Yesterday I told my husband that I’d begun to query. It’s not something I would normally mention, but I’m nervous about the whole thing and I have a bad vibe, the kind that comes from wanting something too much.

Good, he said. Sell the book. We could use the money for the move.

Not for the first time, I explained that publishing doesn’t work that way. It’s slow, tedious, maddeningly uncertain. There probably won’t be money in this book, and if there is, the payout is a long way off. This is about getting an agent and getting published. This is writing, a labor of love.

My explanation felt narcissistic even as I gave it. Because who am I loving, really?

He didn’t have much to say after that. I got the feeling he was disappointed in me.

I don’t blame him. How awful it must be to be around someone who lives almost entirely in her own head, who spends hours and hours holed up with her pages and resents any interruption, who vacillates between a craven aloneness and the pathological need for approval that must surely exist in anyone with a big enough ego to imagine she can hold a reader’s attention for 250 pages. Until two years ago, he had a normal wife who engaged in her surroundings in a normal way. Now he has me. The least I could do for him and the kids is to approach the endeavor with the idea of making some money for them.

It might sell . . . I told him.

I know, he said. His face was very still. I’ve been waiting a long time.

What’s it like, living with you?


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