What it Actually Means to be Batman’s Wife

In response to this shirt:

batmans wife

You wake up in the middle of the night and he’s not there, and when he sneaks back in just before dawn he’s sweating through his button-up with a smudge of red Joker facepaint on his collar and he smells like fear gas and he has something that looks like crocodile scratches on his arm. He says he was “just out with the boys.” You don’t think you believe him.

He won’t let you wear pearls. When you say you want to go to the theater, his jaw locks up and he won’t look at you or talk to you for hours. He says Gotham is too dangerous for you to leave the manor alone, ever, but he won’t consider moving anywhere else.

When you talk about having a family one day, you find that he already has a stash of crayola-bright onesies in yellow and green and red, all marked with Rs. This is shady.

You’re left alone a lot, so you get pretty close to his butler, who tells you stories about what it was like to be a medic in World War II. That’s kind of how you feel. Less like a wife, more like you’re stitching pieces of Bruce back together.

You really thought he loved you, but now you realize that he isn’t capable, not anymore. He puts on a show for the cameras, drives the fast cars, but there’s something behind his eyes, something cold and dead and furious. He wraps his arm around your waist and laughs and murmurs some glib remark with his lips pressed against your hair when you’re at a red carpet premiere together, but when you’re home he retreats back to the basement and you don’t see him until the next day.

You’ve been reduced to Mrs. Wayne, and it’s not enough.

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A Choose-Your-Own Adventure of Pissing Me Off

Despite what the title suggests, I’m not actually mad at anyone.  I’m mad at the pervasive mindset that leads to these conversations, which I’ve had in various permutations with friends, family, and strangers over the past ten years.

It starts with me explaining that I don’t drive, because of my eyesight and reflexes.

Turn to page 203.

“Why don’t you get Lasik?”

“My eyes are still changing, sometimes drastically, year by year.  But even if they weren’t, you realize you’re asking me to have elective surgery for something medically unnecessary so that I can fit better into your idea of what ‘normal’ is.  That sucks.”

Turn to page 54.

“You should move to New York, or San Francisco, or the secret government base on Mars, where there’s reliable public transportation.”

“I’m not going to uproot my life, but that’s sweet of you to suggest.”

Turn to page 542.

“Don’t you dislike inconveniencing people?”

“Yes.”

Turn to page 86.

“Don’t you know that you’re missing out on job opportunities/boyfriends/adventures?”

“That’s their prerogative.  If I can get to work, it shouldn’t matter how.  But I guess this is as good a screening process as any, to keep away the jerks.”

Turn to page 393.

“I know someone who is blind in one eye, has Benjamin Button syndrome, and lost 3/4 of his brain in a zombie attack, and he still drives, and he’s never had an accident.”

“Some people can do amazing things in the face of unbelievable odds.  Go them!  I’m not him, though, and he’s not me.”

“But–”

“If you’ve ever seen me try to play sports you’d understand why you don’t want me in control of a couple tons of metal and a combustion engine.”

Turn to page 39.

“You don’t even have a license?”

“I’d like to get one, in case someday someone gets their arm cut off and the Rapture happens and so I’m the only one who can bring the one-armed heathen to the heathen hospital.  And maybe one day they’ll make those cars that drive themselves affordable.  And maybe one day after a  lot of training and practice I’ll be able to drive safely, but right now it’s not feasible.”

Turn to page 444.

“If you don’t drive, you’re a social pariah.”

“It’s kind of stupid that we’re so dependent on machines that not being able to use one means that we have to have this conversation.”

Turn to page 156.

“I think you’re just anxious.”

“I think you’re just patronizing.  But disregarding that for a second, unless you’re willing to take full psychological and legal responsibility if I kill someone, the only opinion you’re allowed to have is, ‘You don’t drive? That must have been a hard decision, but good on you for making the responsible choice for your life’.”

Books I Love

I’ve been challenged to name ten books or poems that have stayed with me or changed my perspective.

I’m not going to tag anyone because gosh I’m having a hard time keeping track of who’s done it and who hasn’t, but if you’re reading this and you haven’t done it yet… consider this your personalized invitation!

In no order, here we go:

1) All of the Harry Potters by J.K. Rowling. Her world building is mindblowing. I reread her work often and with great vigor. What can I say about her? I remember when I first heard about Harry Potter. I was in the pool. I was in junior high. Everyone was talking about Harry and I had no idea. Boy did that change quick.  One of my dearest yearnings is to go to Hogwarts. 

2) The Raggamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. Not only do I love the message, but the writing is clever and masterful. There’s an anecdote in chapter seven that will break your heart and ruin your life. I’ve always been of the opinion that if Christians were as loud about love as some are about condemnation, the world would be a much better place. And it wouldn’t be so hard to admit to being one.

3) Woman at the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy. Read. This. Book. Now. It’s cool, sci-fi, utopian, gritty, painful, beautiful, all of the words that mean awesome. It deals with environmental concerns, homophobia, feminism, mental health, classism. Written in 1976 and it could have been written yesterday.

4) The whole New X-Men Beak run. You’ve all heard me rant about Beak. If you don’t remember my tomfoolery, scroll down on my blog. I’m always like six degrees of separation from talking about Beak.

5) The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. I think we’ve already established that I’m not an intellectual with number four, so I have no shame admitting this. I appreciate George R. R. Martin’s brutality, his unwillingness to pander, and he has a great, clever, geektastic sense of humor. He added in the Black Hood, Blue Beetle, and the Green Arrow as sigils for three houses! How awesome is that!

6) American Gods by Neil Gaiman. If you haven’t read it, do it. There are tens of other Neil Gaiman books I could mention, but American Gods is kind of making me hate myself for not being as talented as Mr. Gaiman is.

7) Watchmen. It is truly mixed media art. I connected right away to the essays written within, the newspaper articles, the files… the innovative format was a big inspiration for my novel.

8) Child of God by Cormac McCarthy, which I can’t rightly recommend to anyone because it is disgusting, but the writing is so poetic and lyrical and beautiful.

9) The Name of this Book is Secret in the Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch, which, I guess might go on the below list, but it’s so great! Yes, it’s for kids. But it’s also smart, it plays with form, it knows how to spin a narrative and draw out tension in a way most adult novels don’t master.

10) Howl by Allen Ginsberg. I read this whenever I lose steam. It’s inspiring, wild, and heartbreaking. I almost feel like Howl is a person I can go and talk to.

And five children’s books, because… what do you expect?

1) The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt is awesome.  It’s about all the crayons writing letters of resignation to their owner.  Blue is tired of having to color the sky and the sea… he’s worn down to a nub!  Pink feels neglected. Orange and yellow are feuding over who’s really the color of the sun– and they each have proof!

2) Press Here by Hervé Tullet.  It’s interactive in a way that a print book rarely is.  You push the yellow dot and the rest of the book drags you along on an adventure.  Turn it this way and that.  Shake it and the dots go flying! 

3)  Keep our Secrets (to be read in a whisper) by Jordan Crane.  I love this book.  I’m not even sure it belongs on a children’s book list.  It has heat sensitive ink, which reveals that the world around us is hardly what it appears.  Read this book, and you’ll find “the accordion’s got three cats and a handful of forks in it” and “one of Mr. Vesper’s legs is a python.”  It’s creepy sometimes, whimsical always, and inspiring.

4) The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone is another one of those fun interactive books.  Grover from Sesame Street tries his darndest to keep you from turning the page because there’s a monster at the end of the book!

5)  I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa Mccourt and Cyd Moore.  It’s about a mother’s love, even if her kid were a one-eyed monster, a terrifying dinosaur, a green alien, or a skunk so smelly his name is Stinky Face.

For Joss Whedon’s eyes only– if you read this and you aren’t him you are breaking Internet law

Dear Mr. Whedon,
 
I hate writing letters, but I figured life’s too short not to tell people you admire how awesome they are.
 
I’ve loved your work since I watched Angel in my family’s game room on the old dial television.   Since then I’ve devoured Buffy, watched Firefly and Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog more times than I’d like to admit, and I even applied into the Evil League of Evil with my best friend and my little brother– we made the honorable mention list!
 
I’m a writer, too, and your work inspires me.  I love your use of humor, and how you infuse the extraordinary into the ordinary– you keep your settings and characters just familiar enough to connect the audience, and just alien enough to captivate us.  You’ve built the better mousetrap.
 
As a writer, I also appreciate how you “recycle” your actors, how you’ve built a community of talented artists around you.  I hope to have that kind of community one day.
 
My novel One out of Five Items that Adeline Stein Left on the Bus on the Way to the Zoo has won a couple awards!  An excerpt won the Robertson Prize in Fiction a few years ago, and in 2013 it reached the Top Five Indie Book List by Shelf Unbound.  My very favorite review is that it’s “a romantic comedy, written from the point-of-view of a brilliant psychopath.”  That is to say, it’s doing pretty well as far as reviews go, but getting the word out is hard since I published it myself.
 
I’m also working on making the world of my novel interactive.  I have a blog tracking Adeline’s movements (areyouaddy.wordpress.com) where fans of the book can submit “sightings” and Addy also has her own Facebook page where she can talk to people.  Making a piece of writing interactive and multimedia is something that I’ve wanted to explore for a long while.
 
I know how busy you are, but if you’re ever in the mood for some dark comedy, your endorsement would change my life.  Shoot, just hearing back from you would truly mean everything to me.  Basically, I want to be you when I grow up. I guess this is how normal people feel about the Kardashians. I’d love your input.
 
Admiringly (and adverbingly),
Heather Pedoto
 
PS: My e-mail address is are.you.addy@gmail.com, and if you’re into less reliable forms of communication send up the Batsignal. If you’re into even less reliable forms of communication, follow the sound of me stress-eating and refreshing the page.