I have a confession: the title of my upcoming book, “East of Eaton,” is not original.
No, the bookstore with the cunning name (a play upon John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden”), had been “Gateway.” My idea was to partition the store with arched gateways leading from one section of the store to another. Gateway also referred to the hero opening the sheltered, locked heart of the heroine.
But my husband, also a writer, tossed out “East of Eaton,” since the bookstore is in the fictitious town of Eaton. I seized the suggestion and relocated the shop to the east end of my imaginary town.
We often share ideas and talk about our stories. We often edit each other’s writing. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. Writing is an act of ego.
We collaborated many years ago on a large project and I had to find my niche. It’s not easy for two creative, strong-willed individuals to work on the same content, so I bowed to his expertise on the topic, and he bowed to my expertise when interviewing and researching material. My transcribed notes and journalistic sidebars complemented his popular prose, and the result was a very good book.
Sometimes it chaffed taking the backseat, but keeping peace on the project was more important than keeping peace in our marriage. It wasn’t easy to acknowledge that my husband was the right person for the job, but we’re professional writers. When you have a job to do, put aside your personal feelings and focus on the outcome. I’m content being right only 95 percent of the time.
Hmmmm … maybe I’m still holding a little grudge.
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