I’m going to be honest. My husband – whom I love – has not read anything of mine since our uni days. Articles, short stories, drabbles, novellas, monstrous works of fan fiction: they’ve all gone unseen by his eyes.
He’s not the only one in my family who doesn’t read my work, of course. My parents are probably afraid to know what I write, and my in-laws don’t want to spend much time around my husband, let alone me, so they’re out of the loop, as well. My sister reads my work occasionally, but she has a family of her own, and our tastes don’t exactly match up. I have an aunt who takes an interest from a creative standpoint, but even her feedback is very general, and I get the impression that she’s being supportive of my writing simply because I’m following my muse, not because she thinks my work is good. And the girls…well, let’s just say they’ve got more primal interests (food, naps, playtime) on their minds.
So, I often get left to ponder and second-guess myself whenever I put down more than a few words on a piece of paper.
Now, I’ve spent most of my life huddled up at my desk, scribbling or typing away the words of my imagination, so I’m used to the solo aspect of writing. And, for some of it, I wouldn’t want anyone to see. It’s for me alone to read, like a personal journal expressed in fictional characters and adventures. Or, it’s just plain bad. So, I can’t really complain about that.
But the husband thing… The husband thing bothers me.
This is my mate. The person whom I’ve chosen to lean on when times are tough. Not sharing something so integral and personal to me such as my writing feels like I’m keeping a secret from him. A secret that I want so badly to tell.
When we first started dating (and I hesitated to use that word, since our relationship was not your typical pick-up, go to dinner and a movie situation), I made the utterly stupid mistake of showing him some of my younger work. That stuff was terrible, and I’m certain that that is what soured him to my fictional musings. But I’ve grown so much since then…! And I want to be able to talk with him about this part of my life which is so important.
So, I write away, tapping at my laptop and note-taking machine that on rare occasion doubles as a telephone, and I wonder how to get him to open up to what I do. He says he’d like to read my stories…but I don’t want it to be like mowing the lawn or taking out the garbage. I don’t want this to have to be a chore for him. I want his support. I want him to know what I’m capable of doing. But I feel like he needs to come to it willingly. I’ve even given him the easy out of just reading some of my 100-word drabbles. “They’re only a hundred words,” I tell him. “You can read them in less than a minute!”
He does support my writing in other ways, of course. When I need to work without distraction, he lets me do so. He takes care of the girls, handles the chores, whatever, so that I can lock myself away and get down to some serious writing. But I don’t think he’s ever actually read anything that I’ve created in the last ten years.
He’s my husband – whom I love – and I don’t want to give up on this. But maybe it’s time I do so.