Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Posts by : Admin
Guest Author: C.G. Bauer
My Wife, My Muse, My Confession
My new novel, not the one you see here, is about reincarnation and what might happen if a person came back to where she was needed the most. The title doesn’t matter; not yet at least. It’s a paranormal/urban fantasy still looking for a publisher. What does matter is my wife inspired two of its characters: a co-protagonist who is the potential love interest for the male co-protagonist, and the co-protagonist’s comatose wife. The associations are un-hideable. And yet, because my wife never reads any of what I write, she may never learn this. Not unless someone tells her. To add to this: The character’s co-protagonist, the novel’s main character, shares a small measure of this author’s history. So there you have it. She’s in there, I’m in there. If she reads the novel, she’ll see herself. She’ll see me. Yes, write what you know. We’re approaching our fourth decade together. No matter. She’ll never read it.
I chalk up the disinterest to her being too serious a person. Much, much, much too serious. Fiction, other pleasure reading? Just not her thing. She’s a family crisis intervention social worker. In itself, that says a lot, and she’s good at what she does. A woman on a mission, trying to change the lives of the disadvantaged, the abused, the threatened, the helpless. The novel’s characters are modeled after her social worker persona. Its dedication will be to her, and through this dedication, to social workers everywhere. Someone should tell her. It won’t be me.
She’s seen some horrible things, even though her clients live in an affluent area outside Philadelphia. I know only a smattering of what she sees, this because she rarely shares, and she never names names. It makes me wonder, a lot, about the life of a social worker. I can only imagine what social workers in inner cities like Philly see.
Two incidents you need to know about. She once had to be pulled behind a police car barricade after exiting a client’s house where an extended family of mother, son, and grandfather lived. The grandfather had become severely agitated—mental health issues—with my wife still inside, along with his guns. His many, many guns. He was a “collector.” Sure. Whatever. Her whispered 911 call brought the cavalry. They’d stationed themselves at a safe distance, waiting for her exit. She slipped out the front door of the house after the son did the same out the back. When she reached the barricade, they pulled her to cover. The grandfather eventually surrendered. No shots were fired, no one was hurt, not physically at least. She came home, had dinner, sat in front of the TV with me. When we got through our second, maybe third sit-com rerun—laughter relaxes her—she told me what had happened. Her telling of the event was preemptive, in case the news at eleven had a story on it. In case I’d see her in the footage. One station ran the story; I didn’t see it. Then, later, or ever. She learned soon enough that she wasn’t named in the newscast, nor was she in any of the video. This made her happy. Also made her pissed that she’d mentioned it to me, because in retrospect, she hadn’t needed to.
She’s seen the worst. Things I’ll never know about. A suicide. Tragic accidents. Some of the agency’s child clients have died. But sometimes she sees the best. One case in particular. A family of four, a teen and a tween among them, the mother agoraphobic; she hadn’t left the house in years. The kids were having trouble dealing with Mom’s illness—just not something your average selfish daughter wants to come home to from school. The father worked in NYC, came home on weekends only. Family stress was manifesting itself. My wife guided them through the agency’s twelve week program, gave them coping skills, helped them access mental health services. The mother was improving, ready to take positive steps. At my wife’s final visit the tween daughter tearfully presented her with a gift. A light jacket. Inexpensive, a very bright red, and not the right size; it was something my wife was never able to wear. A trivial offering? No. The girl bought it with her own money. From a K-Mart four miles away from their home. She walked.
Writing this new novel was cathartic. It has a paranormal, apocalyptic bend to it that may mask the love stories it contains. I do hope it gets published, but for more reasons than one. I also hope someone tells my wife about it. And I hope she reads it.
My wife has seen things. Horrible things. Good things. My wife, my muse, my hero. She makes a difference in people’s lives every day.
She still has the jacket.
C.G. (Chris) Bauer
Scars on the Face of God: The Devil’s Bible
Labels: guest post