All Creative Types Need My Husband

I come from creative stock. Every side of the family — from the ones I share genetics with and the ones claimed through love — has crafters and artists and a handful of writers. And they’re all supportive. They think its cool that I can make half-an-income writing and raising the child. They look forward to seeing me succeed in publishing a novel.

However, this is an ode my husband, who I have stolen from all other creative types who need so earnest and supportive a cheerleader. (Nyah-nyah!)

I was one of those crazy chicks who made it known way, way too soon in the relationship that I wanted to be the mom who works at home and writes. After several years of trying to scare each other off with our assorted dysfunctions and issues, we had a baby and got married instead.

Best decision I’ve ever made. I assume he feels the same way.

Not pictured: When I said in the vows, “I hope you look forward to supporting a failing writer for the rest of your life.”

We’re sort of a perfect match: he’s a voracious reader and loves to analyze things, so we can talk stories and character motivation. He’s wicked smart about all sorts of stuff, so when I have technical questions (which is often), he can usually at least point me in the right direction. He introduced me to sci-fi; I told him way more about fandom than he ever really wanted to know. Plus, we’re both intensely Catholic, so our guilt trips can go on for days.

When we moved to Lawrence, he supported me working from home — and shouldered the burden of supporting our family alone until I had work. And he continues to be supportive, through the periods of time when we have plenty of money, and the times when we struggle. When I want to give it up and go work overnights as McDonalds, he sits me back at the computer and reminds him why we’ve managed so far. When I fall into a funk and bemoan how terrible a writer I am, he assures me that while I may have room to grow, I’m good. He always tells people he’s married to writer, and eventually I started to believe him.

I don’t mean to act like he’s utterly perfect, or that I’m somehow the picture wife, and that this whole thing is just the easiest thing ever. It’s hard. He can’t take risks with his job, because we’d be homeless without his income — and while he’s fantastic at his job, it’s neither what he wants to do with his life nor does it offer him much opportunity to advance. He gives up a lot for me to do this full-time, and every time I don’t progress, I feel like I’m failing to repay his huge gift to me. (He doesn’t, but see above: Roman Catholic Guilt.) You can see, sometimes, that he gets frustrated when my income suddenly dips and I could be doing more to fix it.

Here’s the thing, though: The Husband really wants me to succeed and do what I love. Not just because we both want him to be my trophy husband when I’m awesome and famous, but because he loves me. (Conversely, I want him to do what he loves and makes him happy, but I keep denying him that mistress we live in a system that makes sending an intelligent man back to college damn near impossible. Unless, of course, we’d like a huge portion of crippling debt. </rant>)

He celebrates my small successes. He celebrates my failures, because failure means progress. He urges me to do better, to try harder, and be proud of what I do.

My husband is a writer’s best friend. (You know. Mine.)

Ashley M. Hill found her voice in science fiction when her curiosity about technology coupled with the lifelong urge to tell stories. Her interest in social and feminist issues shapes how she approaches the genre. She's pursuing computer and network repair for her day job.


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