Monday, September 6, 2010

Does the marriage between writer-character & reader-writer come between a real-life marriage?

Only in books can you be married to them all.” –James Salter


At a party, a woman tells me how she has decided my husband is a saint, and I'd better never ever complain about him. I say, “Huh? What do you mean by that?”


“He puts up with your craziness; he cooks you dinner.” She sniffs. “And, you said he even does his own laundry. You can sit there and write all the live-long day and never have to worry about your husband yelling for his dinner and a clean pair of underdrawers.” She glares at me, dares me to deny.



I’ve heard this before. It doesn’t stop me from rolling my eyes. “Well, you live with him and then see if you still think he’s a saint. No one is a saint. Maybe I have my good points, too . . . huhn." I sniff, just a little. "Maybe he thinks I'm . . . I'm . . . all that and then some.” I take a hah-uuuge bite of cheesecake, to stop any other words from spilling out. I know it’s true; GMR cooks, he does his own laundry, and he is self-sufficient in a way some spouses are
not, if what I hear about some spouses is true. I know he puts up with my . . . ways.


Besides, harumph, I can cook; I just choose not to. Truth is: I become dazed and restless and remote and strange, and therefore food at times becomes only something to sustain me so I will not shrivel up from hunger. And, okay, I admit it: I am ashamed to say, I sometimes treat marriage the way I treat food: I can relate conversation; I just choose not to. I become dazed and restless and remote and strange, and therefore GMR at times becomes someone to sustain me so I will not be unloved.


And, GMR has competition for my affections: All the stuff in my pea-head. He competes with the crowd of "people" swirling around me like worrisome, but invisible (to him), gnats. It's not just my characters I can look inward to, but all of You out there.

I can ignore the real world around me for long enough almost to lose who is important to me—my family, my friends, my town. Yet, even as I write that, I know how I need all of You to be important to me. But even more, I want to Me to be important to You. A long-term relationship. A marriage bond between writer and reader, between editor and writer. A contract. An understanding. A promise.


We need each other, don’t we? We are important to each other, aren’t we? We can’t live without each other, can we? Tell me you love Me and I will show you I love You by offering you what I offer best: My words, the love between the covers of my books, my care in reading your stories you submit to Rose & Thorn Journal. It is a marriage weaved together with words and promises of more words. We stand before the alter of Language and Literature, and we brace ourselves against the years, and we give and give and take and take, give and take. A love that never dies, even in the lean and hard and mean years. Not even until death do us part—for written words never die.

[And even as I post this here, I know I will be 'leaving' again- 'leaving' GMR, but even 'leaving' all of You for a while, for the latest manuscript calls for my attention. Play time is over. Deadlines are deadlines. My editor can see me here and lift an eyebrow, "Kathryn IS writing isn't she? hmmmmm. . ." I have to kick out some of the crowd in my head and leave only the world of Virginia Kate.]


What about you? Is the Real World, the tangible one you can touch & see, at times less real than it maybe should be?

24 comments:

Diane said...

Hopefully, you never blur the lines too much between reality and bookland. Your hubby sounds great and the two of you are perfect for each other!! :O)

Kittie Howard said...

Seems like to me you've got a terrific marriage. A husband who yells for clean underwear...ew!! Out, out damn spot!

Glynis said...

Without DH I wouldn't be following my dream. My writing has brought new conversation to our marriage. I tell him about folks like yourself. He asks about the writer when new books arrive.

In my world, marriage and writing are plodding along side by side.

Go meet that deadline!

demery bader-saye said...

We love you Kat! Yes, I get lost from the "real world" too - pretty often lately. My husband told me a few weeks ago, "let it go... you're obsessed." It was NOT a happy night for either of us. Luckily most of the time he's (literally) an absent minded professor - with his head in another world too. I guess it's important for us to coordinate our surfacing so we can look each other in the eye sometimes and reconnect. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous worlds with us.

TC said...

You are lucky with your husband, we all pick ours for a reason. I only write my blogs and a bit for other blogs for hire but I'm often in my own world.....sometimes it's lonely here, maybe I should populate it? LOL

Clarissa Draper said...

I'm always lost between reality and fiction. Is it wrong to want the life you've created in your head?

CD

Lynn said...

I know I can easily get lost in my head. Unfortunately it does hold me back at times from writing--it's heart-breaking to stop when reality strikes. Sounds like you do have a very supportive husband but I bet he loves that he can take care of you.

Jen said...

I believe that when you are married you take turns. There are points in our lives where we are more about ourselves and our husbands take care of us, and then when you are done reading or writing the book you've worked on you pick up the slack.

Marriage is all about give and take, and even though he does a lot of his own things now it doesn't mean that you haven't done your fair share of things as well.

PS I'm with you, no one, and I mean no one is a saint.

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jackee said...

I could easily get lost in my head and in blogland. Fortunately most of us has have real live people who are so marvelous that we WANT to return to reality and interact with them. :o) It makes for a lovely life, dipping into the virtual, the imaginative, and the real world all at once. Or near to that.

So glad to find your blog. Now I'm off to learn more about your books!

Judith Mercado said...

Love you, too, Kathryn. As husbands go, I'm lucky too Mine also cooks and does his own laundry. And complains only occasionally about being ignored. And, ahem, I'm pretty good about being grateful and not complaining when I'm the one being ignored. We're far from perfect here but we seem to have a system that works for us. And I guess that's the bottom line, for a couple to find a system that works for them in a positive way.

~JarieLyn~ said...

Yes, I can relate to this post. I often leave the real world for my imagined one. It's what keeps me going. I'm lucky too. I have a great hubby.

Karen said...

Well, I think God gave you the right husband for your life. You too blend and compliment each other. Go for that deadline-I'm lovin' your book, "Tender Graces."

Titus said...

Fascinating post, Kat. A walker between worlds. I am in one or other, but they rarely impinge. Maybe that's the children...

Julie Musil said...

I struggle for balance with this! Real life vs. world in my head. Especially when it comes to spending time with my kids. I need to be *there* for them, and not only there in body!

Kathryn Magendie said...

I think my laptop has become surgically attached to my lap *laughing* ... although, it's such a beautiful day - - I could go outside . . . see what's there . . . oh!

lakeviewer said...

How well you describe the chaotic life of a writer. Then, you talk about words and reading as nourishment, as gifts to quench our thirst, to quell our hungers. You had me transfixed.
Love this!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

No, but my hubby does get jealous of my writing time now and then. He's a lot like your DH, though - does the cooking and grocery shopping and helps with the laundry. Isn't it great?! :-)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

This reminds me of when the hubs asked if I was playing with my "invisible friends" (aka blog buddies) again. Sigh.

It's all in the balance, yeah? :) But we love them all.

Sharla said...

^^^^^^^
Invisible friends... LOVE it! Too funny. I tend to space out when I'm into my characters, and my family is all too happy to snap me back into reality.

Hey, go see my very first interview at http://we-do-write.blogspot.com/2010/09/interview-with-sharla-scroggs.html

It's so awkward. Eeek! Nothing like reading your own rambling to make you cringe!!!

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Angie Ledbetter said...

I know you love me. I've read your books, stories, poems...and the words have a little teeny tiny house in my heart always.

And I love you back. Even if my words aren't as good or perty. LOL

*sniff*

Marguerite said...

A true love always understands and does their share of the cooking and laundry, too, is the way I see it! So nice that you and GMR have found that balance. Good luck with your deadline, cher, but take a little time to smell the roses, too!

Deb Shucka said...

I totally relate to all of this. My hubby is much like GMR, so understanding and tolerant and supportive. I'm not sure how I got so lucky.

Sending you love and light for your manuscript work.