October 2nd, 2018

Can you please one of the people all of the time?

***Here is a weird thing–I wrote this post back in August for my wedding anniversary, and it never posted. I just found it now in my drafts folder. I think I meant to post it, thought I did, and just assumed it never received any comments, as many of my posts don’t. It’s possible I decided at the last minute not to post it for some reason–maybe I decided it was too personal? I don’t know–I sort of forget a lot of August now. Here’s the post.***

Western ideas of romantic partnership are so weird. You are expected to like someone’s face, body, parents, cooking, taste in music, driving ability, pets, friends, clothes, parenting style, breath, way of communicating, moral code, and hair. Your romantic partner is expected to become the first person you think of when you are upset or need to move a piece of furniture or want to have sex or have financial concerns or are considering an international move or need career advice or want to up your housekeeping standards or want to invite friends over or want to adopt a new pet or child. You expect your partner to consider dropping friends you despise or values you abhor, to challenge beloved family if they are mean to you and to think about professional development in concert with what it would mean to your relationship to take that promotion, retrain for that new field, become part-time or full-time or zero-time or really anything at all. Our partners are the people we want to look hottest for but also perhaps the only people we are comfortable seeing us at our worst, the one whose opinion matters most but also the person who when I say “I want to be alone” mainly doesn’t count.

I’ve been married six years tomorrow and I still find it really bizarre. Great but just…1000 years ago when people were trading sheep for wives I bet they didn’t see all this coming (no wait, the sheep were a bonus with the wife??? I guess that system didn’t make much sense either).

Before I’d ever dated anyone I would walk down the street alone and imagine doing it holding someone else’s hand and how great that would feel, and you know what? I was right. It is great to have a person at the party who I know will always be willing to absorb me into his conversation when everyone I was talking to mysteriously needs to get a drink or go to the bathroom at the same moment. It is great to be at the movies and suddenly overwhelmed with hilarity and look beside me and he is laughing so hard too. It is great to have someone to look at the giant bug bite on my back and say, “Wow, that IS really bad.” It is great to be the smartest one half the time and to be in awe of how smart he is half the time–I am so glad I get to do both.

Still. Sometimes I tell someone I am having a hard time lately and they are baffled because “Mark is so great.” Which is honestly a thing I might have said when I was young and had never been in a great relationship and thought great relationships might be the universal antidote to all sadness. But then again I am baffled, too, by people who say “my partner is my best friend” or “my partner is my whole world, my everything.” My partner is my favourite human and I am so lucky to have him in my life, but I get to have friends too, right? And the rest of the world?

My wedding day is legit one of the happiest days of my life. Mean people sometimes liken that to having peaked in high school, but it’s not about the wedding being better than the marriage–it isn’t–but about concentration of happiness. I liked having a whole day to celebrate our love along with the love of our friends and family for us. I liked celebrating our new little family with our old big family.

Hmm, what I’m trying to say is there is a lot of pressure on romantic partnership to be so much to us, and it is already a lot, and the same time a lot of pressure to be chill about it. When we go out tomorrow to celebrate out anniversary, I’m sure there’s going to be half a dozen people who inform me gravely that they never bother to celebrate their anniversary or even know when it is. From a certain contingent, there’s this idea it’s shallow to think about one’s relationship too much or get too excited about how great it is, even if it is in fact really great. Are these the “my partner is my whole world” people too? I don’t know.

I am lucky. I am in love, and loved. I am tired. I have had a headache for most of the summer, but I just got back from a vacation where I swam in the ocean. Mark is the best thing that ever happened to me, but he isn’t perfect and he hasn’t solved all my problems, or even very many of them except for the problem of not being in love and the problem of not being able to carry heavy things. I think that’s enough. We aren’t friends. We’ve been married for six years.

July 17th, 2018

Personal record

I keep setting personal records for the sickest I have ever been! After having a stomach virus in February, which was really very impressive, I had an abnormal period of good health, which I would partially attribute to seeing a naturopath and taking a huge amount of supplements in every known category. That put an end to the great Cold and Flu Sweep of 2017, when I was sick 1/3 of the time and generally miserable. I still get migraines, which don’t seem affected by anything the naturopath could do, but I also see a neurologist who taught me to manage those decently with medications and with only one problem to focus on, I was doing pretty well.

Then June came, and the migraines became much worse–summer is always migraine season in stupid humid Toronto, but this was worse than normal. July has been a little better, but randomly on Sunday I got my Worst Migraine Ever, for no real reason. There weren’t any particular triggers or problems going on. I had gone to the gym and then showered, then was hoping to go to the beach but wasn’t feeling great so lay down to take a brief rest…and found I couldn’t get up for the next 19 hours. I won’t give you the play-by-play, though I actually remember it vividly–when I have a really bad migraine I can’t read or watch TV or even talk to anyone, but I can certainly lie in bed and think about my misery–but here are some highlights:

1) When you are a reasonably active person–and not like a marathoner but someone like me who goes to the gym and walks around and gardens and so forth–lying more or less perfectly still except going to the bathroom for 19 hours will freak your body out. My back, ribcage, shoulders and neck all got furious that I would do that to myself, right at a point where I didn’t really need more pain. Of course, that’s my theory for the moment–I’m a bit nervous that that’s not actually the reason all those places hurt after my little odessy in bed and it’s all part of some new disintegration. Stay tuned!

2) I’m getting better at vomiting! I used to go years–up to ten!–without puking, so I was really bad it. Like, I would tear up my throat and feel like I had tried to yank my lungs out. But with my increasing ill-health in the past couple years–you’ll be thrilled to know, I have had three migraines with pain-puking involved, plus that one stomach bug, all in the past two years–I’m getting much better at it. It still hurts my throat a lot and I have developed some sort of cough in response, but it’s not quite as wrenching!

3) When, around midnight, I started to feel marginally better, I had been in bed 12 hours, hadn’t eaten since breakfast and had long since parted ways with said breakfast. Mark, who had joined in the bed a couple hours previously, was awakened by my fidgeting around, and asked if I needed anything. I morosely told him I was hungry. AND HE GOT ME FOOD. After being awoken from a sound sleep, Mark went and made me a piece of toast and a bowl of yoghurt and brought it into the bedroom where I ate it in the dark next to him, while he went back to sleep.

4) Then yesterday I was marginally functional but not really able to be in the world. Normally I would have stayed home from work, but my home was one bajillion degrees and I felt this would not help matters. So I went to my mom’s, where there is not only air-conditioning but motherly love. She had even made chicken soup a few days prior, so we had it for lunch. I worked very slowly from her living room and enjoyed the climate control and then she helped me fight off her cat (who hates me) so I could sleep in her guest bed.

So if you tabulate 1 and 2 against 3 and 4, you realize even though it’s kind of been a nightmare for me lately, I’m still really lucky.

May 11th, 2017

The Slip by Mark Sampson

This is an exciting spring at my house–my book came out in March and now, on May 20, my husband Mark Sampson‘s third novel The Slip will be published by Dundurn Press. All the reviews–and there have already been some great ones in Publishers Weekly, Quill and Quire, and more–agree that it is funny and it really is, a fast and absurd but also somehow realistic take on how fast we can f up our lives in this age of the internet. I *could* be a little biased but with the above reviews on my side, I really don’t think I am. You should read it–in 9 more days!! And then you should come to the launch party on May 31, 6pm at Ben McNally Books, which promises to be a lot of fun!

Also nice, for the first time since we’ve met, Mark and I will have books out in the same season, which makes it a little easier for us to do events together. We’re starting out with Pongapalooza on May 16, where we will each captain ping-pong teams and attempt to lead them to victory in a bitter marital rivalry (this is a fundraiser for First Book Canada, actually). Then I’m taking a little breather from events but when we are out east, ostensibly on summer vacation, we’ll be doing at least one, reading at the Confederation Library in Charlottetown the evening of June 29, with a few more events possibly to come.

But my real point here is, yay Mark!

January 22nd, 2017

Now in book news

So Much Love is still 7 weeks and 2 days from being available, but little things are happening and it is all very exciting/unnerving. Like
–if you would like to win a copy, you can enter to do so on Goodreads. There’s 50 (!) copies available and the contest closes on February 16. Good luck!
–if you would like to know more about the writing process/me writing in general, you could read my interview with Koom Kankesan at Open Book. Koom and I went to school together in 1999 (!) and have stayed in touch since, and both published books. It’s been a wild ride!
–if you want to read a list of amazing upcoming books that includes mine, you could read 49th Shelf’s Spring Fiction Preview. There is so much goodness upcoming (my husband Mark Sampson also has a book on the list called The Slip. It is very good!)

Onwards!

So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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