Friday, October 29, 2010

Five Ways a Writer's Husband/Partner Becomes a Saint

You're probably thinking, "Anyone who's married to a writer-- the code word for insecure, egotistical, mood-swinging, impulsive artist-- on a daily basis must be a saint, de facto," right?  True enough.   Writers and artists have somewhat of a reputation for being histrionic and, well, in other ways "difficult" in their private lives.  This past week, I've been struck at how fortunate I am to have a lifelong partner who puts up with me and loves me in equal proportions.

I wonder how many of you out there have significant others who have found a way to live with you, "a writer," (published or not) without being transformed to ash by your bright fiery genius. Meaning you've both avoided divorce, flying saucepans, and passed-out-in-the-yard-alcoholism.  Although, that last one is one way of coping with living with a writer. Today, I'll tell you 5 ways my partner has transcended the sphere of mere mortal partner to French Patron Saint of Writers (in particular, Lori).

St. Francis de Sales: the other Patron Saint of Writers

For the past two years, I've volunteered to cook something for the Teacher Appreciation lunch at my son's elementary school.  This is not a problem for parents who aren't date-challenged.  Calendars hate me, even the computer ones that are supposed to remind me of events.  Both years, I brought a display of goodies one week BEFORE the event, potentially ruining the surprise lunch for the teachers and creating double-duty for me the following week.  This year, I placed the lunch date on the refrigerator AND on my computer calendar.  I got the date right (happy me), but I was too exhausted from all the writing and marketing and Internet research to make that Homemade Vegetarian Chili I volunteered to make on the Second Grade email list.

I resorted to something shameful: I went to the soup aisle at Tom Thumb grocery.  But dag-nabit if they didn't have anything remotely Vegetarian Chili-like.  When I returned home, I printed a random online Veg-Chili recipe that looked suspiciously like ordinary vegetable soup with a dash of chili. My French Partner (FP) offers me a glass of wine and says, "Why don't I make it?"

"Are you sure?" I ask. After all, he's the one who cooks our gourmet dinners almost every evening (1).

I didn't want FP to feel abused for his talents, but he says, "Sure," and just like that, my role is reduced to chopping a few cloves of garlic while brainstorming my next novel idea aloud (2). Saints always listen to our problems, and my FP is no different, except that he actually answers back within mere seconds.

Because Papa (when he's not traveling) takes our son to school in the mornings and Maman picks him up after school, my FP delivered both son and soup to school (indeed, Ms. Principal herself was there to take the crock pot of soup)  for the special day, allowing me to take care of writing and related business (3).  When I picked up the bag with the empty crock pot and a sealed card, I was darn proud of myself. It wasn't until we opened a very special "thank you for thinking of me" card from the principal that I realized, to my horror, that I had once again screwed up the date. 

Today, is the REAL Teacher Appreciation lunch.  My FP made another vegetarian chili, this one even more scrumptious than the last (c'est possible?), and this time, I delivered it, lest Ms. Principal think my FP was flirting with her.  He is a saint, for being my personal chef, my sounding board and supporter of my writing, a true partner in raising our son.  Oh, and for taking this writer to Paris next month, when I most need a small getaway (4).

I wonder how many other writers are as lucky as I am...
(And now that I'm about to start NaNoWriMo for the first time, I'm feeling grateful that this Saint will put up with this shenanigan (5).)

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