(Ally asked if I (her husband) would write this guest post about what it is like being married to an author. If there is one thing that I know from being married to an author it is that you have to have a clear picture of your audience. To that end I have decided to address this blog post to what I am sure is this blog’s single largest demographic: young, unmarried males who are considering embarking on a long-term relationship with an author.)
So, you are considering marrying an author? Here are a few things that you should know.
Language will be one of the currencies in your home. Other currencies will include a willingness to bring home Indian food when your spouse is pregnant, and knowledge of the location of the last clean diaper. One example of language as currency will involve the word similitude. Your spouse will note that similitude is so much more than a noun which sounds similar to the adjective similar (wordplay!). Similitude is special because it ends with the (grossly underutilized-in-English) sound ‘tude.’ Somehow, in the course of her experimentation with words she will begin to use the suffix ‘tude’ whenever it becomes imperative to change an adjective into a noun. The television program Castle will possess a high amount of funitude, your children will act with crazitude, Gerard Depardieu will possess serious Frenchitude and so on. These types of lexical shenanigans will win you points.
Your wife’s authortude will rub off on you and your children as well. Your children will enjoy writing stories with titles like Horrible Beasts of the Mind, complete with cover art and blurbs. At times your son will comment on your habit of critiquing his work on moral grounds when often the reader-response perspective is more useful. One example of this will be when he tells you about an event at school in which a girl kicked a boy and then the girl, using the kind of cunning necessary for survival in grade school classrooms, proceeded to tell the teacher that in fact the boy had kicked her! Your son will conclude this narration with the exclamation, “it was so unfair!” Following this he will pause for a second and then request politely, “Dad, please don’t go on about how life isn’t fair. I just wanted to tell you that story.”
Through your spouse you will have a window into a community of interesting and intelligent people that you would have otherwise never met. These people will function well at parties because they feel at home with the nuances of a well-told story. After three unsuccessful attempts at telling a story about how you only got a B+ in freshman English because you didn’t understand the first assignment and the teacher didn’t like your persuasive essay topic and you got the flu the night before the final, you will realize that you have no clue what makes a story interesting. You will institute a new party strategy of smiling and keeping your mouth shut. Authors at these parties will be kind and appear to want to hear your opinion on various topics. You will not fall into their trap.
You will choose a career that also requires that you write a lot. You will be thankful that you are not required to avoid to be verbs like the plague. You will note that your use of to be verbs has become excessive. You will make more use of a thesaurus. You will find yourself inadvertently responding to office memos with the critique “show, don’t tell.”
After having read several drafts of your spouse’s work you will look at your own writing and feel glad that society allows you to hide your passion and insecurities behind equations. You will be glad that you are not required to carefully etch the breadth of human emotion into everything you write. You will appreciate that through reading your spouse’s writing you have a better angle from which to view the breadth of human emotion. You will come to admire the courage that it takes to write something so personal and allow others to see it. As you watch the characters in your spouse’s work develop you will become more aware of the depth and intricacy of everyone around you. This will help you to love people in part because of their flaws, not just in spite of them. You will not tell this fact to anyone other than your spouse because if you did your friends would remind you that you are a wuss.
In short, your life will be great. You will feel intellectually stimulated. You will have beautiful and entertaining children and get to interact with fascinating people. It will be pure awesometude.