“What are you thinking?” Dale asked.

He could tell I was thinking something because the drive had been mostly silent. And after 16 years of marriage, he knew the various rhythms of those silences. Exhausted quiet sounds much different from thoughtful quiet. And strained quiet is as loud as a cannon. For months, the cannon had been booming.

“Nothing.”

Now, I’m not one of those women who punishes her husband with tense “figure-me-out” moods. But the last three years had been brutal and I was all out of coaching tips. How could I tell him what I really thought? We were on our way to meet with our pastor and a successful author who attended our church. What I was really hoping… thinking… entertaining… was the thought of getting published.

Becoming famous.

And leaving him.

I knew why he was suddenly investing himself in my life. Money.

The praises of our friends and family over my book had ignited dollars signs within his dark brown eyes. Lord knows nothing else could get him to give me THIS much time. Hours and hours of editing the manuscript, formatting it on the computer, helping me design logos and letterheads – he was hoping I would make it big. He was pinning our financial recovery from a disastrous try at small business back on me.

And I had been stuck enough.

We sat through an hour and a half with Tom and Jon – each of us for different reasons – as Jon laid out the complexity of the publishing world. One by one, my balloons popped. I could count on months of searching for an agent. Years of looking for a publisher and then maybe, MAYBE, if I was really lucky, I’d get signed with a 10 to 15,000 dollar contract for one book. In the meantime, we would need to spend money to make some. Conferences – where I might meet an agent; workshops; agents packets; website; professional editing….

The trip back in the car was even quieter. This time a deflated, zero hope, dead dream quiet. We had no money and no time for me to invest. We couldn’t even afford postage for 300 query letters, much less the cost of printing materials for agent packets. I breathed in, “I guess I need to get a job and drop this stupid idea.”

“Why do you say that?” Dale asked, surprised.

“Because it’s obvious we aren’t going to make any money at this anytime soon.”

“I never thought we were,” he answered.

Silence. This time the cannons, my cannons, were all aimed at me. I blinked back tears. “But I thought….”

Dale stopped the van and looked at me. “I’ve never thought we were going to make lots of money off this. I’ve just liked seeing what it’s done for you. I’ve enjoyed learning about you by reading what you write. You’re talented, honey, but even if you never sell a book, I want you to keep going.” He smiled, “I know it’s scary, but I’m going to get us out of this. We’re going to make it, okay?”

“Okay,” I breathed out.

And we did.

 

 

 

 

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