Book Two, Chapter 207: Locked Up

Growing up, I wanted to dance — daydreamed about being a ballerina — and wanted to play the piano. I understand now that this was my way of trying to express myself. But my parents had no extra money for dancing lessons, a piano, or piano lessons.

At twenty-one, I met Ernie. If I couldn’t express myself, the next-best thing was to be with Ernie. Writers know how to express themselves, right? And I wanted to see the world through the eyes of a writer.

Ernie liked me, he said, because I believed in what he believed in — his fiction-writing — and because I was innocent and honest.



Knowing what I know now, I would call myself ignorant rather than innocent. I knew very little about myself or anyone else. And repressed rather than honest. Too much of who I was or who I could be was locked inside me.

I was a secret garden, even to myself, and I didn’t have the key. I didn’t even know to look for it.

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My writer husband’s favorite nickname for me was Ernestina, so in this 2-book memoir, he is Ernie. This is his story, our story, and my story. I invite you in.