A Little Happier: My Husband So Often Knows the Right Thing to Say.


I love it when people know the right thing to say, and I’m fortunate because my husband Jamie is very good at this. In a few words, he often says just the right thing to put my mind at rest.

For instance, he knows the right thing to say to me when I hit some of the happiness stumbling blocks that are common to writers.

For instance, I might say to him, “My editor has suggested so many changes. I agree with most of them, but gosh it’s discouraging. I thought this draft was in great shape.”

Or maybe someone writes something about me or my work that I don’t like. I try never to read anything that’s written about me or my work, because it’s not good for me or my writing, but sometimes, stuff does slip through. And I say to him, “I don’t know what the whole thing says, but I know there was at least this one part that’s annoying or hurts my feelings.”

Or I say to him, “I’ve got to get up at 4:00 a.m. to catch a flight to give a talk.”

And so on.

Jamie listens and then, inevitably, he says very kindly, “Remember, this is what you wanted.”

And it’s comforting, because that’s true. This is what I wanted. I wanted to become a writer. I wanted constructive criticism to make my work better. I wanted to put my thoughts out into the world. I wanted to engage with people about the ideas that interest me.

Some aspects of this are difficult—but this is what I wanted.

So often the things that are disagreeable to us are inextricably intertwined with what we enjoy or desire most.

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