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An Ancient Coda To My 21st-Century Divorce | With Amy Landecker20:51
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David Chelsea for The New York TimesMoreCloseclosemore
David Chelsea for The New York Times

After a divorce, it can feel like the last thing you want to do is revisit the past. But a ritual forced Cindy Chupack to do just that. She writes about it in her essay, "An Ancient Coda to My 21st Century Divorce." It's read by Amy Landecker, who is best known for her work in Amazon's "Transparent."

Where Are They Now?

Cindy Chupack says that she did wonder a little about her ex-husband's sexuality before they were married, especially when he told her that he sometimes noticed men, even though he would never act on it.

"That was enough to bother me," she says. "And I talked to my friend Julie, and I said, 'What do you think of that? Is that something I should worry about?' And she had this whole theory of the spectrum of sexuality, and everyone lies somewhere along this spectrum. And later she realized she was gay. So everywhere we turned for advice were people struggling with the same thing, was the bottom line of it."

Eventually, Cindy did tell her ex about what the rabbi had said about him and his family.

"What was surprising and sad and revealing to me was that he wasn’t as surprised," she says. "He just said, 'That’s what happens. That’s how it is.' And that resignation, that you’re going to face that sort of homophobia in all different places and aspects of your life, it’s partly what made me want to write this. Because it felt so shocking to me, and it was not surprising to him."

"In writing the piece, I felt that it was such a valentine to what we'd been through, and that I was completely forgiving and actually appreciative of what he had to do, the strength it took to admit it — and I wrote it with that intent."

Cindy does have one takeaway from all of this:

“I now know, if a man is wondering if he might be gay, um — just assume he is. That’s just a good — that’s a good rule.”

Voices in this Episode

Courtesy Amy Landecker
Courtesy Amy Landecker

Amy Landecker recently completed production on the third season of the Amazon Original Series “Sneaky Pete”, where she willrecur opposite Giovanni Ribisi. Landecker is known for her portrayal of Sarah Pfefferman on the award-winning Amazon original series “Transparent,” created by Jill Soloway, also starring Jeffrey Tambor, Jay Duplass, Judith Light and Gaby Hoffman. Other television credits include: “Room 104”, “Louie,” “Revenge,”“House M.D.,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “House of Lies.”

Landecker is set to begin production on the upcoming feature filmUNTITLED ROGER AILES PROJECT from Director Jay Roachand Academy Award winning screenwriter Charles Randolph. Additional film credits include: A KID LIKE JAKE, an independent drama also starring Claire Danes and Jim Parsons, based on a celebrated Lincoln Center play, BEATRIZ AT DINNER, opposite Salma Hayek and John Lithgow, THE HUNTER’S PRAYER with Sam Worthington; BABYSITTER; THE MEDDLER with Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne; PROJECT ALMANAC; ENOUGH SAID with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini; ALL IS BRIGHT with Paul Giamatti and Paul Rudd; Joel and Ethan Coen’s A SERIOUS MAN and DAN IN REAL LIFE with Steve Carell, among others.

In 2017 Landecker made her directorial debut with “Transparent: The Lost Sessions,” a 10-episode offshoot of comedic shorts for Funny or Die using Jill Soloway's world of Pfeffermans and the cast of characters surrounding the often-dysfunctional family.

Amy Landecker began her career in Chicago as an intern at the Steppenwolf Theatre, where she later went on to perform, in addition to The Goodman and the Public Theatre in NY. She won an Obie Award for her work in Tracy Lett’s Bug at the Barrow Street Theatre.

Cindy Chupack (Credit: Bradley Rogne)
Cindy Chupack (Credit: Bradley Rogne)

Cindy Chupack has won two Emmys and three Golden Globes as a TV writer/producer whose credits include “Divorce,” “Better Things,” “Modern Family,” “Sex and the City,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and most recently the darkly comic Showtime hour “I’m Dying Up Here” about standup comics in Los Angeles in the 70s.  This year she directed an episode of “I’m Dying Up Here," which marked her television directing debut, and she also directed her first movie this summer in New York, a story about mothers and their adult sons called OTHERHOOD (starring Angela Bassett, Felicity Huffman, and Patricia Arquette), which will be released on Mother’s Day 2019 on Netflix. Cindy is also the author of two comic memoirs: the New York Times bestseller The Between Boyfriends Book: A Collection of Cautiously Hopeful Essays, and The Longest Date: Life as a Wife (which includes a longer version of this Modern Love essay).

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"An Ancient Coda to my 21st Century Divorce by Cindy Chupack © 2014. Excerpt re-read with the permission of Brilliance Audio. All rights reserved. Audiobook available at brillianceaudio.com and amazon.com." 

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