My husband is also a blogger. He is 23Thorns, which is a name that doesn’t give much away and which I find quite tricky to stick to using here on WordPress. I really am not overly fond of not being able to call him by his name when I am quite so obviously Tracy and I quite so obviously love history. He’s all ‘international man of mystery’ and, well, I’m…There’s no great mystery here:
Hi, my name is Tracy and I love history.
23Thorns was not always a blogger. In fact, he only became one a few months after I did. We have known each other for about 15 years and not once has he ever put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard to produce great works of literature. I was ever a tortured writer-person cleverly disguised as a bookseller. I have written poems, started that memoir about 20 times, copied favourite passages from books into journals and generally been a tortured writer-person. I am in love with words and paper and 23Thorns. I once wrote him a love letter on a blue bedsheet in silver ink under which we slept.
Now, it came as great surprise to me to discover that 23Thorns (good heavens, this pseudonym is a chore) could actually and did actually want to write. And he is a freaking genius; so funny you’ll shake with laughter, yet so smart you’ll be a little intimidated. His blog has turned into a monster. He was first Freshly Pressed within weeks of starting (it was about an unwitting shoplifting incident which left him banned from the local supermarket for trespassing). Then, in a demonstration of how lightning is indeed indiscriminate, he was Freshly Pressed AGAIN!
I am not at all competitive. Just ask 23Thorns about our convivial Saturday night Scrabble games over a glass of wine. I am the very picture of grace in the face of defeat. If perchance I am losing, I will dust myself off, pour another glass of wine and start again. And then that glass of wine will turn into another and another and we will play Scrabble and drink wine for however long it takes me to win a game. I will not sleep and neither will 23Thorns until I have won just one game.
Okay, maybe I’m just a little bit competitive. I will arm wrestle 23 until my wrists are almost paralysed in order not to admit defeat. I dropped out of the tennis team altogether in junior school when I was demoted from the first team to the second. I nearly died of the shame when I saw my team mate’s glasses mist up when I answered incorrectly at the General Knowledge Quiz of 1988. I would sell my children in order not to be second. Not really. Okay. Perhaps just the one who hit me with a hairbrush when I ran out of heart-shaped Band Aids for Barbie so very unthoughtfully while on the other side of the planet from the Band Aid shop. This competitive streak is not an attractive trait and one against which I have to fight. 23thorns’ great success has sorely challenged my ability to be graceful under fire. Of course, we smiled at each other and chinked our champagne flutes in celebration of his acclaim. We made plans for the book tour at which I would smile encouragingly (and knowingly) at the publicist as she struggled to introduce my husband as “23Thorns” at events across the world.
We even spoke about our respective blogs. 23Thorns has written about cooking, childcare, fashion, nature; I write about history. His was the supermarket of blogs. Mine was niche. I was a boutique. I was a delicatessen. He was Walmart. Cold comfort this conversation was, I can tell you.
But then, something marvellous happened. I was Freshly Pressed! My boutique went national! I’m a supermarket. So, thank you wonderful people, for evening the playing fields, for returning the swagger to my step, for smoothing over the marital tensions, for returning to me The Pants.
We’ve just got back from a holiday in The Seychelles and I have wonderful stories of pirates and lost treasure and life in the tropics in a girdle and I’ll get to them soon. For today though, a genuine and heartfelt thanks for reading.