9 to 5

Today I spent the early morning working on my micro-chap.  I was not sure what to blog about so I dove into that, hoping inspiration would strike.  Then I headed off to take Hubs to work.  When I got home, I returned to the office and sat down to write this, but there was nothing.  Then Mark flashed though my mind, just a little image of him driving the forklift around the back lot of his work. 

Mark is a blue-collar worker.  Not to say he doesn’t have aspirations…his dream is to one day run a food truck or open a restaurant.  In his spare time, he is teaching himself to cook a little.  He watches food shows everyday.  He hopes he has something someday that he can leave to his kids. 

Alas, he drives a forklift. 

There are days he complains but no more than the average Joe does about their job.  Mostly he gets up and goes into work everyday and tries to do his job through a really enlightening view, actually: he likes to think that he is helping people.  And he is.  His company makes industrial safety equipment…like railings and ramps and such.  They send safety equipment to large warehouses, hospitals, concert venues, even into space, once.  He chooses to focus on that aspect instead of the grueling everyday task of loading pipe onto trucks.

I don’t have a job.  I haven’t been able to work for some time due to my health, so he is the sole financial supporter of our family right now, more or less.  But in the past two months, I have been able to contribute a small amount though my book sales.  Which means something other than extra money, to me.

It means that I have a husband who has supported me not only financially, but emotionally on my journey to publication.  He works his butt off so that I can stay home and write, the only work I feel able to do right now.  He tells me it doesn’t matter, because I am going to write THE BIG ONE someday, and he can’t wait to see me succeed in that.

I pretty much live the life of a fulltime writer, since I am not working.  I have a daily schedule:  Monday-blog.  Tuesday-poetry.  Wednesday-submissions.  Thursday-blog.  Friday-novel or kids’ book.  Saturday-marketing and promotion.  I don’t spend all day on these tasks, but I work these tasks every day.  And of course, as is the plight of the writer, when I am not actually working, I am thinking about working.  So somedays it feels like I never get a break.  At least, in my head.

But Hubs job uses his body.  We have had a couple of arguments over who is more spent at the end of the day.  His job is physically exhausting, mine is mentally exhausting.  I might not want to think anymore, but he doesn’t even want to move.  I can’t imagine that life.  When I worked in day care, I was beginning to get sick.  It was harder and harder each day to use my body for my work-and THAT is a more strenuous job than anyone realizes.

Anyway…the other day we were talking about his food truck aspirations.  He wants it sooner rather than later, and I totally understand that as it’s exactly how I feel about my book.  But I also know that without the proper planning and time and circumstance, things don’t come together, and they rarely come together in the time frame you want.  A lighting and set designer I used to work at the theater with, Mike Lodick, always said “You can get it cheap, easy, or good.  Pick two.”  That applies to most everything you want, I have found.  Certainly applies to fulfilling your dreams.

So right now, I am working on fulfilling mine.  And then someday a miracle will happen, and my novel will be published and sell a million copies, and I will buy my husband a food truck as a thank you for driving around that forklift while I sit here and peck out these words.

We will work to make each other greater.  We have worked to make each other greater.  I am lucky I have someone who helps me follow my dreams, and who I can help follow theirs.

The Name Game

I’m coming up on two years of marriage and have not gotten around to officially changing my name.  The truth of the matter is that I’m just not going to do it.

I said this to Mark one day and he replied “but you love me and we’re a family, so why don’t you take my name?”  To which I replied “but you love me and we’re a family, so why don’t you take MY name?”  The conversation ended there, because Hubs knows I don’t tolerate inequality.

When I was a kid I watched My Girl 2, and distinctly remember a scene in which Vada complains about women changing their names because she is unable to find a high school classmate of her mothers.  She declares that it would be easier to find people when you needed them.  That made a lot of sense to my youthful brain, and this is when I decided that taking someone else’s name was kind of silly.

I maintained this straight through meeting Mark.  When the time came and we sat in the marriage licensing office, they asked me, would I be taking his name, or hyphenating?  I always thought I would hyphenate, but I thought that was a lot of writing every time I had to sign my name.  I mean, I don’t even do the last three letters of my name, it’s just a scrawl.  So, I decided I would wait until later to change it.

Well, later came and went and it never happened and never will.  I feel like changing your name isn’t for me for a variety of reasons.

  1. I aspire to be a writer, and so far, I’ve been using my given name, and would like to continue to do so.
  2. I don’t like the patriarchal setup where a woman goes through the agony of childbirth but the kid ends up with the man’s name.  Or the inequality of it in marriage, as previously mentioned. I’m just too much of a feminist for this.
  3. My ancestors bore that name and brought it across the ocean, so of course I feel connected to my family and past through it.  And finally…
  4. What if we got divorced?  I mean God forbid, but then I’d have to go and change it again?  What a waste of my time, all around.

Some women choose to take their partners name and that’s swell, but I really think it’s an important decision that every woman needs to think about.  I flip-flopped on it, resulting in a Facebook listing my married name and everything else listing my maiden.  In the end, for me, I don’t think I could change it.  I love my name…from my first, which is never spelled correctly, to my last, which is my fathers.  Fortunately, I have a loving and understanding husband who listens to me rage about the patriarchy and has no problem with me keeping my name.

I mean I assume.  It’s not like I asked permission.