Today I’m giving my blog over to Proman who feels he has something to say. Proman is short for “project manager” which is just one of the roles my beloved husband fulfills in our house. What do you think? Did I make a mistake?
Since Emilie is working around the clock to finish her latest novel, The Swallow’s Nest, by deadline – actually her extended deadline – I volunteered to write this blog. I’ve gone through the end of a book with Emilie many times – 76 books at last count – so I know pretty much what to expect. And it’s not pretty.
No matter how hard she works in the early months of her contract, these last few weeks are hell. She writes non-stop and is totally focused on her book. Our social life goes to pot, and the world around us shrinks to the boundaries of our home.
Over the years, I have learned some valuable ways to help her through this pull-your-hair-out-by-the-roots time without too much damage to either of us or to our marriage. So here are my tips:
- Listen, listen, listen. When Emilie does emerge from her study, she’s like the steam valve on her beloved Instant Pot. She needs to vent about the publishers (“Why do they give me deadlines?”), her computer (“I’d be happier with a quill and ink.”) and the universe in general. (“Why am I being punished?”) She needs to talk about her book, what’s going right (nothing) and what’s going wrong (everything). Her characters become members of our family.
- Say nothing of consequence. I’ve learned to give no advice other than “I think it’s great (I do read each chapter as she finishes it – and I honestly do think it’s a great book, just as I believe all of her books are great–did you read that, Emilie?)
- Feed her. I bring Emilie coffee and toast in the mornings, a sandwich at lunch, snacks during the afternoon, and I keep our favorite pizza place on speed-dial. I also like to cook, especially lately with the help of Hello Fresh and Blue Apron. This is no time for dieting. She swears that chocolate makes her a better writer, and I’m not going to argue.
- I check her pulse a couple of times a day just to be sure, and I take her for walks whenever I can unglue her from her desk chair (blood circulation and fresh air good, hardening of the arteries bad).
- I don’t go near her study. I’m not sure I could get in if I wanted to. It’s a toxic waste dump in there.
- As for Christmas: this year, no tree, no cards, minimal decorations and gifts. “When I’m finished with the book!”
- Best of all, I’m taking her on a cruise when she hits the Send button. Lots of R&R for a very talented wife who works non-stop and is the love of my life.
Me again. I’m closing in on my ending, but I’m not sure who’s taking who on this cruise or deserves it more. Thanks to Proman, who has worked so hard to keep things going this holiday season when I’m just not available. Before you ask, I do not know how to clone him. Sorry.
Oh, and the fact he’s learning to cook? Enough of a reason to write in itself!