The Man in the Other Room

I left the life of a newspaper reporter way back in 1991, and since that time, I’ve worked at home, solo. My first “office” was our dining room table. Since our children were four and eight at the time, I pushed aside the mounds of unfolded laundry and toys, and wrote there. Later, I converted a closet into an office, setting up my very first huge desktop computer. Several years after that, my husband built me an office in a shed left-over from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. It measured 10-by-10, was heated and cooled with a motel HVAC unit, and was frequently visited by bugs and birds, who figured out how to get in through the eaves. We moved to Raleigh, and I got a nicer, bigger office, in the back half of our garage, from a room that had once been a work-out room. Hah! When we moved back to Atlanta three years ago, my office was set up in a former sewing room. All this time, as I said, I’ve worked solo. But now there’s A MAN IN THE OTHER ROOM. Mr. Mary Kay is working from home these days. Gulp. Our home. His office abuts mine. I can hear the squeak of his office chair. He can hear me muttering under my breath. He doesn’t like the way I sort the mail. I don’t like having to share the morning paper. But we are working things out. Since he’s in such close proximity, he actually agreed to read the latest draft of my next book, and he had many amazingly helpful suggestions. Of course, some of them were amazingly pain-in-the-ass comments. I mean, come on, we’ve been married for centuries. Many days, he pokes his head in the door and wants to know my thoughts on lunch. Usually my thoughts run to….leftovers. Or M&Ms, but I never tell him about those M&M lunches. MMK’s thoughts run to something hot, and specially prepared, because for all these years, he’s used to business lunches. So…as I said, we’re working it out. Now that what I hope (and pray to GAWD) are the final revisions for SUMMER RENTAL are in, I’m noodling around with ideas for the next book. I’ve had this weird vision of an opening, and I’m trying to figure out what the story is. Yesterday, I sketched out some ideas, and showed them to him. His general reaction was…WTF? There’s no book here. Which was true,all I had was a name for the main character, and a description of her ex-husband, which was to say that he was an asshat–a phrase MMK had never heard before. Today was one of those very special days. I suggested a lunch place to him, barbecue. He agreed. On the way to the restaurant, I filled him in on the conversation I’d had with my agent, and told him I needed a family business for my character to run. I suggested one, and he quickly came up with another suggestion. WHICH WAS GENIUS. Truly. We went to lunch, and my mind was running a mile a minute with ways this could work. So. Maybe I’ll have to overlook the squeaky chair and the picky lunch notions. Yeah. I think I’ll keep him.

5 thoughts on “The Man in the Other Room”

  1. I am home now and Mr ALC is home now all the time. We are 'working' it out! Sounds like you have found someone good to bounce ideas off of. Forget the pain in the ass comments, all men make them! They can't help themselves!

  2. My DH retired 18 mos. ago. Don't get me wrong, he's a great help. But I kept feeling guilty about longing for him to leave the house. I needed alone time. Finally, I asked my therapist if I was going to hell. Her reply was priceless. "We all need private time. Women need solitude to get it. Men can have it when [the woman, children] are in the room. They're men."

  3. Another one with a man in the other room…..for many years now…Good Luck!

    I read a magazine story once about the Olympic cottage office…any idea what magazine that might have been? I'd love to read it again!

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