What do you say about someone who's put up with you for twenty years? Not just with your insane writing schedule, not just with all of the convention travel, not just with your sometimes . . . questionable sense of humor, but with you? What do you say about your closest confidante, your most trusted critic, the person whose opinion means more to you than any other opinion in the world? What do you say about the woman who's helped you raise your kids, who's driven them to soccer practices -- three consecutive hours of soccer practices, two nights a week -- and sat in the car waiting for them so that you could stay home and write?
What do you say about someone who is the most important person in your life?
I suppose I could start by telling you that she's 5'1" . . . on a tall day. That she's Irish, which means that without SPS 9000 sunscreen her skin starts smoking in indirect sunlight. That she's had seven spinal surgeries, but she's still upright. That she doesn't think she's anything special, but then, she's not always the best judge of character. That even though neither of us is perfect, I can't imagine anyone else with whom I'd rather share my life, who would enjoy the good times with me more, or would be there so solidly when life hits a wall.
That I love her and that she plans to marry me all over again next April. (Assuming, of course, that she doesn't decide to shoot me in the meantime.)
All of that is true, but it's still sort of pecking around the edges of everything Sharon is. She has a sense of humor, she puts up with my sense of humor, and when I first met her she was working in a bookstore, helping push science fiction to the poor addicts. She got me invited to my first signing. She called me up the day my first book arrived and said "David, guess what! Your book's here, and we've already sold half of all the copies we got!" "Great!" I said. And "Should I save the other one for you?" she asked innocently. I was a "special guest" at Dragoncon, and she explained to our table at the banquet "Yes, David is the Special Guest. There are special Olympics, special people . . . ." She's the Grand Duchess of Montana to The Royal Manticoran Navy. She's the person people come to when they need to tell me something or ask me something and they don't want to intrude on my writing time. She's the official Keeper of the Calendar, who gets not just me but our entire family where it needs to be and when it needs to be there. She is She Who Must Be Obeyed in Greenville, and the center of my universe.
She is the extraordinary woman I was lucky enough to find and who suffered a momentary lapse in judgment and fell in love with me. Would the books have been written without her? Probably. Would they have been written in such number? Probably not. Would they have been written with as much joy? Never. Would they have been as rich and as vibrant without her as my sounding board, the first critical editor of my ideas? Not in a million years.
Her Grace of Montana is the love of my life and the reason I am who I am, and the world would be a sadder, emptier, incredibly less joyous place without her in it.