If not for her…


Last time we chatted, I told you about a couple of ways I’d been a heavy influence on my wife. There are others, of course. Culinary, literature, hobbies … you name it, I’ve had an effect on her world and worldview.

But it’s not been unreciprocated. She’s had heavy influence on me in many ways too.

The tricky part is, this involves much self-inspection. And the changes here have been much more subtle than the overt head-banging sorts of things she seems to have experienced. I’m a very different person today than I was when I stood and took our wedding vows, and she’s had a fair amount to do with that. The challenge has been, how much and in what areas? Do I spend enough time thinking about those types of things to be able to identify them?

Well, I don’t know. So I’ll shoot for broad strokes, just as I did before.

For one thing, if not for my wife, the Internet wouldn’t have my fiction to read. Why? Well, it never occurred to me to put my fiction on the web until my wife suggested I toss it up on my blog and see what happened. Nothing happened, of course, but a few people have read it. I’ve made a few cyberfriends with it. And for those things, I’m grateful.

I also wouldn’t be a writer. (‘Scuse me, author, not writer. I got paid.) At least, I don’t think so. See, she read my early work – written before we married – and she liked it. She wanted to be a writer. She even had a pseudonym chosen. I, being an IT geek, installed a program on our computers which allowed one of us to share usage of the other’s computer over an IP network. We would type lines to each other’s stories in as we worked on it, on the fly. We also played SimCity, but that’s beside the point.

In the end, she lost interest in writing and mine waxed and waned over time, but eventually blossomed. She encouraged it. In fact, she’s encouraged every wind of whimsy which has rattled through my near-empty skull.

So, I wouldn’t still be writing if not for her. And I know I wouldn’t be published if not for her. She was the one who urged me to take the SSRLP on. She’s the one who helped me spot typos and edit and tighten the prose and everything. She helped me with screen captures and getting the files uploaded on time. She was there for every step and has been integral to the process from day one.

She’s also single-handedly responsible for Ghost Hunters, which is on my fiction blog in rough draft form and is my first finished manuscript of which I’m not completely ashamed. Anymore. (It’s been through a lot of changes since I wrote it.) She’s been integral to every step of that process and refuses to let that story die. So in a way, it’s her story.

Oh, there are many other ways she’s influenced me, I’m sure. These are just some of the larger ones I don’t have to work too hard for.

How ‘bout you? Who’s been a great source of inspiration/motivation/aggravation/consternation for you? Who’s been the driving force for you? had a major influence on you?

Sound off, y’all.

-JDT-

All original content copyright 2010 DarcKnyt
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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8 thoughts on “If not for her…

  1. My biggest source of inspiration is and always has been Pan the goat god.

    Get behind me, Satan! GET BEHIND ME! Thine evil Goat-god hath no power here! Begone!!

  2. I guess your influence on her was more external while hers changed you internally. You’ve told me many times that you’re a better person for having her around, but that’s harder to measure, isn’t it?

    It can be. I guess it depends on how big an a$$hole you were and are; in my case, not too hard to measure. 😉

    As for me, it seems the people who’ve influenced me the most so far are the ones who created problems for me to overcome. I’ve been positively influenced by lots of people, you and your wife included, but the big changes come from the bad stuff.

    The lessons learned hardest are learned best, ne? 🙂

  3. It’s funny how influences run. I’m happy your wife kept at you to write. (:

    There are people who have inspired, and influenced me… and I wish I could see them again to tell them how they’ve impacted me. I was sitting and having lunch one day with a friend, and I was telling her about someone, and she asked me “did you ever tell them that?”

    When I worked at the pharmacy, I met a lot of people, and being a small town, you meet everyone pretty quickly. I worked there for three years, and I feel like I did a lot of growing up there. And a lot of people who have influenced me, have been customers I’ve met.

    There was a man who always came into the store every Saturday to pick up the paper, which we held for him. Mr. H was a very old, and a very nasty man. I was forewarned about him, and that he would probably never thank me, or smile at me, or be cordial with me – ever. I refused to believe this could be possible. Every time I saw Mr. H, I’d smile, and say hello, ask him how his day was going, give him his paper, and tell him to have a lovely day. He’d grumble, and not look at me, the same he did with everyone, toss his $1.25 across the counter and be on his way. I’d see him around town, and I’d smile and say hello, ask him how his day was, and I’d receive the same negative reaction. This went on for months, the same way, every time, the ladies I worked with told me I should just give up, simply take his money, and give him his paper, but I didn’t believe that this man could be so cold. Finally, I was at the grocery store, just leaving as he was coming in, I held the door for him and said “Hey Mr. H, lovely weather we’re having today!” and he smiled back and said “it sure is Courtney, you must be off to work for the evening”… I almost cried. I went to work, and told them what happened, and they insisted I was making it up. That Saturday, he came in for his paper, and sure enough, I greeted him, he smiled at me, and said hello, told me it was a shame to work on such nice days, and went about his way. The lady I worked with was beside herself. I think I may have affected him, but he really affected me, too. He made me realize, and believe that everyone, even the mean and nasty ones, have a smile inside them somewhere.

    I met Rene when I was 16, she loved to come in and get photocopies done. Everyone told me she loved to talk, and was a little on the nutty side. She’d being her baby in with her, and arm loads of magazines, she wanted copies of all of the bright and beautiful pictures to show her other daughter when she moved to Canada. Her husband, and her older daughter were still in Lebanon, and she was waiting for them to come over, I didn’t get the whole story, and I felt it rude to ask, but the ladies I worked with told me she was pregnant when she came here, and she’s and her baby were lucky to be alive. So for almost three years I made photocopies for her, and listened to her tell me about “when my husband and daughter come here”, and how she prayed for them every day. Finally, one day, she came in, and had a man and a young girl with her, and she ran over to the counter and introduced us to her husband, and her daughter… after she left, I went out back and cried a little. She waited three years for them… she taught me that faith and hope are a powerful, and very beautiful thing.

    There is an older gentleman who used to come in, and for the life me, I can never remember his name. His wife was a rather mean one, but he was one of the sweetest little old men I’d ever met. I waited on him one day and he asked how I was doing, I said “I’m very well thanks, how about yourself?” And he said “no, no, no, you’re saying it all wrong!” I didn’t know what he meant, my first thought being “did I say good instead of well?”… He went on to explain to me, when someone asks how I’m doing, I should say “I’m outstanding to exceptional, thanks” and to ensure I always say thank you, and smile when I say it, because more than likely, it will make them smile, too. So my phrase became “I’m awesomely outrageous, thank you”, and my friend Mimi who I was working with, her phrase became “I’m totally wicked, thank you.” I’ve had people over the years since ask me about why I say it like that, and I tell them about the man. It’s the little things.

    Now, if it weren’t for Matt. I wouldn’t be as active as I am. He rekindled my love affair for soft ball, as soon as the snow melts, I can’t wait to get out on the field for a catch. We keep out ball gear in the trunk at all times just in case a ball game, or a park comes along.

    He’s made me realize that even though I’m mad, or upset… it’s no reason to freak out. He keeps me in line, and when we’ve had a fight, and I go lay down to get away, he’ll leave me be for a while, then come in, and lay down beside me, kiss my forehead, and tell me he loves me anyway. He’s made me understand, that just because we’re both having bad days, doesn’t mean we can’t have a tiff, we just have to remember we love each other, and he’s made me learn to let things go. I’m not as stubborn as I used to be. “Just because I love you, doesn’t mean I have to like you right now.”

    If not for him, I’d probably be pretty medicated. I’m crazy OCD, paranoid, bad anxiety, and go through bouts of depression roughly once a year. When I was in school, I wouldn’t talk to anyone about my “mental health issues” so to speak, so I was always trying to work through them on my own, and I did okay at it, but I still had lapses. He’s taught me to breathe, take a step back, and to think about what I’m doing/saying/feeling. I still insist on the toaster being unplugged at all times, spaz a little every time he puts dishes away (because he always puts them in a different location), reach for the bat when I hear unexplainable noises outside the window, my bouts of depression don’t last for months anymore, it’s really only a few weeks, and it’s been four years since I’ve had a panic attack.

    I don’t think I would have as good of a relationship with my parents right now. My parents and I started having a good relationship about the time Matt came into my life. He mellowed me out, I wasn’t all about getting drunk and going to the bars dancing anymore. They love having us over, and whine a little if we don’t see them for awhile.

    He made me stop running away, and gave in to being happy. Up until I met Matt, I was always looking for something new, some adventure to fill this void. I almost moved across the country because some guy broke my heart, and I didn’t know what to do. The idea of “settling down” petrified me. I dated a guy in high school for two years, and I didn’t want that again. I dated casually, and didn’t waste my time in relationships. I decided to start dating by a code of “I’m too young and too old to waste my time dating someone who doesn’t make me want to call my Mom to tell her about him in a couple of weeks”… I just looked at how long I was with the guy in school, and it scared me. We never should have made it beyond the six months to a year… so I feared getting into a relationship, and being in it again for longer than it should have been. Matt met my Mom before we started dating, and she was in love with him. She kept telling me “Courtney, this is the guy! You should be dating him” I thought she was crazy. the first few months of our relationship were up and down because I was 20, and still wanted to go out every weekend, and be careless and fancy free, and he was 24, in management, and only wanted to go out once in awhile. I fought him every step of the way, and then the bar scene grew old, and I realized I was much happier staying home watching movies, or going bowling or whatever. My friends all told me after wards they were happy to see what I finally gave up on trying to run away from the good things in my life.

    And if not for you… when Matt and I had our rough patch two Christmas’s ago… I don’t know how I would have handled it, and I don’t think it would have ended as well. The close friends I had were far away, or busy, and I didn’t have anyone else to talk to. I think, if I hadn’t of had someone to talk to, it may have ended everything, because I would have blown up, and made matters worse, and I’d of thrown something away that means so much to me. And for that, I thank you.

    (:

    Wow, terrific stories, great thoughts. Thank you for letting me know I have a small role in who you are today and thank you for sharing your world with me. 🙂

  4. My kids are the responsible for the way I am today. If not for them I would probably be drunk in a gutter somewhere. When I divorced their dad I had to decide whether I wanted to be a good parent or the kind you shudder to think about. I made a lot of sacrifices along the way, but it was always for the better.

    If our children don’t make us want to be better people, nothing short of Divine Intervention can. I’m glad you did. 🙂

  5. It is a really long list Darc…it all starts when I open my eyes each morning. 🙂 Can’t think of anyone I have ever met or run across that doesn’t belong on the list for some reason. Even have you and your Mrs. on the list. 😉

    Interesting outlook, Jaymie. I’ll hope I’m on the list for positive reasons. 😉

  6. For some time my biggest inspiration for writing was that I felt I needed to prove myself, I wanted all the people that sneered at me or hurt back in the day to be overcome with envy once I became ‘Al Bruno III Big Time Writer’. I imagined them coming to me to ask for a loan or to apologize and I would gaze down upon them from my mountain of coke and whores and laugh.

    Sounds good to me Al. 😉 Except in my dream, most of those people are family members. Most.

    But that was just a recipe for frustration and heartbreak.

    Not for me yet, but we’ll see. Sorry it didn’t work out for you.

    Even since I hit the big 40 I have just been doing my writing for the fun of it and the joy of sharing. I may never be rich or famous (well I am a little famous) but I am having the time of my life.

    How do you mean “a little famous”? Got me curious there! I know you had some stuff published with D&D games or something, right? Or is it something more? Dish, boy, dish! We love success stories ’round here. And having fun is important, no doubt. Piles of money are MORE important, but if we can have those, then let’s have fun. 😉

    And now when I want coke or whores I just hang out with DarcKnyt. (You’re wife isn’t reading this is she? Uh-oh)

    Pff. Who do you think keeps my books straight and laundered?

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