January 28, 2011

The Road I Walk



Writing is solitary.

At the computer, it's just you and whatever it is you can manage to charm, bribe, or beat out of the goddamn ether. Chances are when you send it out into the world, you're not doing it in person. It's just a mouseclick  or an envelope drop. Then waiting. Alone.

Most of us aren't outgoing. We're not that guy you invite to the party because you know, we'll be the one to keep it going, lively and rocking until dawn or the cops. We're not the one you run into constantly on the street, heading to the big concert, the art show, the grand opening of that trendy restuarant downtown and right in the middle of it all.

We're not there, because we don't get out much. After our paying gigs gorge on  the day and all those little things (dinner, cleaning, mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, the occasional shower), we take those minutes that are left and we seize them for ourselves. Hoping for a sentence or two. Maybe a paragraph. Praying for an entire page. Just one single page.

Or so it seems.

Today, I was going to talk about myself. Again.

But I realized something that sometimes is easy to forget. The road I walk, I don't walk alone.

You know me or, at least, you're starting to. But you don't know her. So, I'm going to tell you about her for a minute. So listen.

She's my wife.

If you like anything I've written, you should probably thank her. She makes it possible. Those precious minutes I spoke of earlier? She gives those to me. She doesn't complain when I come home tired because I set the alarm hours early, well before I need to leave for work in an attempt to coax an extra hundred or so words onto the page. She keeps me from burning everythign I write. She watches television shows and movies she has no interest in, because she knows I'll dig it and this, this other cop show, this weird British mystery program will recharge my creative batteries and set my mind spinning with new ideas of my own. She smiles when I tell her about a novel I'm reading that just pisses me off and I know I could have done it better and she doesn't even ask why the hell I'm still reading the damn thing. She listens while I talk at her, working through plots and characters that may never live beyond that single moment. She reads everything I write and she urges me onward.

So, when you see us out, when you see us across the restuarant having dinner or standing in line, waiting for the doors to open, going to see that band everyone wants to see, thank her. For me. You see, I owe her that too. I owe her for not letting me be that bearded, crazy-eyed guy you see now and then wandering down the dark alleyways, mumbling to himself while smoking hand-rolled cigarettes and gestictulating wildly with a foot-thick, stained manuscript.


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