Guest: Cavanaugh Lee

After graduating top of her high school class in San Francisco, Cavanaugh Lee decided to “go for it” and moved to Los Angeles to become an actress. After graduating from UCLA School of Theatre, she worked steadily as a “wactress” (waitress/actress) for four years, writing and producing an autobiographical play called ROCKSTARNERD and authoring a screenplay. True love (or so she thought) then led her to the deep south of Mississippi, but when that relationship crashed and burned, she changed course and soon found herself graduating from UNC Law School. Now, by day, she works as a federal prosecutor where she puts the bad guys behind bars. She writes, of course, by night. After recently toying in the world of cyber-dating, finding true love, becoming engaged, and then becoming unengaged (yes, he’s got the ring, she’s got the dress), she decided to parlay her modern romance experiences into a hilarious, heart wrenching novel that all young women will relate to and enjoy. Oh, and by the way, this girl’s still very single, so count on a sequel!

Learn more about Cavanaugh at

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Sent: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 12:13 pm
From: Marty
To: Izabell
Subject: Here Goes Nothing…

Now you know: You ARE the List.

(Pause for dramatic effect.)

Does that hinder men and women from being friends? 🙂 That is the million-dollar question from Monday night. Worth 500 points (this way, you win me all in one fell swoop).

You were right to call me out. I do think that Men and Women can be friends. I really do have several girlfriends that I have zero interest in dating. Of course, my other girlfriends don’t e-mail me ten times a day or ask me to “rescue them.” My other girlfriends don’t get movie quotes from such films as Casablanca or Lost in Translation. My other girlfriends don’t share my interest in writing novels, sailing on pirate ships, and serenading random people in the park. Perhaps I was asking “can Iz and Marty be (merely) friends?”

You once said to me:

I want what my parents have. After thirty-eight years, they still have date nights on Fridays and go to jazz clubs, wine bars, movies, etc. And, they can really talk to each other – you know? – they talk to each other, and they say what they mean. They’re just the best. I want THAT, or nothing at all.

What does it say about someone when it takes him TWO years to tell you how he feels about you? You deserve to be told how incredible you are EVERY day, from Day 1. Because you ARE incredible… You ARE the List.

So, how does my Rom-Com end? Does the incredible girl on the street end up making the crazy choice to follow her heart over her head? Perhaps this letter is my version of John Cusack flying to California to find his Kate Beckinsale in Serendipity… Perhaps I am absolutely crazy and this is the end of “Iz and Marty” as we know it… Perhaps it only happens in the movies, and a hopeless romantic really is hopeless… Or, perhaps I know you better than you think.

Shut up and deal.


* * * * *

As you can see from the heading, Martin (“Marty”) from my novel, Save as Draft, figured “here goes nothing” when he sent this email to Izabell (“Iz”). He obviously had a lot to say. And, more important, he actually said it. He didn’t just write it, hit pause, and file it away in his Draft folder (or, worse yet, Trash) never to see the light of day. Instead, he pressed “send,” and its intended recipient got one heck of an e-mail… I mean, this really is every woman’s dream love letter (if it came from the right person, of course).

Let’s deconstruct this a little, shall we? Today is February 11, 2011 so we’ve got four days until Valentine’s Day… we might as well talk about love

From reading Marty’s email to Iz, we know that they have been “just friends” for awhile, but (and there’s always a “but”) Marty is obviously in love with Iz – in fact, she’s “the List” (with a capital “L”). And he thinks she’s in love with him back (even though she may not know it yet) so he asks her the ultimate rhetorical question to prove his point:

Can men and women really be just friends?

Answer is: a resounding no.

But Marty has an even bigger problem than the non-existence of platonic love between those of the opposite sex: a third party. Worse yet, this third party is nothing like Marty – this third party took two years to tell Iz that he loves her. And for that reason this third party (at least in Marty’s eyes) does not deserve her. No one, in fact, deserves Iz but Marty. Worse than even that though, this third party… has… Iz…


You got to hand it to Marty. He really put it all on the table. How rare these days.

So just how did Iz respond? Take a look-see…

Draft: Friday, October 3, 2008 at 10:19 pm
From: Izabell
To: Marty
Subject: Wow

This e-mail was written but not sent and will save as Draft until further action.

Thank you for the gutsy e-mail. It put yet another smile on my face. 🙂 And, I admittedly haven’t been smiling a lot lately. 🙁

OK. Here’s the deal (and I’m going to tell you exactly where I’m coming from and exactly what is going on in my head, and I’m not going to just write it but not send it like I’ve done before, like we all do all the darn time.)

I’ve stayed up nights trying to figure out what’s going on. And here’s where I’m at so far… You’ve obviously sensed that my relationship is not going swimmingly. For the past four months, Peter and I have been going through a very rough patch which has led me to wonder whether I’m marrying the right man. I just don’t know if he’s The One anymore. He was so much The One when we got engaged. And, he has all but disappeared of late which I can’t come to terms with… And, no, I’m not happy all of the time, Marty. There are moments when I’m deliriously happy, and then there are moments when I am deliriously not. But, I’m trying to see if Peter and I can make this work. I’m trying to figure out if he can love me in the way that I know I need to be loved for the rest of my life to be happy. Yes, I want what my parents have – I’m trying to figure out if I can have it with him. I don’t know. I just don’t know. I need a few weeks, a month, I don’t know, but I need time. I’m in love with him – that I know. But, I just don’t know if I can be happy with him. And, I’m finally grown-up enough to know there is a difference.

And that’s where I am.

I’m fond of you. Obviously. I think you’re incredible. Do I wonder if you’re The One? Absolutely. Is it occupying my thoughts more than it should? Yes. Am I going to act on it? No, not now. I’ve got to figure out if Peter and I can make this relationship work. And, I’m going to put my all into it.

But, if we can’t make it work, then you can most surely bet your life on the fact that I will stalk you day and night until you consider dating me again. But, (and this is a big “BUT”), I just can’t be asking you to “rescue” me or talk pirate ships or Casablanca quotes unless and until I’m in a position to do so. I’ve been emotionally cheating on Peter, and it’s not fair to anyone. I think it took your e-mail for me to realize that.

Ugh. What an e-mail. What a mess. I’ll stay in touch. Promise. Just not as much.


* * * * *

For starters, Iz did not respond. She waited two days and still she didn’t send this to Marty. She “saved as draft” instead.

“This e-mail was written but not sent and will save as draft until further action.”

Oh no! Why didn’t she send it? Fear obviously but it also appears that Iz is a little confused. She’s with Peter, but she may be in love with Marty, or is she in love with Peter, or Marty? This is one heck of a love triangle. Can you believe that Wikepedia actually has a definition for love triangle?

“A love triangle is a romantic relationship involving three people.”

But it doesn’t stop there:

“While it can refer to two people independently romantically linked with a third, it usually implies that each of the three people has some kind of relationship to the other two.”

True enough. I prefer Urban Dictionary’s definition, however:
“Love triangles, as it is widely agreed, really suck.”

So Iz didn’t tell Marty how she felt, and Marty remained in the dark… Wait a second… This isn’t sounding very romantic on the eve of the most romantic day of the year… Love triangles and thwarted love affairs… Platonic relationships gone awry… Emotional cheating amidst Casablanca quotes (and we all know how that movie ended)…

Not too fast! There may very well be a happy ending to this story (or not) (you have to read the book). But this really isn’t about the ending. It’s not even about love. It’s about saying how you feel (or else).

After Marty poured his heart out to Iz, what would have happened had she sent that email to him? Would they have lived happily ever after? Perhaps. But perhaps not. Either way, at least he would have had the benefit of knowing how she felt. And she could have slept better that night knowing that she had been honest.

Amidst all of this on-line technology that makes it easier to “save as draft” or “delete, delete, delete,” it’s hard to say it like it is. It’s hard to press “send.” It’s hard to forego the safety net of our wireless connection for the risk of a genuine one. No matter how hard it may be though, here are some things that we can learn from Marty and Iz’s e-mails that may help us get through – or, rather, move forward on – this coming Valentine’s Day:

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Don’t ever save as draft (unless it’s a nasty-gram to your boss).

If you like someone, tell him. If you don’t, tell him. If you’re confused, tell him. Life is too short to toy with someone’s emotions.

Say “I love you” the moment you feel it. Why wait?

Be a hopeless romantic, and send that love letter (or, err, e-mail).

And, finally, as Marty so aptly put it: shut up and deal. You just might be looking at a winning hand.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!