Married fifteen years today, and here’s the thing I believe has made my long-suffering husband’s marriage to a writer a happy one.
Do you know the scene in the film OUT OF AFRICA, where Robert Redford dares Meryl Streep to concoct a story from random bits of information, then he sits and gazes at her in wonder as she weaves a tale of intrigue with the grace and confidence of Scheherazade? Well. My sweet husband looks at me like that. Believe me, that’s love. Because I’m not Meryl.
I’m a writer. I spend all my time in front of a glaring computer, not bathed in candlelight. Some days I forget to run a brush through my hair; typically, I have a foggy expression or a scowl on my face, lost in my struggle to pin down a metaphor. My plots come in starts and stops and my dialogue runs in circles. My characters are stubborn, dull, contradictory and evasive. All of this makes me a crazy person, not a gracious or confident one. When he asks me what I’m writing, more often than not I rattle on about incoherent threads of some dead end idea, or I snap at him that I can’t talk about it. I’m frustrated. I’m afraid. I don’t know if I can take the dare to find the story inside myself.
But he knows. And he looks at me like Robert looked at Meryl.
And then I remember, the story is us.