- show work to a spouse while it's still in very early draft form, giving him/her full veto power to delete anything
- share it only in late stages of editing, with either (a) a willingness to discuss cuts, but no guarantees; or (b) just as a heads-up
- stay mum until publication
I'm mostly in the second category - b - *Honey, FYI, this piece is coming out next week, and you're in it.* But sometimes I slip into the third. Why? Because I can. Because my husband, bless him, has a sense of humor about himself and us; because after 27 years of marriage he knows to pick his battles; and (maybe best of all) because he is almost completely isolated from social media (his choice).
Seven years ago, I began a narrative essay about how we met, fell apart and come back together multiple times over 12 years. In its various incarnations, the piece grew, deepened, languished, shrank, came back to life in varying forms.
Once, I showed a draft to a writing friend for input and -- because we had dinner planned with this friend and her fiance -- I let Frank read it, mostly so that if the topic of what my friend and I were each writing came up, he wouldn't be in the dark. He shrugged. That was four years ago. I brought the drafts out to play with a few times since, then buried it again.
Finally, last fall, something shifted. I started with a blank screen, and after only a few hours (and 7 years) of rewriting, out it went on the submission trail.
Happily, Blue Lyra Review liked it and "Not Quite Meet-Cute" is part of their newest issue, now live. Which is why, last week, I told Frank, in a by-the-way moment, "A piece I wrote about how we met and dated is going to be published." He shrugged.
I titled this one after a line in the film The Holiday, when the lovely actor Eli Wallach (who plays a now-elderly but once famously productive screenwriter from the golden age of Hollywood), explains that the magical, sweet, sometimes comical moment when fated lovers in a film first encounter one another, is called the "meet-cute."
My husband and I didn't have one of those.
Here's how my story begins: