The Conversation We Never Have

Here’s my life. My lovely and patient wife wakes up at the crack of dawn, usually the semi-predictable perturbations of our toddler, and the two of us claw our way to the kitchen where we split coffee duty (yes, Tess I know you make it most of the time lately). There are discussions held around the table while we try and stuff food into our child’s mouth. Then we break, I usually go sit with Aral on the potty (it is toilet training time) and she’ll go take a bath and get ready for the day.

By the time she is walking out the door, headed to her solid job with good benefits and reasonable pay, I’ve either packed up the kiddo and headed out to the Rec Center where I will write for a while or am ensconced at my desk writing up a storm. Time is limited and soon I know I’ll have 16 kgs of squirming three year old hanging off my arm or climbing up my back. He will be ready for adventure.

So, I am fully aware of the special position I occupy both in my family’s financial and home life. My wife brings home the bacon, while I’m working out the details of being a successful writer. Fake it until you make it, right?

This blog post is in response to a really well written piece I encountered earlier today by Ann Bauer. In “The Conversation We Never Have” she describes a couple of instances of people, authors who have achieved some level of success and notoriety, but are completely oblivious the advantages they have had along the way. And I think she makes a most excellent point when she writes “In my opinion, we do an enormous ‘let them eat cake’ disservice to our community when we obfuscate the circumstances that help us write, publish and in some way succeed.”

It is important to recognize the support system that allows us to move forward, making incremental progress day after day; I know this because it has not always been this way for me. The difficulties along the way, the challenges and distractions, all kept me from writing when I was younger even though the stories were all there to be written.

Today, I am essentially sponsored by the woman who shows up at the dinner table every evening. We exchange our tales-of-the-day and kvetch about the little nuisances that we’ve encountered. We also spend hours talking about what I’ve written and what I might write. That is my favorite part about all this, working with my best friend on ideas.

I just completed my first novelette and am up to my neck in other writing projects (two novellas and a full length novel). I’m writing happily and quickly, averaging about a thousand words a day, because I have the time and funding to support me. Also the encouragement and good reviews are a big boost. I get much help from my wife and family, and my cover art from an old Army buddy. Without these advantages I wouldn’t have stacks of editorial work to dive into. Sure, there is still a lot for me to work out, a lot to learn. But without all this help I wouldn’t be creating.

OK, there’s mine. Now show me yours.

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