That’s how I sometimes described myself when Tony and I were writing – one half of something, one half of a whole that we made up, together. I also sometimes said, to him and to others, that together we were greater than the sum of our parts.
So what does that mean for me as a writer – and especially as a screenwriter – now? Because I would say that we were greater together, it’s hard for me not to think that means that I’m less, alone. Less of a writer. Less of a person, maybe, too.
Somehow this blog exists outside of that. I never blogged before Tony died, not seriously. I once wrote a few blog entries, one of which I entered in a “Blogging for Books” contest, but I didn’t keep at it. The reason I didn’t was because I couldn’t put out fiction and pretend it was fact. I couldn’t gloss over parts of my life. I wrote earlier about the fact that Tony, while he was alive, would have hated the idea of me writing about him and putting it out in public. Being honest about our lives would have felt like a betrayal to him.
This week I ventured back on to a screenwriting site that Tony and I once frequented. We were actually members from the very beginning, and for a while, we both loved being there. It was a supportive community, we met some of the people there who also lived in Southern California in person, and I think our writing got better while we were there. Then Tony, as he did so often, began to doubt the sincerity of people there. He was suspicious of their motives. I didn’t see what he saw. I didn’t feel what he felt. But as I did so many times during our marriage, I gave in to his needs. He and I both stopped going there, stopped posting, stopped entering the monthly contests.
I missed it.
I went back this week and got such a warm, lovely welcome. I don’t think I’ll be entering this month’s contest. It’s funny how things happen, but each month’s contest has a theme or topic, and this month’s scripts must include a character holding his breath. That’s a little too close to how Tony chose to end his life. I can’t even think about it. When I wrote that first post this week, I shared what I felt about the contest theme with everybody. And that’s the difference between the writer I am now, and the writer I was then. Before I wrote with a partner, and while his talents and creativity and work ethic made me a better writer, his fears and suspicions and secrecy also held me back.
I think I will write screenplays again. They will, necessarily, be different than the ones I would have written with Tony. I am no longer half of anything. I am wholly myself.