When you're married to a writer, the writing process is a shared experience. You wear many hats in the relationship: focus group, cheerleader, psychiatrist, business advisor, editor, critic, masseuse, and (very, very often) drinking buddy. It's a bit like those Verizon commercials, where the network of people follow the cell phone user around. Except that, in my case, there are clones of me following The Lovely Becky around. My face stays the same, only the uniform changes (although I don't make a very good French maid).
I have shared plenty of bad writing experiences, because the writing process is often like being infected with a chronic disease, and a screeching monkey who has his claws dug into your back holds the medicine vial. You flail with the monkey every day to get the medicine you need. What person in his or her right mind would want to go through that every day?
The answer: writers. So that means I also have an Animal Control hat in my bag, too.
But here's the great thing about writing: one good thing can shut the monkey up for months. I have been very fortunate to share lots of good writing moments with TLB: getting into the Iowa Writer's Workshop, selling her book, seeing it on the shelf. And now, one more...
The Lovely Becky's lovely novel, Icebergs, is a finalist for the 2007 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.
The Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award is a big deal for a new writer. It's awarded to a first work of fiction, either a novel or short story collection. Unless you manage to snag a Pulitzer of National Book Award your first time out, the Hemingway/PEN is the most prestigious prize for a first-time writer. And making it to the final group is like making it to the NCAA Final Four.
TLB and Icebergs made the final three. Yvette Christianse's Unconfessed was the other finalist, and Brief Encounters With Che Guevara by Ben Fountain won. The PEN New England site hasn't formally posted the news yet, but since the esteemed Jerome Weeks announced it on his BookDaddy blog, I can announce it here.
So, for now, the monkey is in his cage, quietly nibbling on the Banana of Triumph, while TLB has a case full of medicine. As for me, I'm putting on my party hat and celebrating with my awesome, awesome wife.