I’ve always found it difficult to write about Scott. I’m not entirely sure why that is, but one of the only large-level requests my editor made after she’d first seen the manuscript for my book was, “You should write something about your husband.” And this was after I’d already ignored the same request made by my agent a few months prior. Turns out I’d written a whole book in which my husband appeared briefly and only randomly, like the baby on Up All Night. I grudgingly agreed.
To be fair, the book is about faith—I use stories from my life to color in or accentuate things I’m learning about God. I usually pick the stories based on the facet of faith I’m writing about, not the other way around. But now I was stuck. I tried thinking of funny ways to engage the topic, but we had a more of a traditional how-we-met story (we met at school). And nobody broke his ankle.
I just finished reading the novel The Paris Wife, which is historical fiction centered around Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley. (And Maria, if the novel you’re working on stalls for any reason, I suggest picking a historical person from out of a hat and then writing about his wife. Those books seem to sell like Taylor Swift albums.) ANYWAY, the book describes how Hemingway’s first mega-successful novel, The Sun Also Rises, was based on a trip he took with his wife and their friends to the bullfights in Spain. It’s excruciatingly autobiographical, and apparently, in early drafts he even used their real names. Everyone who was on the trip was included in the “fictionalized” account. Everyone but Hadley. This made her feel sad and left out and yadda yadda whine whine whine.
Though it goes against every fiber of my being to stick up for Ernest Hemingway, as I’ve been mad at him ever since I first read A Farewell to Arms as a high-school junior, I think I get why some people leave their spouses out of the writing. It’s hard to get it right. It’s hard to be separated enough to be honest. It’s hard not to say something you’ll regret later.
All that to say: I had a hard time writing this post.
Scott and I tried to remember what we did on our eighth anniversary. (Which was last year.) The best we could come up with:
“I think we went out, but I can’t really remember where.”
“Was your dad here last year?”
“Did we get a babysitter?”
“I think I was pregnant.”
“Did I know you last year?”
Very romantic. It must have been epic and memorable and earth shattering.
Or it must have been another night in a series of nights, probably one where we ate together and maybe watched something on TV. We probably put Miles to bed and cleaned the kitchen and joked and fought and did other less-G-rated stuff if we weren’t too tired or sick or grumpy. It was probably a good night because we were together.
But next year, the big ONE-ZERO, we’re going to New York or Europe or maybe on a cruise. Without kids. Call me if you want to babysit.