Monday, October 17, 2011
Any good writer is an observer of others. We are students of the people, relationships and body language all around us; the words said and unsaid with the subtle flick of a lock of hair over the shoulder, the compulsive bending of a fingernail or the skittering glance of the eyes toward a telling point of insight or intelligence about the plot afoot ...
Yes, it's important to take in all these details so we can accurately portray emotions on the page for the reader.
Reading isn't visual or tactile or auditory (well, sometimes), it's contextual. We have to create all the above with words. Words are powerful. I know this. So, why didn't I remember it Saturday night??
I've been married a long time, 23 years to be exact, with the same guy who I dated for 4 years before we were engaged. So, I guess in some circles, that makes me an expert of sorts. (Which I completely disagree with, however ...) This weekend, I happened to run into a friend I hadn't seen since High School.
Beautiful, sweet, personable. And newly engaged to Fiance #3 (or #4?, I didn't ask). So, since she's known me since Jr. High, she asked how my hubby and I managed to look as happy today as we did all those years ago when we were newly engaged.
And like the brutally honest person I am (yes, it's my greatest strength and my greatest weakness!) I tell her the truth. WHAT WAS I THINKING????
I think I said something like this: Well, we're generally happy people. But marriage is about compromise. You gotta know what you're willing to throw down for and what you're willing to let go. You can't compromise on something that will fundamentally change you as a person.
Bad enough, I know... If I'd only stopped there, but noooooooo. Read on:
I said, We've been there. But in the end we always manage to work things out. Besides, it's too expensive to divorce. I might as well keep him.
I wish I could blame it on the wine. But I was still working my first glass. What I wish I'd said was this:
I really don't think there's any one thing I could point to. We're generally happy people. We met really early which gave us the chance to grow up together and luckily, we grew into each other. We fill in the gaps for each other, where I'm weak, he's strong and vice-versa. Manners are important; please, thank you, you're welcome, etc. And separate bathrooms make me really happy. My answer would be to speak softly and try to do something nice for each other every day. Congratulations on your engagement!
So, now I just feel like an ass. Honesty can be a bludgeon or a scalpel. Wish I'd used the scalpel ... *sigh*