It isn’t too strange that as I sit here on my lunch break, eating several-day-old spaghetti with a plastic spoon, I find myself in a reflective mood. Reflection follows struggle and nothing represents struggle like eating noodles with a spoon.
Annie (my super-hot wife) and I were discussing the normal struggles of suburbia (no details, mind your own), and we had an ‘it could be worse’ moment (think Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman digging up corpses in a storm after the “It could be raining” line in Young Frankenstein).
Annie, very likely thinking, at least we have popcorn, stuck the Pop Secret Homestyle bag in the microwave and pushed the button. Our rain came down in the form of a broken microwave. The bag spun but did not rise, not nearly so well as the corpse in the movie.
I had to laugh. Annie didn’t. She probably won’t until she can hear the sweet popping sound and can smell the wonderful it-might-be-butter aroma we love at our house.
One of the many reasons I love Annie is that she endures moments like these. She probably shakes her head sometimes and looks back on the fateful day she heard the words, “I want to be a speculative fiction writer,” and still married the source of such a non-lucrative statement.
It takes a real woman to go along with that. You know what’s crazy though? She believes in me. Sometimes even I think she’s nuts.
She was warned though. I’m sure every woman in the world has a future in-law approach before their wedding and with a teasing grin say something like, “Are you sure, dear?”
Annie was asked that far too often to feel entirely comfortable. The looks that came with the questions held more worry than jest, and the mandatory light laughter with their “joke” sounded too forced for Annie to completely ignore.
It’s working though. They say compatible couples usually fill each other’s voids and that’s why opposites tend to attract. I think she must have been mayhem-deficient or something. I can’t really say.
If pressed lightly Annie could probably fill you in on all the pieces my puzzle is missing using flow charts and comprehensive lists. Here are a few ways she (as Tom Cruise once put it) ‘completes me’:
- She lets me know when I’m being apathetic when I should be empathetic. This struggle she has undertaken to make me feel things is especially useful because being a writer means being a master of emotional manipulation via the written word.
- Annie is organized. Annie helps me be organized.
- Annie loves people and cares so much she sometimes makes herself sick on the behalf of others. This kind of ties into the empathy vs apathy thing but seriously, I have learned to see others in a new light and consider things from their point of view (again an invaluable skill for a writer).
- Annie is a spiritual and a moral person who tempers (usually) my disregard for rules and restrictions.
- She very often serves as my task master when Adderall fails:
- “Put your guitar down and get that story finished, Mitch!”
- “I haven’t seen a blog post for a while.”
- “Move your sorry rear you maggot!”
- Which brings me to how awesome of an editor she is. When I peck something out and give it to her to read:
- “Where is the emotion, Dexter? Don’t let my friends find out you’re a sociopath. Try again.”
- “This character’s name has changed three times, Mitch. She’s a person too.”
- “Take out some of these swearwords, you aren’t writing for HBO.”
- So this goes back to the organization thing, but look at this neat list! Proof positive.
I think that pretty well sums up why my spouse is better than your spouse.
I’ll probably let her off the hook when it comes to proof reading this piece because she’s too humble and would make me change things.
She gets a gold star for patience I think. She pays the bills and worries about money while I create odd worlds and worry about what kind of electrical charge it would take to kill a giant barracuda (this next novel is awesome!). After she does that she willingly sits down and reads through first drafts (this is a painful thing for anybody to do). After that she tells me what needs fixing and puts up with me when I try to argue with her. I think that a wife is harder to take a critique from than anyone else. She listens in when my writing group critiques my work and nods as they validate things she’s already told me and shoots me ‘I told you so’ looks from across the room. So yeah, much harder.
But she’s always right. The few times I don’t take her advice are so overshadowed by the times that she’s right that, if not for my own pride, would not be worth mentioning.
She hates being my task master but she does it anyway because she’s awesome and I need her. I suppose I’ll have to dig her up a microwave somewhere so she can snack on popcorn while she trudges through the crap I shovel at her to read.
She cracks the whip, she wields the terrible red marker, and she believes in me even when I don’t, even when it rains broken microwaves. And she’s super-hot.
If my finding her, wooing her (and re-wooing her x3), and her saying yes despite my aspirations and flaws (some hidden to surprise her with later, but some visible) doesn’t prove God’s existence than nothing does.
Post Script (It’s way more pretentious not to abbreviate and a writer is nothing if not pretentious):
I hate old spaghetti.
Post Post Script (I know, this puts me over the pretentious line into high-brow territory):
Please excuse the excessive use of parenthesis throughout this piece (they aren’t really allowed in fiction because this breaks the fourth wall or whatever so I enjoy using them liberally when I can so shove it, dear reader).