Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Love Letter to my Husband who Wittingly Married a Writer

Dave --
You didn't know what you were getting yourself into. To be honest, I couldn't have warned you. I didn't know how deep I'd go, how much I would both fail and succeed -- though the success has come as more of a shock and maybe that's because I'm a woman, but nonetheless, I'd prefer it to being those who take success in stride. But sometimes I look at you looking at me and I hear the speeches you give me -- such beautiful, defiant declarations, such unbearably loving defenses of this work I do (headlong, heart-ful) -- and what else in a marriage would I want to bear more than those? -- and I see you as if through a smeared pane of glass. What can I do? you're saying. I can't help you... Here I am, bullying my way through some wreckage, bullying my way past some new fresh blows (why do the blows -- after all these years -- still take me by surprise?) -- and I've overcommitted, yes, I've said -- as we both have made a life of -- yes and yes again. We keep saying yes to more. And I sometimes remember you in that audience -- the 300 women who booed me -- God, how I was up there at the mic, just fumbling, fumbling ... dying a slow and awful death. Victoria Gotti at the front table, taking a cell phone call.  How was I the warm up for Gotti? I can see your face out there, blanched and dying for me. (My God, it only got worse when I sat down and the second speaker told the crowd how Baggott might teach you what it's like to be young and lucky, but he would teach... what? I can't remember... ) And I'll tell you this, it was easier in that moment to be dying at the mic -- than it was to be at the table, watching. That helplessness. What can I do? I can't help you. That's the way of love, I think. But the smeared pane of glass is a mirage.There's no glass. You're always helping me. What I want you to know is that my work is better for your love of it. My process has had to become one of abandoning each novel in some way once it's done, and you hold on to them. And I'm thankful that you do what I don't have the heart to or  the stomach to...
I adore you. You're my legs, sir. You're my durez.

jb

[Disclaimer: For those who worked with me this week, this wasn't written this week. It could have been written almost any week in a given year, though admittedly some weeks require more durez than others.]