Three Voices

(Phone conversation)

Me: You sleep well, love.

Mr. J: You too, get plenty of rest.

Me: Okay.

Mr. J: Actually do it, get rest.

Me: (silence…I was actually thinking about fixing a plot point and not really paying attention.)

Mr. J: Actually do it. And don’t use your rebellious voice.

Me: (laughs) I don’t have a rebellious voice.

Mr. J: You have three.

Me: (laughs) Really?

Mr. J: Yep.

Me: Tell me about ’em.

Mr. J: No.

Character Consciousness

This is an example of one of the ways I think up characters:

Me: (recording poems for my audiobook)

Icharus: I want to be a character now.

Me: But you already are.

Icharus: In a book.

Me: …what?

Icharus: I want to be in a book. I didn’t die when I fell. And I love Orpheus.

Me: You do? Ok just hang on a–

Icharus: And I want my book to be like every James Baldwin novel but with more sex.

Me: I don’t know if I can be that brutal.

Icharus: And it’s going to be a trilogy.

Me: Really?

Icharus: Yep.

Me: Well you’ll have to get in line behind Regina, all the Echos, Helen, and everybody else.

Icharus: Did I mention I love Orpheus? And maybe one of the gods too. Apollo could be very metaphorical.

Me: Take a number and get in line!

Icharus: I really, really want a book-trilogy.

Me: You’ll get one just shut up and let me work!

Icharus: I don’t trust you.

Me: It’ll happen! You’re in the queue. I promise!

Icharus: You’re going to have to do a lot of research. Geography is really important.

Me: I know!

Icharus: …maybe Achilles…

Me: Don’t push it.

*

And on and on it went and that is how I made the decision to eventually write a gay romance. A character popped into my head that wouldn’t shut up. But really this character has been in my head since 2012 and didn’t find his voice until day before yesterday. Before that he was a shadowy idea floating around in my brain meat.

It happened during a writing exercise I did back in grad school (see how long ago). The exercise was to look at a book cover and write the synopsis on the back. No influence from the real synopsis or any other information from the book. Just write something based off the cover. You should try it, it’s super fun.

When I read my little blurb the girl sitting at the table directly across from me lit up with a smile and after class she told me I had to write that character, that his voice was so clear to her.

At the time I wasn’t writing fiction but I thought she was super nice to say so, so I put the suggestion away and now almost 7, count em, 7 years later here’s that voice again.

But this time I am writing fiction and I don’t want to tell him to go away. So I guess I’m adding another project to my publication schedule.

*

How do your characters come to you?

Or, if you’re a poet, how do poems happen?

Anniversary

So back in August 2014 I met my best friend. February 13, 2015 (Friday the 13th and the day before Valentine’s Day) we got married.

Shortly after my divorce and before I met Mr. J I made this list. I decided that if I was going to ever try to date again I needed to learn from my mistakes and do all the things better. And I wanted to find the exact opposite of my ex.

Funny thing: somehow we both forgot to ask each other what our political affiliations were until after we got married. Boy was that a surprise. I was all like: how did we go this long without having one political discussion? But it’s okay. Even though we disagree about some things, we still love each other, accept each other, and work together to make both of our lives better. That’s how respect works.

Henna for the civil ceremony.

It was a lovely, crisp, clear night when we got married.

In the morning it looked like this:

It’s was an awesome day! Today is awesome too! Here’s to this life and the next! Together forever! I love you Mr. J!

Clarification (or a couple’s inside joke that I think is hilarious but you probably won’t understand)

Me: (texts Mr. J. a list of things I want him to bring from the apartment when he comes to visit)

Mr. J.: (calls me three seconds later) What do you mean by cat brush?

Me: The cat brush. Like the brush for cats?

Mr. J.: Oh ok, I just wanted to clarify that it was the cat brush and not some weird cat shaped brush thing that you have.

Me: (Laughs)

Mr. J.: (Laughs)

Me: I’m laughing because I can totally see why you need clarification.

Mr. J.: Yeah.

It’s the Little Things You Notice

More thoughts on long distance relationships:

Mr. J. and I have been living apart (work reasons, we’re still married) since December 4 and I’ve surprised myself because I can’t mark his absence from my life in a tally of days. I’ve tried, thinking that will make things more bearable.

Instead I putter along, going with the flow of the day, until something happens, some stupid little thing that makes me realize I haven’t seen my husband/best friend in FOREVER.

The first occurrence was when I had to do laundry for the first time since moving. And I thought to myself: seriously? I’ve already run out of clothes? And this is my first time doing laundry away from Mr. J? And then I thought about how many loads of laundry I will be doing in the 3 years we will be apart. That’s a lot of fucking laundry.

The second occurrence was when I cut my fingernails (I cut them the day before I said “goodbye”). Sorry if fingernails gross you out. But as I was cutting them I thought: seriously? I have to cut my nails already? Surely it hasn’t been that long. But it was.

And then today I realized my new (purchased the week before my move) bottle of Vitamin C is almost empty. I don’t take vitamins regularly even though I should. You could hold a gun to my head and say, “If you don’t take your vitamins every day for a week I will kill you and your cats,” I still wouldn’t be able to do it. And now that fucking bottle is almost empty. I can see the bottom of the fucking bottle.

It’s like hitting the pan on your favorite eye shadow and going: WTF I just bought this!

I can still talk to him almost every day, thank the gods, but whenever I have one of these moments where something little jumps out at me and screams: BEHOLD THE UNYIELDING PASSAGE OF TIME HAHA! And I realize it really hasn’t been that long and I have thousands and thousands of other little moments waiting in the wings to jump out at me.

I’m going to turn 33 next month and I’ll be 35 or 36 when we get to a place where we can live together again. That in itself gives me pause.

And, like an ostrich with head in the sand (is that even a real thing?) or a cat that’s just fallen off of something and doesn’t want to admit there was a moment when it wasn’t graceful and in control of everything around it, I pretend I’m not upset, that that little thing/monster didn’t happen, and I move on with my day.

I don’t know if that’s the most healthy thing to do or that it will keep working but it’s working for me so far and that’s really all I can ask for right now.

Having a creative outlet also helps. Working with characters that I love helps.

What helps you?

Long Distance Relationships

(ALERT: this blog post contains extreme gushing and objectification of my significant other. Because I’m obsessed. With my significant other. As is normal (if you’re not obsessed with your significant other, what is wrong with you?) It gets really cheesy and lovey-dovey here. You have been warned.)

Continue reading Long Distance Relationships