I hired my editor seven years ago when he sent an email out of the blue saying that he loves my blog and he’d like to edit my posts. I needed an editor. I was used to having an editor for everything I wrote and I couldn’t imagine writing without an editor on my blog.
He did a trial edit and I liked his changes. That’s it. He was hired.
Soon after I discovered that he is Bible-Belt, ex-military, homeschooler.
I thought, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got a right-wing crazy person controlling my site.”
But then he reassured me that he’s an atheist and that he got kicked out of the military for misconduct. That was comforting. I just told myself to ignore how his family homeschools.
Now I trust him so much that I don’t even look to see what he cut. I figure that he’s one of my biggest fans, so if he didn’t think the sentence was interesting then no one else will either.
We don’t talk often because I have to be in a super patient mood to talk to him on the phone. His Southern drawl comes out like syrup, catching the words, slowing them down to a drip, and making some of them too sticky to be useful.
I say, “Are you there?”
He says, “Yeah. I’m thinking.”
That’s not Southern—that’s because he’s an INFP. That personality type has to think SO MUCH. I could do both sides of our conversation faster than he can figure out just his side of the conversation. But I force myself to listen because I learn so much from him.
Then one day he emailed to ask if we could talk about something personal. He never does that, so I called him right away. It turned out his marriage was falling apart.
I didn’t need to tell him that I think divorce is BS. He knows. And anyway, for all my complaining about how lame people are for getting a divorce, I got a divorce.
So I listened. I tried to help him hold the marriage together.
It didn’t work.
Then our conversations turned to the settlement. Almost every divorce settlement sends both parents back to work, and I know his wife would never be able to go back to work AND continue homeschooling the kids.
So here’s what he came up with: He pays his ex-wife to homeschool the kids. So there’s the money she’s entitled to because she’s entitled to half, and then there’s child support, and then there’s extra—her salary—that allows her to justify staying home with the kids instead of earning money outside the home.
I love that solution. I never see good news about divorce, but this made me happy: that the kids keep homeschooling, the settlement honors the importance of homeschooling, and my editor placed a financial value on the work his ex-wife is doing with the kids.
I’ve had that photo up top in my queue for a while. It’s from an art installation called Humus, by Giusette Licari. The exhibit is either really sad or really hopeful. Like, the trees are uprooted, but they look sort of beautiful that way, and like maybe they will just grow through the ceiling or something. The photo is disturbing and unnerving but also, somehow innovative and hopeful – not unlike my editor’s divorce.