My wife Jenn and I at the Spoutwood Fairie Festival, circa 2008~
So, I wrote this book. It’s called The Dark Wife, and six days from today, it’s being released into the world. I’ve worked on it for a very long time, and I love it very much, and I hope the world loves it, too. There’s so much that’s been going on behind the scenes, and so much that needs to continue to happen as we draw, hour by hour, ever closer to Tuesday, May 17th, that most magical of release days. In the coming weeks, I’m going to talk about it, about why I wrote it, and why I think it needed to be written, but–like every good myth–it has its beginnings in something human and real, and that’s where I’d like to start, with the why it’s important to me, its author. I’m an old fashioned romantic. I believe in stolen kisses and flowers and proposing on bended knee, and I believe in true love and happily ever afters and soul mates because I’ve experienced all of those things. I write about love because I know it, deeply, and since I’ve mentioned my wife Jenn several times on this blog, but have not yet elaborated on our story, I thought I would do so, now. This is why I write what I do, this is why I tell the stories I tell–because I have known love too great and beautiful, and through my stories and words, I do my absolute and utter best to express it.
My life is a storybook. All of these pages and words, all of these moments like pretty paintings, on the paper that has gone before, light and shadows and sparkling things, treasure in my life.
I go back through, sometimes, in the deepest parts of my heart where I store this treasure, this storybook, these fairytales. I’ll pick up this memory, the first time I met Jenn. It was so cold that day, snowing, and the suitcase was so heavy. I ran to her and hugged her and she smelled of soap and strawberries and the warm heartbeat of someone I’d been waiting to meet my entire life. The way she cried, the way I did, the scent of pina colada candies she’d gotten me, and the cold of the white gold as I slipped it over her finger, I remember everything.
(Jenn and I met online when we were younger. We had been friends for years, but had never met in person. I sent her a letter, having never even seen a picture of her, telling her I was falling in love with her. We met, and we knew in that moment, that we would be together always. True love. I was nineteen.)
Jenn and I, 2004
This one. This one shines–it’s the time I proposed to her. I was kneeling in the grass at the Fairie Festival, I got a green stain on the white dress I’d sewn. All weekend, everyone asked me if I was getting married, and I’d woven my fingers through Jenn’s, and watched her shyly. We’d talked about it so often, but I wanted to make it official. On the way out of the Fairie Festival that day, hand in hand, someone had shouted at us: “You’re beautiful! The fairies love it when you love each other!” I proposed to her that afternoon. The magic, the certainty, the warmth of her beside me, the lipgloss and glitter and the way we danced beneath the maypole, spinning and laughing like we’d never stop. Here, in this memory, we never have.
(We had known each other for two months, at the time.)
Me in 2004, hours before proposing.
Here’s such a pretty one. The first time she tried on her wedding dress her mother had sewn. She’d sewn both of ours, working around the clock to get them finished in time. She came out of the bathroom and was standing in front of the stove. The late September sunlight filtered through the windows, around her head. I’d swear it was a halo. She smiled at me, the one that makes me feel like I’m the only person on the planet. I’d kissed her cheek, touched the small of her back, speechless. The light blue of the dress, the ring on her finger, the brightness of her eyes, the exaltation of what would soon be, it’s right here.
(Even though New York state does not legally recognize gay marriage, we got married anyway. It was important that, before our friends and family, we declare our love. We desperately hope that, someday, the rest of the world–and NYS–will recognize it, too.)
Jenn on September 29, 2007 — our wedding day.
We have always been part of one another in some way, even before I knew her. All my life, I was searching for her, waiting for her. She is the most warm-hearted, compassionate, beautiful, articulate, intelligent, funny, essentially good person I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, and she’s my wife. I don’t really understand how it happened, and I suppose I never will. I’m the luckiest person, and I know it, and I’ll never stop being grateful. Every time she smiles at me, every time she holds my hand or kisses me or gives me that look or laughs or razzes one of our animals, it happens all over again, that falling in love.
There are so many pretty stories about soul mates and twin flames and legends and myths and words that are built into our DNA to help us understand and identify things we can not measure. But this is mine. I never expected that I could be this happy or be this blessed or be this complete. But I am, because of her.
Jenn and I, 2007
Our friends never wonder why I’m so happy and cheerful and optimistic. Nobody ever wonders where it comes from, why good things always happen, why I’m so lucky. I’ll tell you a secret–it’s because I have everything my heart could ever possibly want or need, and her name is Jenn. I love her in ways that I could never possibly articulate, and I love her more than I can even understand. But I suppose the most important thing in the world is that I love her, and she loves me, and because of her, I have everything.
For my self publishing journey, we have devised the best cottage industry possible. Jenn has a degree in creative writing, and is one of the best editors I’ve ever seen. Being a perfectionist, I edited The Dark Wife five times before handing it over to her for the last edit. She has worked around the clock, taking three hour sleep breaks, to get the book done in time for my release date. She has made it shine. One of the most beautiful and humbling things about all of this is that she’s told me, repeatedly, how much she loves working on the novel because she believes in it so deeply. She believes in me.
Jenn and I a week ago at the Spoutwood Fairie Festival — 2011
In the days to come, in the days after, her love and belief continue to give me the courage to follow my heart and my dream, to tell the story that came to me to tell, to show the world, over and over and over until I take my last dying breath, that being a lesbian does not make us strange or morally wrong or sinful or a hundred thousand things some people believe. That love is love, and it is always beautiful.
I love my wife more than anything in the universe.
And this is the first and strongest reason I spin the stories I do. For her. For us.
For all of us.