nose.

Either way you will land in an asylum and all will be well.

Oh, the glamour of it all!

Mary Siroky is a creative living in Nashville, Tennessee. Her on-camera work can be found at and her fiction has been published in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.