Thursday, March 13, 2014


There's an old adage:  "It is easier to be forgiven than to get permission."  Some truth there, for sure.  But when it comes to gathering permissions for a book, this is certainly the case.

At present I am engaged in the arduous task of wading through this permission-gathering process.  This involves forms, phone calls, and cover letters along with legal documentation (some to other countries).  It is all quite involved and time-consuming.  That's why writing fiction is generally a more relaxing state of affairs.  With a novel, one can simply write.  Non-fiction often involves carefully-crafted paragraphs and tons of Alka-Seltzer tablets. 

I am, by now, and old hat at gaining permission, however.  My wife has taught me this art.

I generally ask permission to use the toilet, for example.  (This goes back to my childhood, when I also asked my mother.)  I also ask my wife if I can go outside to play and, if I'm going to be staying up past my bed-time, I ask permission to write for another four hours while she hibernates.  I ask permission to leave the table, often using the phrase, "May I be excused from this smorgasbord so that I can retire to my study with a cigar and brandy and write for five hours?"

My wife always points out that I don't smoke cigars and I don't drink brandy and I answer, "Well, I guess that just leaves the writing, then."

Permission is usually obtained unless my wife just has to have me for other rewards of marital bliss (this can include cleaning the dinner plates, wiping down the microwave, or sweeping the floor). 

In the morning, before I get out of bed, I usually begin with the phrase, "Permission to rise, ma'am!"  This can be as early as 3 a.m. and my wife generally doesn't answer.  I always take her silence as an affirmation.

I have a lot of these affirmations in marriage.  And I have learned to abide by them.

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