Having a Husband Who Communicates — A Lot + Jan Ellison’s “A Small Indiscretion.”


Or writing. Or watching. Or working. It really doesn’t matter. It is usually in that moment when my brain needs quiet, when I’m concentrating. That is the moment, or moments, when my husband cannot keep quiet.

I’ve watched the movies, heard the complaints, listened to the whines. “My husband doesn’t communicate. He never tells me what’s on his mind.” That would not be my husband.

My main man, my squeeze, my Ted–he is must be that exception that proves the rule. He likes to talk. He does not keep his thoughts to himself. He will tell you exactly what he is thinking, exactly what is on his mind.  There is no subterfuge with the man I live with, there is nothing left unsaid.

As weird as it is, I married a non-reader, so he doesn’t get the whole ‘the book is open, so hush” thing. And even when I explain that I’m reading, or writing, or working, he can’t stop talking.

I’m not saying that this is a bad thing. I would say this is refreshing and different. He doesn’t keep secrets from me; I don’t think he can. And he’s pretty funny.

After 14 1/2 years of marriage, together for 17, I’ve kind of figured out how he works (although he’s always surprising me). For me, to finish my thoughts (at least the deeper ones), I need to write them down. A journal, a blog, a short story. Even a Tweet or a Facebook post. My ideas and thoughts become fully formed after I put them down on paper, virtual or otherwise.

For Ted, though, an idea is fully fleshed out when he speaks it. He can draw it, too, or put it on a plate (as far as food goes–he is a culinary school graduate and loves to create in the kitchen), but usually it is spoken. He talks things out; sometimes he wants my input, but a lot of the time it is just thinking out-loud. I’ve become very adept at saying “okay” and “yes” at the right moments (I am usually listening, he just doesn’t need more than that when he’s thinking).

I was always a social being, a talker, but with a introvert side also. I could sit and read, study, watch movies all day, and then go out with friends at night. I always preferred a balance. And I still do. The balance has just changed. I now need to get my introvert, quite time in those moments when the house is sleeping, or when Ted is working out of the house. Just like in all life, the balance has had to be adjusted.

I have my quiet time, my introvert time, in the mornings. And I am a morning person. Before he wakes up, ideally after the girls have gone to school, I write. I do my real, paying work in the afternoon, when he is usually away from the house. And, in the evening, if I need quiet time to read, I take a bath.

He’s funny, and irreverent, and he has a big heart. People get worn out by him, but he is such a big-hearted man. He’s the guy that will be over in a heartbeat if you have an emergency. He gets hurt just like everyone else, although he laughs and tries to make light of everything. He’s the best dad, the best husband, the best man I know.

He’s lost his stepfather a year after we were married, a good man who helped shape Ted. He lost his mother in 2008 to cancer. And then his father to a stroke a couple of months ago. And he’s been strong, helping his step mother through the whole thing, staying supportive to a woman who he really doesn’t know very well.

He’s a good man who will do just about anything for those he’s cares about. What does he want in return? Honesty, support, love, and friendship.

And an ear to listen while he talks. The trade off is worth the price. For sure.

And now  a review of  Jan Ellison’s A Small Indiscretion.

I’ve had this Jan Ellison’s book on my Kindle for awhile, but, for one reason or another, it hadn’t been read. In the last couple of weeks I finally got around to it. all I can say is WHY? WHY DID IT TAKE ME SO LONG?!

A Small Indiscretion is Ellison’s first novel, although she is an award winning short-story writer. Her voice is amazing, and this story is mesmerizing.

The Premise

A Small Indiscretion is the story of Annie Gunnlaugsson and her life. Beautifully told between flashbacks and present day, Annie tells of her life before meeting her husband, and the moment when all her sins converge.

When she was 19, Annie took a chance and left California for London, with a temporary work visa in hand. Once there, she begins working for an engineer, Malcolm, who has a strange relationship with his wife, Louise. She’s sleeping with Patrick, the photographer living on their property, but with Malcolm’s permission. In turn, Malcolm has her permission to sleep with Annie. Annie, a virgin, likes flirting and her job, and doesn’t want the dynamic to change. She puts Malcolm off.

Then she meets Patrick, and they fall into a clandestine relationship. Annie enjoys the attention from the two men. When thing get to be too much, she leaves, and her life begins with her husband.

Twenty years later, this strange time in her life comes back to haunt her. As her son lies dying after a car accident,  She tries to tell him all that went on in her life before he was born, starting with London. Annie hold very little back, and tells her story without apology but with heart.

I will try to paint for you London as I remember it at nineteen, then at twenty, all the while knowing my picture will be imperfect. Not only because memory itself is imperfect . . .  But also because the the London I paint is colored by the pencil I hold, and the pencil I hold wants a picture with an ending we can all bear.

She goes onto tell the story of Christmas in Paris, and of meeting her future husband. Of their life, their children, their marriage. Up to the present day, where she feels she must come clean with her story.

Annie story flips back in forth in such a way as to not confuse the reader. Many of the characters are in both her past and her present, making their presence known in various ways.

My Thoughts

I devoured this book, and loved the story. There were times I didn’t like Annie very much, and thought she let life happen to her. But I also remember being 20, and know I didn’t make the wisest choices at that time. I also know that it is easier to live with a mistake if you think it isn’t hurting anyone.

It’s a story so honest it rings true, so raw it reverberates.

I loved it. Five stars.


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