I may be working on my own book about marriage as the combination of opposites, but right now I'm rather engrossed in the progress of a different book--The 10 Big Lies About America.
My husband's book was published on Tuesday, and I'm not only invested in its success as the "opposite" half of my mate, but because I spent several months working on it.
My husband, who is insecure enough to think his opportunities are fleeting and must all be embraced when presented--regardless of how many other obligations he must fulfill--had signed his book contract months earlier and found himself with deadline fast approaching and still only an outline and lots of ideas to show for it. Every time somebody would mention his book project, he'd change the subject. It became the "elephant in the room," and the weight on his back, even as he wrote three or four columns every day, went to movie screenings several times a week, appeared on countless news TV shows and, oh yes, did a three-hour radio show daily. And kept Shabbat, which removed one day from his potential work time.
He considered who he could bring on board to help get this project done. He already had his editor to nag him, and in the end he decided that perhaps the best writing partner was, um, very, very close. Close enough to sit next to him holding her laptop taking notes wherever and whenever an epiphany struck. This wasn't a wild idea, since we'd collaborated on a book before (Saving Childhood: Protecting Our Children from the National Assault on Innocence, which he outlined and I wrote) and I had five other books to my own credit.
However, when one is ruminating in the bathtub or while driving, one tends to get too many good ideas. "We should put in all these massacres in the chapter on Indians..." and I dutifully wrote them all down, and proceeded to research them all and write succinctly about them. I have always been a good, dutiful student. The chapter I wrote on "the crime of genocide" against American Indians included every point he requested. It was 130 pages long and had 128 endnotes. My chapter on slavery, for which I read 56 books, was also 130 pages, and had 136 endnotes.
I ticked off each point my husband wanted covered as I continued writing subsequent chapters, but when the editor heard of the massive amounts of material being generated, he screamed. This was not to be a tome; it was to be like my husband's radio show--cogent points, well-documented, able to fit between commercials.
My hundreds of pages of writing were cherry-picked by my husband, who re-formulated and then wrote the chapters himself. As I read the book now, I see the editor was right--it's darn good. It's succinct, it's punchy, it's clever. Every now and then I see something I uncovered via my hours of digging through obscure material...like my perusal of photocopies of the original letters between the generals accused of suggesting Native American genocide via "smallpox-infected blankets," a myth definitively quashed by my research.
Am I disappointed my work is only peripherally used in The 10 Big Lies? Well, no. The book is fantastic and I envision any parent or teacher who wants to present the truth about American history insisting that children read it. I envision it being quoted around Thanksgiving tables and at family Christmas dinners (where some lucky person received it as a gift) because of its inspiring, uplifting and heartwarming messages.
And since I truly DO believe that man and woman are "sides" of the same unique entity called a marriage, I figure I get all the kudos and thrill that my husband is earning now.
But maybe...hmmm...there's some way to publish my chapters....