Feedback is starting to roll in, and so is praise. But let me make something perfectly clear. This is not my work. I’m not some pampered princess writing in a Parisian salon, perfect golden phrases flowing from a hand-sharpened quill. I’m a sweaty, nervous hack, but I’m not writing alone.
Oliver doesn’t just fetch me fresh coffee when the old cup’s gone cold, or pat me on the back when I hit a new word count goal. He shapes every part of the process.
Imagine I stand before you with a handful of flour, and a handful of yeast.
Oliver says to me, “Oh, you’re making bread.”
I say, “What the hell is bread?”
He explains to me what bread is, shows me how to bind all of the parts together. He finesses the recipe, adding salt, adding spice, changing the composition entirely when my clumsiness provides results that won’t yield. He provides the pan that will determine its shape. He provides the oven that will bake it.
When I pull it out of the oven, you wouldn’t say, “Dani made this bread.” No, I showed up, I had some ingredients, but no real idea of what I was doing or why I was doing it. You would say “Oliver and Dani made some bread.”
I wrote for a long time before I met Oliver. I wrote a lot of opening scenes, a lot of abortive attempts at mediocrity. I wrote a lot of noodling, wandering, plot-less passages. I probably wrote no more than 50,000 words in a decade, and nothing that ever finished, ended or went anywhere.
I stood there with a pencil, and some paper.
Oliver said, “Oh, you’re writing a story.”
I said “What the hell is story?”
He took me by the hand and turned me into what I always wanted to be, a writer. Without our partnership, I’d still be a cruddy little hack with big dreams and no drive. I wouldn’t have the guts to chase my dreams, and I wouldn’t have the first idea of what to write to get there.
Writing with Oliver is like dancing with Gene Kelly. You’re better just for being in his presence. He can take a little sketch, the merest fragment of an idea, and whip it into a complex, beautiful plot in no time. He turns my ragged, messy word-vomit into something fantastic, something magical. I could not do it without him. I wouldn’t do it without him. He makes the process of writing meaningful. He makes what I write meaningful. He is in every sentence, every paragraph.
You wouldn’t say “Dani wrote a story.” No, I showed up, I had some scenes, but no real idea of what I was doing or why I was doing it. Without my partner, I was scribbling in the dark. You would say “Oliver and Dani wrote a story, and it’s great.”
Thank you, Oliver. Our story is great. You should be proud.