Mernistyne Cole has returned to her hometown of Austin in search of a few good men and women who can bring her novel to life.
Cole’s book, I’m Married, But He’s Not My Husband, published in 2006, is the basis for a new stage play that Cole is currently casting.
She hosted a casting call at Columbus Park Fieldhouse on Feb. 6, and a second is scheduled to take place at the fieldhouse this Saturday, Feb. 20.
I’m Married … is a semi-autobiographical take on Cole’s tumultuous first two marriages and how they allowed her to grow and finally establish a relationship that, as she says, “complimented her rather than filled a void.”
The book was largely based on Cole’s private journals, which she has kept since she was 8 years old.
“In 2003, I had left my job with SBC/Ameritech after eight years,” she recalled. “I was pregnant at the time, and was also looking for a career change. During my maternity leave, I decided to compile my journal entries and they became the basis for my book.”
From her journals, Cole created a manuscript and published it through Authorhouse in Bloomington, Ind.
In the book, Cole addresses her first two marriages in the chapters titled, “Momma’s Boy” and “Breath and Britches.” The former is about a man who maintains his deep emotional ties to his mother even after marriage.
“My first husband was definitely a momma’s boy type,” said Cole. “We lived in Austin and she stayed on 95th and Union and he would leave the house in the middle of the night if she called. It really put a strain on the marriage.”
Cole’s second spouse is addressed in “Britches.” In it, she describes him as a “cool walking, tongue talking, well dressed man,” who used these attributes to hide an agenda that included misleading Cole into marrying him even though, as she puts it, “he married me, not for love, but for shelter.”
“He was the wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Cole said. “He was a preacher, but had gotten in trouble with the law for stealing from his church. This experience really made me re-evaluate what I was doing wrong in choosing partners that were really not good for me.”
The result of these life lessons allowed Cole to enter her third marriage a different person. “A lot of people talk about finding their soul mate,” she said. “I realized I needed to find my spiritual partner.”
Cole discusses making that spiritual connection in the book’s last chapter titled, “The Final Chapter,” where she discusses marrying her current minister husband Darrell Cole in 1999.
“I had learned a lot about myself and what I wanted,” she recalled. “Darrell and I made a spiritual connection and we just took it from there.”
Currently residing in Justice, Ill., the mother of four brings her life lessons to the stage in a play that is still in its early stages of development. Nevertheless, she intends the five act play to have an elaborate production.
“There will be singing, dance and poetry recited,” she said. “I want audiences to laugh, cry and gain inspiration and hope from the story. I’m looking to cast seven men and seven women.”
Cole is very precise on what attribute is most important in her search for the ideal candidates to lead the show.
“Since there will be musical interludes between the acted scenes, the leads must be able to sing and act. It’s easy to find persons who can either sing or act, but to find one that can do both is quite a challenge.”