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Brittany: Luxuries and Miracles

It’s 4:44 a.m. and I’ve been up for an hour. Writing. I’m probably going to end up sleepwalking through the rest of the day, but right now I am so blissed out I can hardly stand myself. The last few weeks have been so amazingly productive for me. It’s as if someone flipped my switch back on. Which is really unusual, since 1) I’m never productive in the summer, and 2) I have a toddler and an infant in the house. And yet lately, I’ve been able to sink so deeply into my writing that I forget where I am or what time it is. As a result, I finished my novel. It’s some kind of miracle. What a wonderful luxury to be able to tune out the world and retreat completely into my “writing head.” It happens so rarely anymore that I’m able to appreciate and savor every second of it. And to think I used to take it for granted.

We’ve never really talked about our husbands and the role they play in our creative process, but I think it’s important to mention, even though I find it difficult to describe what role that is. It’s easy to take them for granted too. My husband is an engineer, with zero interest in or appreciation for the type of writing I do. He’s at a complete loss when I ask him about a certain character’s tone and he doesn’t have a clue how one goes about querying an agent. On the one hand, I feel utterly and devastatingly alone in my writing. It is my thing. He doesn’t get it.

But on the other hand, he loved me enough to marry me, so he obviously has a deep appreciation for my writer’s view of the world, my turn of phrase, and the way I communicate with him. He puts up with my clutter and the mountains of paper that I generate. Leaves me in peace when I’m hard at work. Reminds me to eat when I loose track of time. Watches the boys. Supports me financially so that I can stay home and play novelist. Listens to my concerns and tells me everything will work out. Understands the importance of laptops and writing spaces, and if he doesn’t, he humors me anyway. Truly wants me to succeed.

All of these things make my writing life possible, and are little luxuries and miracles too.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. wow, brittany, i think we married the same man! thank you for acknowledging how a non-writer can be supportive even when, in my case last week, he laughed at something i wrote and shook his head while good-naturedly calling me weird. i must add that he was a collegiate darkroom junkie and dabbles in teaching himself jazz guitar, so he’s not a totally rigid logical type of engineer.

    my previous marriage was to another writer, and while i miss the engaged discussions on writing and the input on the process, i don’t miss the jealousy in his behavior when i wrote something he wished he did or my resentment re: a slice of headspace for writing after kids, or creative sharing, while he was out ‘gallavanting’ at poetry open mics or perf-poe gigs. (please read with healthy dose of laughter at self)

    having had it both ways, i much prefer the respect for need of creative space and time even when he doesn’t entirely understand what i’m doing when i hand off the baby and sit at the computer tuning out the big boys’ running thru the house pft-psft shooting at each other.

    July 14, 2008
  2. Firstly – can you you bottle up whatever you’ve found to be able to emmerse yourself so absolutely (especially at 4am!) and send it poste haste over here to Dublin?? My mind is willing but my flesh is weak. ok, my mind is weak also. but like you, i have felt a switch coming on recently (more of the dimmer variety though it has to be said…..) and I am on half power again, having been in complete darkness for a while. there is a glimmer of light and I’m working my way towards it. I was just about to launch into my standard excuse for not writing – mother of two under two and a half and pregnant again – but actually that’s not the reason. Death defying tiredness should not stop us creative goddesses! i’ve made a feeble attempt and lo and behold, here I am writing to you! long may it last. and well done on that book!!!

    as for the husband thing – apart from the fact that mine keeps getting me pregnant (I say that as if i had nothing to do with it…) thus thwarting my best-selling novel attempts – he is very supportive. he reads all my magazine stuff and makes all the right noises. I’ve never let him read my ‘creatvie writing’ – once known as my first novel, but now relegated to meager meanderings that need a good kick up the … – but he has never once given me the impression he thinks nothing othe than I am going to be a novelist. at least one of us remains optimistic!

    well done again on finsihing the book…

    July 15, 2008
  3. Brittany–so impressive that you managed to channel that intense post-partum creativity mania and turn it into a finished book! Wow. Congrats.

    It would be awful to be married to someone who was unable to support one’s creative interests and needs. Clearly, a marriage like that has other, likely fatal, problems. My own husband is not an writer or artist, but somehow believes in me and the idea that I’ll be able to turn my starry-eyed dreams into reality. He doesn’t have anything to say about my fiction, but he’ll often have a useful suggestion about something I’ve written for a client.

    When I complain about not having enough time for writing, he always says that I have more time than I think I do. This usually annoys the hell out of me. In part, he doesn’t understand how my time is spent. On the other hand, he’s right. It’s always a matter of priorities. He’s definitely in the camp of “stop whining and just do it, if you want to do it.” But that tough love does come with a helping hand — he would support me if I wanted to spend an hour every night writing, for example. Hmmm…come to think of it…

    July 15, 2008
  4. happyshackdesigns #

    congrats on finishing the book! a love your post and your thoughts on your husband. mine, too, has no understanding of what i do, though he’ll be the first to brag on me, whether it’s over a piece of jewelry i created, some very beginning collage work, or a writing piece that’s brought him to tears. he doesn’t understand how it do it, and i try to take that as a compliment. i’m very blessed… thanks for sharing!

    July 15, 2008
  5. cathy #

    i forgot to congratulate you on finishing the book! what a great job, brittany!

    and is nursing going any better? i’ve been thinking of you.

    July 16, 2008
  6. Sort of. John is able to nurse some now, thanks to the occupational therapy he’s receiving, but now the OT thinks that all of his feeding issues stem from a combination of hypotonia (low muscle tone), asymmetrical tonic neck reflex (also known as the fencing reflex, the head is turned to one side and the arm and leg on the side to which the face is turned extend and the arm and leg on the opposite side bend) and torticollis (a condition in which a child’s head is tilted. It is typically caused by either a tightening of the muscles of the neck, flattening of the back of the head or a combination of the two).

    She’ll be contacting our pediatrician this week to find out how he wants to proceed with this. She’s recommending physical therapy in conjunction with the occupational therapy at a minimum.

    Luckily, we’ve caught this very early on. After only a week, John’s hypotonia was much improved and he had learned the mechanics involved in nursing. It still wears him out after a very short period of time, but he’ll get there. The bigger problem is that left unchecked, the other issues will result in developmental delays-slowness rolling over, sitting, crawling, walking, etc. If I hadn’t been persistant about him nursing, the OT said that our pediatrician would never have suspected a problem until he started showing developmental delays, so we are very fortunate that John’s able to get therapy for it now.

    Unfortunately, all these co-pays get expensive. Last night Tom went totally postal when I started looking up state programs that would help cover the costs of the therapy. He doesn’t want me to talk about or acknowledge that John has “issues” because he says I sound like I’m fishing for sympathy or that I think John is already handicapped. *sigh* I’m just trying to be proactive and get the best care for him that I can. He doesn’t realize that by talking about it, I’m hoping to get help and advice from people who’ve already been there… I have a friend whose son had similar issues that weren’t diagnosed until he was 20 months old. She knew he was developmentally behind, but the pediatriacian kept putting her off and telling her her son was normal and eventually he’d hit his milestones. He didn’t. He didn’t walk until he was 2 and hasn’t started talking yet. I don’t want this for John.

    So, how I am managing to write at the moment? It’s got to be nervous energy.

    July 16, 2008

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