After giving a little thought to what Writer Spouses might per chance go through on any given day, I thought I’d weigh in here on some fifteen years plus of this particular junket of my writing career. Somehow, beyond my wildest dreams, God blessed me with a manly, man husband who has championed every word I ever put to the page. And Championed is the right word. Capitol “C” makes it better. From my first novel written after hanging out/around/loving the theatre and seeing words come to life on the stage, I ventured to the solitary page. I had someone seriously providing the wind beneath my wings in the way of supporting the family and even taking the photo he crawled through a swamp to get for the perfect book cover (when the publisher was stumped on the artwork). Then he sent me to and fro to writer’s conferences when we didn’t have money for more than spaghetti eight days a week so that I might grow, make connections, meet an agent, further this thing we call getting the story to the written page. Years upon years of me writing around the clock, finally getting agented, and published. Then husband hearing that lament go from pre-published whining to post-published lamenting. Edits. Redlines. Proofing. Promotion? Who said anything about promotion? Why isn’t the book on the NY Times Bestseller list? Why?Why?Why? Do we do this crazy, insane dance we do?
With piled up laundry, grocery lists partially written, mail unopened, cars not tuned - writers are staring into the distance and cooking up another story for the page. Potentially, with no contract or hope of one. All the ups and downs, sideways turns, and crashing moments we have ridden out with our significant others! Aren't they countless at this point? Yes, my husband plays a huge part in my Acknowledgement pages, and the first novel was rightfully dedicated to him. But it's never enough to express how far, and wide that support has run. (And if you doubt me, check his Facebook page for Owen Hicks. :) )
Here's the grand thing. Over the years my husband has been able to travel with me to writer's conferences and festivals far and wide. He has a few that have become his favorites. Great little town squares, awesome restaurants where I do believe we know owners by name. And in all of those great venues we have met other writer's mates along the trail. We've made friends like Raymond Atkins and his quick-witted, supportive, and incredibly beautiful funny wife, Marsha. And there's Eric Wilson and his wife with the angelic voice, Carolyn Rose. JT Ellison and husband Randy. Ad Hudler and his wife, Carol. The list goes on and on.
So many great writers have these incredible people cheering them on. They're a tribe unto their own. Think Kathy Patrick and Jay Patrick, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson who made sure she talked to "her man" down on the farm everyday that we were on book tour together. (I feel like I know him so well and have never met him.) Patti Callahan Henry's husband Pat Henry who has welcomed me graciously. The list goes on and on. I can't pull them all to mind. Ronlyn Domingue's sweetie. Jamie Ford's incredible wife I met in Jefferson. Janis Owen's great husband on the farm. Joshilyn Jackson's wild, and wonderful husband that she blogs about all the time.
Can I offer a great big thank you to all of you. All those weary, wonderful souls who listen to us whine, complain, moan, lament and sometimes offer us a "There, there." and warm milk? Who celebrate with us till the cows come home over a new book deal! Who walk through this wonderful, weary thing we do with us hand in hand? Yes, it's a little all Bogey and Bacall but ain't life grand? Don't you want to light a few candles for that special person and say, "Hang on baby, the best is yet to come?"
So the next time your soul mate darling drags a toe at attending a writerly event or joining you here and there on the road, show them this post, and all the ones previous and yet to come. I think a few writer spouses could benefit from knowing they are not alone on this journey living with big-hearted storytellers.
We are a richer, saner, wiser, healthier tribe because you are there. Thank you for watching the bank accounts, and having the backs of so many of these beautiful writers so that the world (me included) can read the words you've helped them find the space to create.
God bless you!