This month for OUT I wrote something a little different. So different I’m almost a little nervous about everyone reading it.
“Your life is like a novel,” I often tell my wife, and as a writer, my fingers have itched to sort her childhood chaos into a simpler, happier narrative.
“It’s very Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas of you,” said our friend Dylan when I confessed this growing fixation. But I was sick of my own family stories, now utterly—triumphantly, even—bored by them.
So instead I wrote about Jessica’s life, about her childhood. And she let me.
She helped me, even. It’s a tricky undertaking, excavating sufficient detail with which to make a narrative from between the pinpricks of painful memories—trickier still when the subject of your data mining is one you love more than anything. With the subtle ruthlessness borne of decades’ experience, I started in on a series of gentle interrogations about all these people who made my wife the woman she is, but whom I would never meet.
When on occasion my ethical instincts reared up and I felt obligated to remind her it wasn’t an empty threat that I’d write it all down, that I wasn’t simply scribbling notes for myself, Jessica would laugh and say knowingly, “I married a journalist.”
Read “Father Figure” online today or pick up a copy of the Love Issue, on newsstands now.