The Journey of 209,818 Words
There are so many things I could write to celebrate this day. Theme. Character development. My experience as an indie author in the digital age.
But, only one subject holds my interest: My husband, Myles. The journey of 209,818 words, also known as ELEMENTS, is a reality because of this man.
My husband is not a romantic sort. Not in the traditional sense. His romantic gestures are honor and respect, far more swoon worthy gifts to me than flowers or material objects or chocolates. Which are great to receive, don’t get me wrong. But I’ve never needed those things to feel loved or romanced. Although, a girl can live on chocolate. (Myles if you’re reading this, *wink, wink*.) Instead, he shows me that I matter. That what burns inside of me–my passions, my dreams–is not only important, but should be empowered and embraced.
That, my friends, is my definition of romance–to love another so completely it truly completes them.
When I left a career in September 2012, I began applying at the University of Washington with hopes to finish my Bachelors of Science degree. The issue that blocked me in 2012 was, alas, the same issue I had at age twenty: money. Yeah. Paying for college is the equivalent of paying rent! Back when we were younger, it was more important for my husband to finish school as he was apprenticed and it was required to reach journeyman status. So, I gladly received my Associates Degree and worked odd-end administrative jobs, instead.
Flash forward to present day. With university out of the question, I floundered for what to do. Again. It seemed like most people by my age knew what they wanted to be when they grew up and were already living that life. Me? My life has been one long series of hardships, from a life threatening illness that consumed much of my childhood to caring for my grandmother through part of my twenties after my mother passed away while also caring for my two sons, both of which have congenital heart defects and sensory processing disorder. Most of my life has been in the company of doctors, nurses, specialists, physical therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, and…you name it. I’m eternally grateful for each one of them, too! But, I had to grow up real fast. Life was about survival, sustaining one moment to move forward to the next. And the next. And the one after that.
But, October 2012, all that changed. My husband decided it was time I focused on me. To become what I always wanted to be. To no longer make the dreams and businesses of others a success, but to put all that energy into making me a success. Even to go back to school if I wanted. We’ll find a way, he’d say. Why? Because I matter. That what burns inside of me–my passions, my dreams–is important. And what did I want to be when I grow up? A writer. I had planned to become a technical writer for research and scientific journals, hence the degree in science. But my husband encouraged me to write a novel, instead.
With renewed vision, Myles told me to treat this career switch like I was finishing school or a full time job. Get the resources I needed and dedicate myself to the task. And I did. I ordered boxes of books on the craft of writing, developmental editing, and even a variety of fictional books to dismantle and piece back to together to study the art of storytelling. After working all day, Myles would take over care of our three children in the evenings and most weekends so I had quiet time to plot and write. I’d read each chapter to him and he’d give me feedback. Fillion and Mack’s hacking? All my husband, tech guru that he is.
At one point while drafting ELEMENTS, I had lost my plot book. I was so incredibly stressed out near the end that he took a day off from work, picked up a white board, and sat with me at the kitchen table until it was time to pick up our kids from school. All the while, I re-plotted and fine tuned all the details. We discussed my story. Laughed. Flirted. Drank coffee together. Stole kisses in the kitchen. Went out to lunch. It was one of the most romantic days in our twenty-one years together as a couple (eighteen of which we’ve been married). I know, some of you think I’m a strange girl. Yes, yes I am. But to me, his gesture to treat my career seriously, to respond to me as if my needs were real and valid, showed me a depth of love that flowers, cards, jewelry or chocolates could never come close to touching.
The journey of 209,818 words began twenty-two years ago when a fifteen year old girl walked into an English class and thought the seventeen year old boy in the back was hot. A boy she didn’t have the faintest idea would one day become her husband. The father of her children. Or the reason she could make her dreams and passions a reality, now twice over!
Myles, there is no love story quite like ours and no romance that even compares to yours <3 Thank you for empowering me by being the most romantic unromantic man I have ever known and for loving me so completely.
“Love has little to do with romance and everything to do with honor.” — ELEMENTS