Thursday, November 12, 2015

Working With the Wife

Photo: July wine trip, California, Navarro Winery before 31st wedding anniversary and a bunch of other junk

My most recent book, Indiana Wineries, was written with my wife, Becky.  Since she snapped many of the photos in the book, and often accompanied me on the winery visits around the state, I thought it was important to have her name on the cover . . . that, and we could then divide our time at book signings, appearances, and other winery visits once the book was published.

A great plan.

But working with a wife, any wife, is not what it's cracked up to be.  Now, instead of being this independent writer who is footloose and fancy free (isn't this the definition of freelancer?) I am bombarded with questions like:

"So, when is our next book signing?"
"Why did you schedule it then?"
"What were you thinking?"
"You did what?"
"You Idiot!"

This experience has taught me one thing:  I admire those married couples who can work together for long expanses of time . . . such as a full day or a swing shift.  Being able to work with your spouse demonstrates a certain resolve.  But believing that you can work with your spouse for days-on-end demonstrates a proclivity toward insanity.

Don't get me wrong.  I love my wife.  She's my best friend, my confidant, my sometimes-cook and cleaning lady.  She's also the principal breadwinner and my lover (at least twice a year and always on my birthday if she doesn't have a headache).  You do the math.  We were meant for each other.  She doesn't even care if I forget an anniversary or two.  What a woman! 

But going on a book-signing tour together was not God's design for marriage. Rather, God intended for literary couples to write from their respective cubicles and holler at each other late at night:  "How do you spell olfactory?" 

The fact is, we are just getting started on our book tour around the state.  I have miles to go before I sleep . . . and I was getting very little of it before I began working with my wife.  

But folks who are looking for entertainment should seek us out at these book signings.  Chances are, we'll be there together, and patrons can catch us mid-argument, or perhaps wrestling with deeper frustrations that involve split infinitives or choice adjectives.  We might even toss in a noun.

Just don't forget to ask us about Indiana wines.  That will help.  My wife knows more about these things than I do.  I'm just along for the ride.  And I try to keep my mouth shut unless I'm tasting.
~Todd Outcalt

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Week's Worth of Work

Writers often discover success like bananas--in bunches.  And this past week was an interesting, and eclectic bunch, for sure.

In addition to completing a few new essays for submission in 2016, some of my older essays found their way to readerships at YouthWorker and elsewhere. I was also overjoyed when two editors said "yes" to some of my poems--all of which were fast-tracked to publications before year end.  

And then there's science fiction. A couple of week's ago I had a nod from an editor in London (thanks, Adam) who has been very kind to me over the years, accepting my short story "The Superannuated Man".  Last week I placed a second story, "The Last Man on Earth", in a newer publication.

Often, it takes weeks like this to keep a writer writing . . . but that's part of the struggle and the fun.  Nothing comes easy.  

It is also fun to ask:  "What's next?"  Much yet to write.  

And eating a banana now and then doesn't hurt, either.
~Todd Outcalt