Life as a Romantic Comedy
Sometimes it takes years or decades to realize that something wasn’t normal. Over 20 years ago, I dated a woman who wore big glasses and carried around a Jane Austen book just so people would think she was smart. Back then, I thought it was cute, not weird. This girlfriend did some other stuff that I knew was weird (like eating corn chips loudly at a public library), but at the time I never thought about writing about it.
Now when I think about it, I see this ex-girlfriend’s literary pretention as strange. In a lot of ways, I’m a literary fraud too, but at least I’ve tried to read some of the books that I (used to) carry around. It was this ex-girlfriend’s lack of trying that made it weird. About a year ago, I finished writing “The Literary Girlfriend,” my romantic comedy about this relationship. Originally, the blog version was going to be about 10 episodes, and then I was going to flesh it out and turn it into an ebook. By the time I was done a year later, the blog version was 60 episodes. And changing it into an ebook didn’t work out (that’s a whole other issue), so now I’m stuck with a blog serial.
If I had known it was going to take me a whole year, I might never had started writing the damn thing.
I mean “damn” in a good way.
I guess anybody who has been in a weird relationship has a romantic comedy in them somewhere, and a lot of relationships are weird. Not everybody has a war story in their experience, or an espionage story, or a murder mystery, but everybody has a romantic comedy. All you need is either a bad or a weird relationship experience, and everybody has at least one of those. Even now, my wife says our own relationship is weird. It’s not a 50 Shades kind of weird, but she agrees with me that it’s weird.
My wife has agreed to let me publish a story about us, but she says I have to charge money for it, even if it’s just a little bit, so none of my current project will be on this blog. That could be good or bad, and we’ll see how that turns out. Since I have to be careful while writing about my current relationship, this project is taking a while. I have more at stake than when I was writing about my former girlfriend. But when it’s done, my new project is going to be great. My wife’s in it. It had better be great.
I was surprised when my wife agreed to let me write about us. She didn’t read much of “The Literary Girlfriend” because she didn’t like the ex-girlfriend in the story. My wife had never met her, but I didn’t blame her for not liking her. Wives probably should dislike every ex-girlfriend a husband has. If it’s not already a code, it should be.
It was easy to write about this former girlfriend because I could portray her however I wanted without fear of repercussions. Writing about a current relationship, especially a spouse, is a bit more risky. The situation I’m writing about with my wife and me is still kind of going on (mostly resolved), and if my wife doesn’t like the way she’s portrayed, I could regret writing this ebook. My wife has a great sense of humor, and she says she trusts me and that she doesn’t need to approve anything, but that could be just like a wife/girlfriend saying she doesn’t want a present for Valentine’s Day. It’s not good for a man to be wrong about something like that.
The relationship with my ex-girlfriend 20 years ago stressed me out a lot, but now I think the situations that made me anxious then are kind of humorous. Time will do that to you. Looking back, I should have enjoyed that whole relationship more. In fact, that’s the one thing I kick myself over is that I didn’t enjoy it more. But I’ve learned from that experience. Now when I start to get stressed out, I just pretend that I’m 20 years in the future looking back finding humor in my current situations. 20 years from now, I don’t want to kick myself for not enjoying the parts of my life I should be enjoying right now. The good news is that I don’t get as anxious as I used to get. I guess that’s an unintended benefit of writing about a stressful part of my life as a romantic comedy.
But 20 years from now, I hope I’m not kicking myself for writing a romantic comedy about my wife and me.
But enough about me! What weird relationship could you turn into a comedy? Have you ever dated somebody weird but you didn’t notice it at the time? Or did you notice it but didn’t care? Is it a good idea to write a comedy about a relationship while you’re still in it? If not, what is the right waiting period? Should I have my wife approve my romantic comedy about us before I publish it?
Here it is! Read “The Literary Girlfriend,” the blog serial romantic comedy that made my wife dislike my ex-girlfriend even more!