For Better or Worse – Married to a Writer by GB Pool

For Better or Worse
Before I married my husband, I told him all I wanted to do in life was write. I wanted to make sure he didn’t mind being married to a writer. Richard wouldn’t have cared if I said I wanted to wrestle alligators. He just wanted to get married. Neither one of us was getting any younger.

           So we married. It will be 30 years this coming New Years Eve. And I have written many books. Fifteen have hit the presses and I am doing what I said I wanted, but I also signed on as wife, and that has obligations, too.

It was only six years into our marriage when it became possible for me to retire and write full-time. No longer were we sharing the chores and the cooking after work. Now Richard earned the paycheck; I was “housewife/writer.” No matter what they tell you, writing doesn’t pay all the bills for most of us pen-pushers.
I have to admit, the house was cleaner when I had a full-time job. I also wasn’t doing any writing then. I kept the homestead ship-shape and took pride in a sparkling kitchen and dust-free zones. Now there are dust bunnies the size of gorillashiding under the bed and there are areas of the house I haven’t touched in years.
But I do try to put hot meals on the table, though more than once the center of the re-heated beans is still cold or the three-day-old chicken is a tad tough. I do wash and iron the clothes, even the permanent press. I want to send Richard off to work looking terrific.
I used to do this all on Friday. It was a solid seven or eight hour day. I started to dread Thursday evening knowing what loomed ahead of me the next day.
My brilliant husband suggested I split up the work week. So a few hours Monday, Thursday and Friday gets it all done. I am finished before noon every workday and have two entirely free days in the middle of the week when I am working on a writing project.

The schedule works, though I do dread Wednesday evenings knowing “cleaning day” is coming, but I get over it quicker. And it is the right thing to do. I also make a point of listening when Richard has a bad day or a good day or an average day at the office because he is giving me what I wanted – time to write. If he wants to head off to the hardware store or Big 5 Sporting Goods or Office Depot, he asks me to go with him and I do. The fact he still wants my company means more to me than the hour or two I might lose at the computer.
I have spent these many years not only writing, but building doll houses and making other miniatures and painting. My artwork is everywhere. I tried to leave the living room as strictly his space for his various radios and books. And I give him space to do his own thing in the garage.

My point in writing this blog post is to let other writers know they, too, have an obligation to their spouse or family and pets, even their friends, to give a little of themselves while doing what they want to do. You have to be true to yourself, but you aren’t alone out there and having friends and family to share your dreams and accomplishments is an integral part of life.
Richard and I signed on to that agreement nearly thirty years ago when we said, “I do.” I am thankful every single day that he had no idea what he was getting into. I guess this is sort of a Valentine to my guy. Thanks for believing in me, RJ.

22 thoughts on “For Better or Worse – Married to a Writer by GB Pool”

  1. Gayle, really enjoyed your post on several levels. Loved hearing about you and Richard's great relationship, about the not knowing what you're getting into on both sides but thankful it worked, and the organization to do all the things we think we should. Your housework approach also grabbed my interest–housework is the last thing I want to do…

    Congrats on thirty years, and loved the pictures!


  2. Whoa, what an almost-tearjerker-of-happiness post! Good advice all around, Gayle, and you and he may not know it, but HE got a pretty good deal too! I, and I'm sure Gayle, would love to hear about how other writers manage family etc., in their writing careers.


  3. What a lovely post, Gayle. I’ve been to your house and have NEVER seen a gorilla-sized dust bunny, though. Count me in the I-Hate-Housework club, but it is a necessary evil, and I, too, break it up into chunks during the week and some stuff I save for once-a-month (or, I confess, less often.) I once read a book called “Speed Cleaning” but if I did every task in that book, I’d never finish!
    Having good friends and scheduling time with them is way more important than a dust-free zone in my opinion, so I balance my time between writing, hanging out with my pals, and keeping my dog Thunder entertained. Thunder is a great coach, by the way. If I’ve been at the computer too long, she lets me know she’s bored and wants me to throw the ball for her. She’s smarter than I am about the need to take a break.


  4. I painted it several years ago as a present. Richard's sister, Maurine, took the photo I copied when they were up at Hearst Castle many moons ago. But I loved the pic and painted it.


  5. Gayle, what a delightful post. You and Richard make such a cute couple – even after all these years!
    My mum was a writer, too. One of her favorite book titles was “The I Hate House Work Book,” written by a brave soul in the 1970s, when women were expected to be very house-proud. Her stolen hours of writing (after raising five children)was her sanity. So after the occasional, vague flit around with a feather duster proclaimed, “Well – it's clean dust!”
    I know your Richard would rather have a happy, creative wife than a frustrated house-scrubber for a wife.


  6. I joined the I-Hate-Housework Club years ago. So when I am mulling over a scene, or stuck for an idea – I vacuum or tidy the fridge. My apartment cleanliness depends on how many times I am stuck for a writing solution…


  7. My husband passed away several months ago, and yet I find myself sticking to the habits I had when he was here. I've moved to a different state, different house, and yet, here I am, on almost a schedule. Wonderful post, and I hate housework, too.
    Marja McGraw


  8. I don't know anyone who enjoys housework, but I found it humorous how many writers mentioned how writers block got them dusting and vacuuming. For me it's company coming. But I enjoyed the sweet love story. Congrats on reaching 30, and may you both enjoy many happy years to come.


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