A few days ago, my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary with a quiet dinner, cake, wine, and a relaxing Monday night. I read and tinkered with my latest novel; he browsed the Internet and played with the cats. As he’s done often in the last few months, he turned to me with an appreciative smile and said, “Casey’s writing!”
Though I’ve been a writer for more than half of my life, in the first four years of our relationship my husband rarely saw me in the role of writer. When we met, I was fresh out of my MFA program. To be honest, I had a bit of a writing hangover. Since then, he’s seen me revise my first novel, twice, and start several stories that never went anywhere. But he’s never actually seen me create something from scratch, build an entire life for my main character, and incessantly talk about fictional characters (at least ones of my own making).
Recently, a story I had started shortly after our wedding came back to me. I’d been mentally expanding the plot for several months, but hadn’t really gotten anything on the page past the opening chapter. Then one day it just clicked. My main character needed her story told, and for the first time in several years, I felt that it was a story someone may just need to hear. I’ve been writing basically every day for the past two months. And when I’m not writing, I’m still writing. My characters’ lives play out in my head all day. Their crises and heartaches keep me from sleeping. Their laughter and joy make me smile for no reason. My husband takes it all in stride, knowing when not to interrupt (something he learned quickly from my reading addiction), when to ask for more details, and when to provide feedback.
I love that he loves that I get lost in my writing. But it can’t be easy to love a writer. To know that a part of them is away somewhere else, figuring out someone else’s life. Writing is a solitary task. And of course I run ideas (several, at all times of the day) past my husband, talk through problems with him (“how are my readers not going to ship them, if I already ship them”), yell and scream when my protagonist decides she wants to change her path completely (“Why, why, did I create him! She’s not supposed to love him!”), but eventually it comes down to me and my laptop and a war of words that he isn’t a part of. He’ll listen, nod, read some chapters, all with this silly smile on his face. One that says this is my wife, the writer.
While I know he’d tell you he contributes little to my creativity, his support and appreciation of my passion make it possible. The fact that he knows I have a writing waddle, and that sometimes my brain creates scenes faster than I can talk through them, make it easy for me to be both solitary and together. I may be in my fictional world, but he’s right beside me, always.
So to my husband, as we celebrate one year of wedded bliss — and to anyone who loves a writer — thank you for understanding, and for not only allowing me my quirks, but loving me more for them.