I printed out LIFE-LIKE, punched holes into the left side margins, gently placed the pages into a three-ring binder, and cautiously placed it on my husband’s side of the bed. This will be the first time he’s read it.
Are you shocked? You shouldn’t be. I’ve read aloud to him from different parts of the book, at different stages, but he’s not the guy for me to bounce drafts off of for several reasons. The first one is, he really loves me and thinks my work is better than it is most times. Second, I don’t always want to hear his opinion when I am struggling to figure out an idea. Third, he’s busy and I don’t want to wait on him. Fourth, my ego is fragile and if he didn’t like an early draft I may not continue…okay, that’s a white lie, I would continue but I’d be annoyed at him and not trust his judgement. You see, I tell him my story ideas all the time, and usually he shakes his head, smiles at me, and tells me I’m weird. Other times he jumps in on how he imagines my story should go and I never agree with him so really what’s the point?
Oh, yes, my point. Once upon a time, I was sitting in a writing class where the instructor discussed circles of friends and readers and who should you trust to read your work in each phase. My instructor drew a series of concentric circles on the board and explained the few names I wrote in the innermost circle were the most trusted and those in the following circles were less so. I’m almost positive this was a memoir lecture, but it can be applied to fiction as well.
Remember back to last winter, when I was sad about my writers group falling apart? They were my inner circle. And when that virtual collective mind vanished I was left with a literary hole. I worked my way through all that and completed my book despite losing all those trusted eyes.
Now it’s time to put my book out into the world and who better to read it with fresh eyes than someone who wants me to succeed?
He read the first fifteen pages last night and this morning said, “The pages are tight and really moved. The only thing that stopped me was the word “stinker.” Who uses that?”
“I do. And maybe I’ll start a trend. If an agent or publisher wants me to change it I will.”
My friend asked me how I could stand letting him read it and if it was a lose-lose proposition for him. “It’s kind of asking him is your ass looks fat in those jeans, there is no winning. What if he doesn’t like it? He can’t tell you.”
“Yes, he can. And he’d better tell me if my ass looked fat in jeans too.”
“You guys have a good marriage.”
“Yes, I believe we do.”
Fingers crossed he’ll enjoy the rest of the story that LIFE-LIKE weaves.
He and I started discussing the dream cast for the movie. I haven’t figured out who would play my main character, Liv. But Blake Lively is absolutely Mary,
and Emile Hirsch would be a great Charlie,
and Rachel Weisz would be a fantastic Maude.
I’m curious to see what Debra Zane has to say about casting it too. It’s good to dream big. You should too.