Mark was a racehorse let out of the gate — he wrote with determination, focus, speed, and joy. It was beautiful. We were living in Powell River and he had come home from a trip to the recycling bins, excited with inspiration about where his story would start. We had a busy family life but we planned for one full day each per week for writing. It always amazed me how committed he was to the process. On his writing days, he went to work — a master of self-employed dedication.
It was a year of transition for us. We left Powell River to come back to the lower Sunshine Coast after a two year absence. Our house had excellent renters at the time so we settled in at Gibsons RV Resort, first in our camper van, and then in a travel trailer. We had a wonderful trip to Alaska with friends, and then we struggled to fit back in to what we felt was our home town. Our marriage was struggling too, but we ignored the signs and headed south after Christmas to connect with friends and family and warmer weather.
Things continued to be rough between us and we had to face the inevitable truth that a change was necessary. Mark and I separated near the end of our time in California but planned to continue living together as a family. Easy but complicated. Or complicated but easy. I received the first draft of Goodnight Sunshine on the drive home in March of 2013.
I read and I read. I was desperate to get to the end. What would happen? Would there be some massive insight into Mark’s psyche that would solve everything between us? I laughed (at some of his characters), I cried (at the emotional parts — he knew how to hit some nerves) and I gave him my objective feedback, leaving out telling him I thought he was a complete jerk and his novel reflected that.
At this point, Mark decided that another trip to Ecuador would help him make the book more real or accurate or some such thing that required another trip to Ecuador while I stayed home with our two kids. Alright. Actually, that really was alright because I didn’t want him there anyway. Excellent timing and plan.
Don’t worry — it gets better. To be continued …