SOLC 2019 Day 3: Listening


March 2019 SOLC–Day 3
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

Sometimes I wonder if my husband ever listens.

Here’s a case in point. Last night we’d met our daughter, Lydia, and her boyfriend, Andrew, for dinner before going to see “Into the Woods” together. They still had to pick up their free tickets, so after dinner we separated and agreed to meet about an hour later at the auditorium.

Shortly before 7 pm, Kurt and I were chatting casually as we walked across the parking lot. I was slightly ahead of him and turned to head up the hill.

“It’s not in the CCA?” he asked, glancing across the road at the Collins Center for the Arts, the biggest venue on campus and where Lydia works part-time in the box office.

I stopped walking, looked at him, then continued, shaking my head. Where had he been during the last five minutes of dinner at the restaurant? When Lydia mentioned having to redirect all the people who had come to the CCA by mistake last night when she was working? When she said that they’d finally just started asking everyone who came in if they were looking for “Into the Woods”? When she SPELLED the name of the auditorium? H. A. U. C. K. When Andrew said to head right at the top of the stairs outside the Union?

“I guess I wasn’t listening,” he said.


But then I remembered yesterday in the car on the drive up.

“Oh, Kurt,” I said, “I forgot to tell you that I got another rejection.”

“Good for you!” he responded immediately, glancing over and smiling.

I smiled back, then laughed, wondering what someone eavesdropping might think of that exchange.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how significant it really was. Somewhere along the line, Kurt had clearly been listening. When I talked about Stephen King and his stack of rejection slips, he had listened. When I shared my annual rejection letter goal, he had listened. Through this whole writing journey, he’s been listening and it shows. He values my writing and the effort I put into it. He knows that it isn’t just about the final piece. He knows that a rejection isn’t a failure, it’s an important part of the process. I hesitate to write this (because I’m never going to hear the end of it from him), but I guess, just maybe, he listens when it really counts.

A more expected response to my statement might have been, “Oh, I’m sorry!”, but Kurt’s response was perfect. It showed me that not only has he been listening, but he gets it.

25 thoughts on “SOLC 2019 Day 3: Listening

  1. margaretsmn says:

    You are blessed to have someone who “gets” it in your life, whether he listens or not, he truly loves you. That’s all that really matters.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. paulabourque says:

    How wise of you to notice and not default to the common assumption “You NEVER listen”. I have had those experiences as well, when I am baffled and wonder if someone was even listening-but I try to remember not to take it personally-I’m sure I don’t always listen as well as I should. As for the rejection, I am sorry about that for the sting that it causes, but I also agree you are in great company. I follow so many authors who share their rejections and I am comforted that it happens more often than we think. We aren’t alone and our work isn’t worthless. You’ve got grit!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dianeandlynne says:

    Ah! I love this moment. We who have been married “forever” recognize what true listening is (even though I often say something like “How could you not remember that I told you…”).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Trina Haase says:

    You are so fortunate to have a partner that supports you in your writing. I think that this is rare.

    Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing a rejection. That makes the rest of us feel a little less alone, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amanda Potts says:

    Your stories of Kurt make me smile every time. I’ve “only” been married 13 years, but I can already see some of the dynamic you are talking about. Thanks for helping me value listening when it counts. (Now that I type that, I might need to do that in the classroom for a few kids, too. Ha!)

    Also, I love the annual rejection goal. So far, all I’ve published are blogs, but I am starting to wonder… your goal is encouraging.

    Liked by 2 people

    • mbhmaine says:

      Reading Stephen King’s “On Writing” is what pushed me to set a rejection goal. I’m doing pretty well with it this year! lol I am sure that if you want to submit your writing, you’ll find an audience. You’re a wonderful writer!


  6. Debbie Lynn says:

    He gets it…and you get it, and I do, too! Standing strong with 40 years of marriage, I can relate to your stories! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. He does get it! Writers of the world are inspired by your line “When I shared my annual rejection letter goal, he had listened.” Get out in the arena, writers and non-writers.
    And from Teddy Roosevelt – “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your description of your slice hooked me immediately! I often wonder the same. In the end, my husband listens when it counts, too. He has been my biggest supporter in lots of hard times. I’m glad your husband was not just listening, but understands!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. cindaroo42 says:

    I love how you start with the story about the location of the show to build up Kurt’s character of frequently not listening. It gave the ending such a surprise when you describe him listening when it really mattered and knew the exact response!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. kd0602 says:

    He listens when it matters and he gets you! And it seems that he doesn’t need to listen to all that other stuff–you knew right where to go! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What? A husband who listens? Isn’t that like a unicorn? 😉

    Seriously, as I read through this, I was hoping the ending was a happy one! Sometimes, when we don’t listen, it’s not always that way! 😀

    Thanks for showing that listening, and the response, can be demonstrated in many different ways! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I’m still not sure I’d say that I have a husband who listens, Darin! lol And honestly, I don’t think he’d say that either. But like I said, apparently he’s been listening to the important stuff….or at least some of it! (I’m considering administering a multiple choice quiz!)

      Liked by 1 person

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