Archive for March, 2011

First things first, about that second wife of yours…

20 Mar

It was early on when my husband was getting his recent memoir published that he was told that although his wife was a published writer her full name must not appear on his book because it would look like self-promotion.   “Haven’t you seen the way some of those back covers look?” this person said.  Yeah, I have.  They look like a couple of writers who respect one another enough to have their names and status as writers on eachother’s books. One of my favorite writers, Jeanette Walls, writes in the inside dust jacket of her most recent book that “She is married to the writer John Taylor…”  Because I go by my maiden name Priamos, I just naively assumed I would include my husband’s last name (and my married name)  on the back cover of my memoir when it comes out next year.

The proper publishing etiquette between writer spouses is very confusing to me.  When my husband’s first memoir came out in paperback I was asked by the publisher to write rather informally in the P.S. section in the back about what it was like living with Jim while he wrote the book.  I will forever be grateful to that publishing house for requesting that of me, even including my full name and the fact I was a writer, even before I had any national publications.  How daring of them.

Maybe I’m touchy about this subject because as the second wife those who have known that other woman who came first make snap judgments.  If you’re younger, they laughably assume you’re a gold digger?  Yes, that professor’s paycheck after taxes and alimony and child support leaves quite the financial hole of which to crawl out from.  The two of you couldn’t possibly have gotten together because you fell in love?

If they’re particularly rude and crude like one pompous, white-haired writer was at an event we attended, he’ll take your hand and say, “Oh, I didn’t know you had a daughter.”  Good one.  You’d think a man who’d won the Pulitzer would’ve come up with dialogue a little less cliche’.  Apparently it is I who lacks literary couth for assuming my husband and I could share our true identities, not only as real flesh and blood characters inside the covers of our respective memoirs, but on the outside of them as well.