The Other Writer in Our House

I’m not the only writer in our house. Today, the Columbus Dispatch published yet another letter to the editor written by Ed Sweeney, my husband.

Ed penned his current letter Reach Out Before Assuming the Worst in response to a spate of “racial insensitivities” (I’m being nice here) in our Columbus, Ohio suburb of Upper Arlington. Ed belongs to a group of citizens called Equal UA which hopes to promote “an inclusive climate which encourages all people to feel welcome and participate fully within our community.”

Speaking to some Equal UA members, Upper Arlington Chief of Police, Tracy Hahn expressed her hope that citizens would talk to each other before contacting the authorities for situations which did not warrant a police presence. Ed saw the similarities between incidents in our suburb and the racial profiling of Smith College student Oumou Kanoute when a college employee called the police as the student was observed eating her lunch in a common area. Ed’s idea for the letter was born.

When Ed thinks of something to write, he doesn’t anguish over it. He jots it down, revises, and asks me to polish the result. Then, he sends it off. If he experiences angst, he doesn’t show it. Oh, he’s concerned with the quality, but it’s more important for him to get his message across before the moment is lost. As a result, the paper has published many of his letters.

I envy Ed’s ability to steer clear of mental land mines. He has a naturally thick hide and a strong spine. But most of all, he’s in the moment – writing, revising, asking for help, and submitting. If there’s blowback, he’ll deal with it when it comes. His passion outweighs his need to avoid criticism.

I will continue to study this strange creature I call my husband as I have for the past nearly twenty-five years. I will mimic his movements and perhaps absorb a bit of his thick hide and strong spine. Maybe in another twenty-five years, some of it will rub off.