It was among the art and light and spring air of Paris that we first got our start, and a year ago today Harriet and I returned to that same city to celebrate our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. For our twenty-sixth, we’re housebound.
She’s upstairs at her desk working from home. I’m downstairs at mine. Two college-age kids are back living with us, finishing their semesters online. We’re all trying to ride out the plague.
If it weren’t for the sickness and death around us, if it weren’t for the ineptitude of our leadership, if it weren’t for the moral failures of our system of government, if it weren’t for the economic inequities, if it weren’t for our dismal profit-driven health care system . . . well, I might be perfectly content.
Because I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve really only wanted two things most of my life: love and writing. And I’ve gotten both. I believe Harriet has saved me from what would have been a lonely, unstable, nomadic life. I believe my family has anchored me not in a weighty, restrictive way, but in providing a foundation and roots that have given me room to flourish and grow as a person.
As for writing — I’ve been writing all my adult life. I haven’t achieved everything I’ve wanted, but I’ve cobbled together a living and accomplished what once was my singular writing dream and goal: publishing novels. Sure, attain one dream, another one takes its place: I want to publish more. I want my writing to be critically acclaimed. I want my writing to win prizes. But I can only control the writing part, and that I’m doing the best I can.
I have Harriet to thank for giving me the space and time to be a writer. I have Harriet to thank for our two wonderful children. I have her to thank for pretty much everything that’s right in my life.
Twenty-six years is a chunk of time. It’s a commitment. Ask me the secret to marriage longevity, and I say there is no secret. It’s like anything else you want: You dedicate yourself to the cause, you make every effort to overcome the inevitable setbacks, you accept as you want to be accepted. Most of all, you find the right person. I did. It takes some luck, it takes good judgment.