A friend recently suggested to Phil Gulley (on Facebook) that he should write a book as a Christmas gift to his wife. Gulley wrote back admitting that his wife doesn't read his books and that, in fact, his family is rather oblivious to his writing endeavors.
I'm a witness, too. And most of the writers I know readily admit that their spouses and children have no interest in reading their works.
About two weeks ago, for example, my son was working on a school paper and began asking me about parables. "Wow," I said, wanting to be helpful, "I've written a book about parables that would be perfect for your paper. Go into my library and take a copy. Read a few pages and then let's talk about it. I can give you a lot of background and help you with the project. Wouldn't that be great, son, to work on a paper together? This could really be a bonding experience!"
My son's response was: "You've written a book?! You have a library?"
Now, I try not to take such things personally. But it's tough. It's sort of like having the person you love tell you, "You know . . . you'll think I'm crazy, but I've never really noticed you before! Do you actually live here?"
Take my wife . . . (yes, please take her!). Last night I attempted to give her a wonderful gift! A new "love" poem that I had written especially for her. A real humdinger. But she told me she didn't have time to read it right then, and, well, she'd read it later when she had more time and her eyes were rested and she could turn off the lights and not have to look at me while she read it. I noticed it's still sitting on the bedroom nightstand gathering dust. By tonight she'll be using it for scrap paper or as a paper towel to clean the toilet lid.
Most writers, in their own homes, are like Rodney Dangerfield. I'll tell you, we don't get no respect.
As I look back on 2010, I did some mental calculations last night and came to the following depressing conclusions. In the past year I have written:
* Six full length (average of 30 pages) book proposals, some of which my agent is still "shopping" around
* More than 250 blog postings
* About 50 sermons
* More than a dozen short stories
* A dozen short devotions (some of which were published)
* Nearly 300 poems (some of which were/will be published)
* Hundreds of letters, many handwritten
* Nearly twenty essays on various topics ranging from historical, to science, to writing, to ministry, to personal.
* A new novel, complete at 250+ pages
* Rewritten/revised a novel originally written two years ago
And here's the kicker. Outside of a few poems and some bits and pieces of essays my wife has read, I've been as lonely as the Maytag repairman in all of these endeavors. I've written all of this before sunrise (some it long before sunrise!) and most of it after the rest of the world and my household has gone to sleep.
It's been an incredible year of writing for me really. Perhaps, one of these days, my son will actually realize what I've been doing downstairs in my office late at night and why I drink all that coffee.