Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How Writing Ruined My Wife—My Life...in PRINT!


By Kirk Melson

My first byline!
Did you notice my byline? Pretty cool, huh.

Today I’d like to share something that’s happened with my wife’s writing. It turns out a lot of her inspiration comes from us—her family and friends. While that sounds good, on the surface, after you begin to unpack the real-life application it’s a little messier than you might imagine.

When Edie first started writing, I thought it truly was a good thing. I mean, what man wouldn’t be thrilled that his wife’s first article was all about their sons? Edie wrote about our boys’ favorite event while they were growing up—brother night. It was an invention brought about by sheer desperation on our part, but was a wonderful alternative to sleepovers. And Focus on the Family thought so too, since they’re the ones who bought the article.

But I digress.

Not long after that, she shared about a MAJOR boo-boo I made in gift buying…with a few hundred thousand folks on a little website you may have heard of…crosswalk.com.

To be totally fair, she did mention it in the context of how SHE could have communicated better. But really, not something I wanted immortalized on the Internet. And yes, it is immortalized. Don’t believe me? Here’s the link to Developing Effective Communication in Marriage

Parents of the year? NOT!
Then began the series of thinly-veiled fictional characters who resemble various family members. (I’m still praying they don’t recognize themselves!) 

And there was her failed (thankfully) attempt at a flash fiction piece which incorporated the fact that our oldest son chopped down a tree with his younger brother clinging to the upper branches. 

Not something that puts you in the running for parents of the year.

Even as soul-baring as these forays were, the worst was yet to come. She began to rewrite history. And it all had to do with how we met.

Many of you know the story of how we met in church. Edie was singing in the choir and I winked at her from the congregation. And I was too shy to introduce myself that day after church.

But here our stories diverge, in what I consider a drastic fashion. I came back to church for the next four weeks, looking for Edie and determined to introduce myself. Edie was nowhere to be seen. 

When Edie tells the story, she implies I waited a month before introducing myself. Technically true, but it wasn’t MY CHOICE! She paints me out to be a coward…for an entire month. To set the record straight, I was only a coward for one short day.

She claims it makes for a better story, something about tension and conflict. I’ll let you decide. Here are both versions, if you care to weigh in with an opinion.

What next?

But truthfully, I’d love to know if any of you have found yourselves featured in the words of your adoring spouse? 

Any ground rules I should know about before things progress further?

24 comments:

  1. Well Kirk, you've done it again! Great article written with transparency and humor. And as you know, I love both!

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  2. Kirk, once again this is a great article! But just to let you know, Edie's right...tention and conflict are what you need to make a great story. And yes, I've been mentioned in print before. Just know, there's a devotion in everything! And yes, I was taught that by nun other than, Edie! Edie, love you my sweet friend!

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    1. Jamie, thanks for stopping by! Love you, E

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  3. I've done this to my family, too. The first article I sold was about the importance of the extended family in a child's life. I used my relationship with my niece and nephews as the basis. It is my most-reprinted piece. They're all adults and married, but that article about them as little children still strikes a cord.

    I'm so happy that writers can use such fertile ground as families for their inspiration.

    Thanks for the smile.

    Deborah

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    1. Deborah, that's cool! I agree, it's awesome that we can rely on family for inspiration. Blessings, E

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  4. You two are precious! Kirk, love the humor. Love your side of the story. Love your writing. You two need to take your show on the road. :)

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    1. Lisa, I know what you mean...don't tell him, but I think I see a book in his future! Blessings, E

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  5. I've used my family as inspiration many times. So far, none have complained.

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    1. Alycia, I'm sure none will. Thanks for sharing your heart on your blog this week! Blessings, E

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  6. My church family searched my first novella for themselves. They would come up to me asking: "Is this me?" or "Is this supposed to be so-and-so?" I had to remind them that this was fiction. But, I will admit, being a pastor's wife sure does provide a lot of story fodder. LOL That's all I'll admit to.

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    1. Paula, your secret is safe with us! I've actually had friends ask to have a character modeled after them. Blessings, E

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  7. I always look forward to your posts, Kirk. It's the first e-mail I read each Wednesday. And I love your humor. I'm with Lisa--everyone loves your story.

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    1. Ellen, thanks so much for the encouragement! Blessings, E

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  8. How fantastic! Kirk, you're a great writer. What a thoughtful and creative post, you two. Love it.

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    1. Katie, thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, E

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  9. Hilarious! Brian and I also have different versions as to how we met.

    So far, he's escaped the embarrassment of being the focus of an article or poem, but I can't make any promises for the future. :)

    Great post, Kirk!

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    1. See, I think it's a man/woman thing as much as a writer thing. Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, E

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  10. Edie, this is precious :) It's easy for David to get even with me - he's a preacher - lol! Thank the Lord for a great sense of humor.

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    1. Nan, you both have to be careful! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing, Blessings, E

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  11. Kirk, I'd like to respond to your request for advice. Whatever you do, don't do it around Edie or anyone who will report back to her. In fact, I may be the only one you can breathe around and not have it end up in print...unless there's good money in it.

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  12. By the way, Kirk, I just read the old post about the Christmas present and I don't get it. I'm sure it was a perfectly good coffee maker.

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  13. I love the part about praying family members don't recognize themselves. I wondered if it's okay to put mine in a book and I'm thinking you just gave me a thumbs up. Hope that's how you meant it because that's how I'm taking it. As for my husband, can he have your number? :)

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  14. Oh, I think there needs to be a support group for spouses of writers, don't you? I always forward Kirk's posts to my husband.
    I have to admit, I like Edie's love story version best (it's just a girl thing--more romantic). However, I like Kirk's sense of humor and transparency. You guys just complement each other! I agree, a joint effort on a future book would be great.
    Blessings to you as you both continue to "tell it like it is.":)

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