Dispatches | March 30, 2007

So this is how it goes at my house.  This morning when I opened my eyes, I turned to look across the pillows at my husband and smiled.  He lovingly smiled back, yawned, and then asked, “Name five literary novels written in the last five years or so that are a must-read.”

Yes, always the editor.

I don’t know about you, but I need my dumb time, my pre-morning caffeine time.  I need to wake to the world slowly rather than being tugged into consciousness with a literary question. 

The Hours,” I said blearily.  “Gilead.  Empire Falls.  Something by Atwood.”

He screwed up his face, dissatisfied.

“Good morning to you, too.”

My students seem to enjoy hearing my mild complaints about my husband.  In fact, I’ve turned him in to a bit of a character-loveable, quirky, a little too high maintenance.  They love that he’s not always admiring of my writing and that he doesn’t let his spousal loyalty get in the way of his literary standards. In fact, they laugh the loudest when I bring to class one of his edits of my work.  I suppose I should seem more infallible, though that’s never worked for me as a teacher.      

“Come on, you’re a reader,” he said.  “Five novels.”