Monday, June 7, 2010

A Writer's Wife

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This a note intended for Facebook. I didn't write this with the intention of putting it here, but I feel like it relates.

This won't be as good as I had planned it. I accidentally hit the back button and lost all of it, so I'm afraid I can't give the quality I had ready. Sorry.

It hasn't even been half a year since I started seriously writing. Things could change. They seem to do that a lot. This information is important.

Most of you reading this probably know already that I like pouring out my heart. I want people to see me and learn from me. One of my greatest hopes is that people can read what I write and listen to what I say and take something away from it. My hopes with this article? I'm not sure yet. Read on.

Anyway, as a writer, I decided very early on that I wanted to be as self-taught as possible. I want to have my own curriculum of influences and teachers. That said, I've been reading books on writing to learn from the best. All of these books have been helpful in one way or another, but there is one stands out in particular and that is Stephen King's On Writing.

King uses this book to not only show us what he knows, but also what makes him tick. We see his life story and how it relates to his writing. It's both a memoir and a manual. Never has there been a writing book this helpful since Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. King has one element Strunk and White do not and that is humanity. I could on about King's book, but I'd wind up boring you. You don't want to hear about that.

There's one topic that really got to me. No, it isn't how to construct good dialogue, it's King's wife, Tabitha. Tabitha encouraged Stephen through the entire process and it's a fact that King's breakout novel, Carrie, would not exist if it weren't for her. It would be sitting in the trash somewhere without her encouragement.

There's one story that stood out in particular, though. I'm not going to quote it exactly, I'm going to give you my summarized version.

To start out, the King's were a poor family. They had kids and pretty much no income. Stephen worked as an English teacher, which still means low pay. Luck, however, eventually comes along. He was offered a side-job at the school, which would pay them a substantial amount (at least for the King's) more.

Being a good husband, Stephen decided to talk this over with Tabitha. He told her about it and she listened. I am completely confident that just about any woman would have almost immediately told him that he should take it. After all, groceries don't pay for themselves. And plus, who couldn't use a little extra money?

Tabitha's only question, "Will you still have time to write?"

"Yeah, but not nearly as much."

"Then you can't take it."

And that was it. She turned down hard cash so he could pursue what a lot of people see as a meaningless hobby. In fact, that's about all it was at the time. He wasn't putting out novels that sell to publishers for four-hundred grand yet. No, he just did it in his study practically for fun. Her decision was not based on money, it was based on love.

After reading as much about King as I could, I learned a lot about myself and my writing. Learning should be introspective. Through learning to write, I've learned what my goals and expectations should be in life. I have a path before me now.

But on that path, I want someone there with me. We all do. If there's one thing, though, that I'm looking for in that someone, it's that she can read what I write, like it, and encourage me to do more. I want what Stephen King described in Tabitha. I think the word used in this situation most is "supportive." But, I feel like there's more here and that "supportive" doesn't quite cover it all. Hopefully, the above story speaks for itself.

I just wanted to share this because it's been on my mind a lot lately. I've had a lot of time to think lately and the best way I know to concrete thoughts is to write them and share them. I hope I've given you more than just words.

To my future wife, maybe you're reading this right now. Maybe you're thinking "Oh, that's nice, hope he gets a good one" or maybe "I can do that!" or maybe even "Wes... you're such a loser." Just wanted to say... I love you already.

--WA Julian

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