This is my first book. Before I finish the next project and put it up on Amazon (hopefully within the next week), I should probably talk about this one, and if doing so leads into a bit of autobiography, that might not be so bad, either.
I got married at 19, which is probably not a great idea, but I sure learned a lot about being in relationships (and how to get a divorce). I met B a few years after I got out of that one, when I was 28. We hit it off, and within the first date or two, I was pretty sure I was going to keep her as long as possible. And I did.
We got married about two years later, on the lucky-number day of 7/7/07. Getting married is a solid test for any relationship; weddings are a huge ordeal to organize, and forcing family members that don’t get along to get along together for a few hours is impossible, and you always have some doubt in your head about whether the service is too religious, not religious enough, whether you’re too religious or not religious enough, why your bridesmaids can’t just shut up and wear orange, etc, etc, etc. That wedding passed with flying colors, and we were as fiercely in love on our wedding night as we were the day she proposed, as we were every minute after.
And about a year later, I learned that happily ever after is not always such a long time. She passed away suddenly, a year and a month and a week after our wedding day.
You find yourself in situations that life has not prepared you for, sometimes — I almost think that the point of life is to prepare you to find yourself in situations you’re not prepared for. I had a good support structure, family and friends who kept me eating and not shooting myself, which was as great an accomplishment as anything you could expect from them. I mean, they weren’t prepared for this either. Who does prepare to be a widower at 31? I’d never even lost a friend before.
I had a girlfriend one time that I slept with nearly every night, and one day I went to a doctor who asked me if I had sleep apnea. “Do you stop breathing and start suddenly with a snore again in the middle of the night?” he asked.
“I dunno,” I said, and I called the girlfriend.
“Of course you have sleep apnea, you idiot,” she said. “How did you not know that?”
In my own defense, I was asleep when it happened. But the depression I was plunged into when I lost B was much the same way — I was busy at first arranging a funeral, figuring out her estate, figuring out how to pay all the bills and taxes by myself; then I was busy flinging myself into bars, one-night stands, and obsessive careerism for several years. I didn’t realize that I was depressed, because I was working as hard as I could to stay distracted. For the next six years.
But part of that distraction was working on a masters degree, an English program, and part of that program was a poetry course. I delved into it, then criticism, then theory of rhetoric. By the time I took the last course (on Jane Austen), I thought I could write. And then when I read what I was writing, I started to realize that I was writing an awful lot of hurt.
I collected some of that hurt and some of the discovery that went along with it, and I put it into this book. You know, you can’t describe a fire when you’re burning to death; it’s only after you’re out of it that you can talk about it, and then you feel like an ungrateful fool for not discussing the firefighters that saved your ass… and maybe next blog post, whenever that happens, I’ll talk about the people who did. Some of them might read this someday, and I would hate for them to feel left out.
But you start with the fire. Whatever life forges me into, that burning will always be a key part of it, so I started there. If you’ll stay with me, I’ll try to write about something more cheerful in the next post, like Alyssa Milano’s boobs.
(I’m cheating, here; I’ve already got 850 words written about Alyssa Milano’s boobs. I’ll try to have that available for you later this week!)