After taking a bit of a leave of absence, it is good to dip my toe back in the writing waters today with the folks over at Literary Life. This brief essay touches on what it has meant for me to share my home with a writer… and the many characters in his books.
After nearly three decades of marriage to author-historian Kevin Belmonte, I have rather gotten used to sharing my home with numerous houseguests. They stop by to chat about shared interests, to pick Kevin’s brain on some obscure point of historical ephemera, and maybe even read some poetry (mine, theirs, or someone else’s) out loud. Some stay for an overnight, a week, even a month.
But there have been a few visitors that make camp and stay well past what is considered “polite” even for family – the old souls that populate Kevin’s books. They are particularly present while he is in the throes of research and writing. Dozens of such characters have taken up residence for as long as it has taken to get the manuscript past the finish line and on to the publisher.
But there’s one that seems to have moved in permanently: the esteemed abolitionist from Hull, William Wilberforce. Evidence of his residence abounds throughout our home. Happy memories are framed in pictures with modern-day friends and descendants of the reformer, and of course there’s the one with me geeking out with Ioan Gruffudd at the premier of Amazing Grace in New York City. Kevin’s Pollock Award for “William Wilberforce: Hero for Humanity” sits prominently on a shelf in our living room. And the books… so many books!