My husband doesn’t always say the right thing. Not that long ago when our Little Dude was sleeping four hours a night, he asked why we didn’t have clean towels. He sometimes makes honking sounds while I’m changing my shirt, or sings commercial ditties so that they’re about … well, potty humor.
Lucky for him, when he says the right thing, he really does it right.
This month, four years ago, I completed my first draft of Hot Tamara. Back then it had the very serious title of, “Her Mother’s Daughter.” Anyway, this was the first story of mine that I feared would get me into trouble with my family, my friends, and my then, brand new husband. It was so honest that I even considered holding onto it until certain people died.
But I let him read it because he had read everything of mine; from that awfully cliched screenplay I wrote in my senior year of college, up to the paranormal romance about a recovering alcoholic who could see ghosts. Even though he loved me and showered me with affection, he was no nonsense when it came to improving my writing … but in a nice way, of course.
So when I announced that it ready for him to read, he went for his red pen and took a seat at our dining room table. I handed him the manuscript and then disappeared into my office to await the verdict. I lasted three minutes.
When I ventured out, he was holding his head with both hands. The red pen lay neglected to the side. “What do you think?” I asked hesitantly.
I’ll never forget his face when he looked up from the manuscript. Tears were in his eyes and he said to me in an unsteady voice, “You did it, babe. This is going to be the one that’ll sell.”
For a year and a half during which this story went through several revisions, and was then rejected 17 times, he never lost that conviction. Those words sustained me back then, and right now, as I valiantly strive to meet my Feb. 15th deadline, I hear his voice when I worry my brain is no longer capable of original, much less coherent thought. So if I’m ever lucky enough to be honored with a Rita, I hope my words to him will show the depth of my gratitude for that one moment.
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