A: The most important point about having regularly scheduled together time is that scheduled romance in no way precludes spontaneous romance. If your days are full of unexpected bouquet deliveries and sleeping in late on Tuesdays after long bouts of lovemaking, maybe you don't need the commitment of time set aside just for the two of you to connect. However, I suspect that if you measure the rate of spontaneous romance events, you will likely find that you may not be having much spontaneous romance anyway in the startup phase of your entreprenurial endeavors. Having calendar appointments gives you something to look forward to during times when your entreprenurial partner is completely occupied by work.
The other really important point about romance is the very definition of the term. What's romantic anyway? This is an important and ongoing conversation to have with your partner. It can be an exciting and intimate journey to test what works for each of you over time. Brad and I don't find much romance in the images created by television commercials by diamond companies, but find romance in the daily moments we share together. Different couples have different ideas about what constitutes romance for them. I personally love the intimacy of the morning and evening routines in the bathroom, brushing and flossing and washing, but we have friends who use separate bathrooms to keep the mystery alive. Figuring out together what feels romantic to you can be an exploratory and very personal part of your relationship.
Dear Readers: What feels romantic to you? Do you find that having a regular date night increases or decreases other spontaneous expressions of romance? And I'm taking other Advice Column questions that lots of people seem to share. Ask away!
I am delighted to share a thoughtful and positive review of Startup Life in Forbes online by BrentBeshore entitled "7 Changes for Your "Startup Life.'" Click here to read the review.
According to Brent, "If you are an entrepreneur, are thinking of becoming one, or are in a relationship with one, I would highly suggest you buy “Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship With an Entrepreneur.” At the very least, it will give you an inside look at a highly successful long-term relationship that has endured through virtually every cycle of entrepreneurial living. Or, it just might change the way you do life." Thanks for the kind words, Brent!
Brad and I have been overwhelmed by the positive response to the book, and hope that entrepreneurial couples are enjoying the conversations Startup Life is sparking.
It is also good to love: because love is
difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the
most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final
test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation. That
is why young people, who are beginners in everything, are not yet capable of
love: it is something they must learn. With their whole being, with all their
forces, gathered around their solitary, anxious, upward-beating heart, they
must learn to love. But learning-time is always a long, secluded time, and therefore
loving, for a long time ahead and far on into life, is: solitude, a heightened
and deepened kind of aloneness for the person who loves. Loving does not at
first mean merging, surrendering, and uniting with another person (for what
would a union be of two people who are unclarified, unfinished, and still
incoherent?), it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become
something in himself, to become world, to become world in himself for the sake
of another person; it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that
chooses him and calls him to vast distances. Only in this sense, as the task of
working on themselves ("to hearken and to hammer day and night"), may
young people use the love that is given to them. Merging and surrendering and every
kind of communion is not for them (who must still, for a long, long time, save
and gather themselves); it is the ultimate, is perhaps that for which human
lives are as yet barely large enough.
And this quote was the epigraph at the beginning of Chapter Five: Personality --
“Love consists in this, that
two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.” Rainer Maria Rilke
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
- Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, 1992,
Beacon Press, Boston, MA. Reprinted with permission.
Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets. My funeral instructions include the reading of her poem White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field, along with the playing of some Bach or Samuel Barber. (Brad has specified Pink Floyd "Dark Side of the Moon" for his memorial soundtrack. We are different from each other.)
We had intended to include this poem at the beginning of Startup Life Chapter Six: Values because of the vital questions it asks. These would be excellent starting points for conversations with your life partner over a monthly Life Dinner. It also feels lovely to have summer images during a week of bitter cold here in Colorado.
One of the many interesting things I've learned during the publishing process of Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur with Brad is that publishing houses don't do the work of getting permission to reprint copyrighted material - authors are responsible for this work. Or at least our publisher doesn't do this work, and we were responsible. Neither Brad nor I realized this until about 3 weeks before our final galley proofs were due when we received an email on October 26th asking whether we had gotten reprint permission for the poems and literary quotes we had included in our drafts. Surprise. Oops.
Brad's terrific and resolute assistant, Kelly Collins, sprang into action at the beginning of November, only to discover that it takes 6-8 weeks for the permissions and our final author draft was due in 4 weeks.
I was really disappointed and unhappy with this realization since I had been the instigator of the poetry and thought it added a richness and depth to the text and supported our deep belief that words and language matter.
Surely that's what underpaid and overworked publishing interns are for?
We did receive and pay for permission to reprint a Mary Oliver poem "The Summer Day," in time, but it didn't make sense to include just one of the poems. So we pulled the poems by Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry, and quotes from Rainer Maria Rilke and Antoine St. Exupery, among others.
But Brad and I both still hold the conviction that beautiful language can connect us and give voice to emotion and thoughts that may be difficult for non-poets to express. So I am going to blog the quotes and poetry we had originally intended to include in Startup Life, as well as some additional gems that we love. Here's a poem by Wendell Berry that we intended to include in Chapter Two: Philosophy --
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in
and I wake in the night at the least
in fear of what my life and my
children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood
rests in his beauty on the water,
and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world,
and am free.
From The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry copyright 1998 by Wendell Berry
from Counterpoint Press, a member of Perseus Books, LLC
While this book addresses issues common to all relationships (communication, values, money, sex, children, etc.) we hope that it will be particularly useful for couples in the throes of a startup business. We dedicated the book to the believers and the empiricists: those who are willing to love. It takes a lot of energy and courage to try to create and sustain a relationship while building a startup company. We really hope that some of the concrete skills and tactics we suggest will be helpful.
The book is available on Kindle on January 29, 2013 and the hardback release date is January 22,2013 In the strange world of book publishing, advance sales orders count extra, so if you're considering reading this, please consider purchasing it before the official release dates.
Brad and I look forward to sparking conversations about how to have a happy life that includes both meaningful work and meaningful love.
I know some of you don't like lists, or are tired of year-end summaries, but I love both of those things and thought I'd make a list of my own.
Here are some of my favorite blogs of the year, in alphabetical order, since there's not really a unifying theme. I'm an omnivorous liberal artist type, so my favorites range from science and technology to knitting, with some lit-crit writing in between.
The sites, with a brief description from each site:
3 Quarks Daily: On this website, my fellow editors and guest authors and I hope to present interesting items from around the web on a daily basis, in the areas of science, design, literature, current affairs, art, and anything else we deem inherently fascinating.
Brain Pickings is the brain child of Maria Popova, an interestingness hunter-gatherer and curious mind at large, who also writes for Wired UK andThe Atlantic, among others, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow. She gets occasional help from a handful of guest contributors. Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, culling and curating cross-disciplinary curiosity-quenchers, and separating the signal from the noise to bring you things you didn’t know you were interested in until you are.
The Everywhereist: (My friend, Geraldine. One of the top 3 funniest people I know.) The story behind the blog. My husband’s job requires him to travel. A lot. For years, I sat behind a desk while he wandered around the world without me. It sucked for both of us, but probably more for me. Then, one day, I was laid off. It might have been one of the best things that ever happened to me. Since then, I’ve been following him around the world. This blog is mostly for him. So he can remember the places we’ve visited, the things we saw. So he can know a little bit about what I see when he’s off giving presentations and having meetings. Yes, it’s a travel blog. But at its core, it’s a love letter to my husband. A big, long, cuss-filled love letter. The kind he’d appreciate. The only kind I’m able to write.
Feld Thoughts: (My husband.) Brad is one of the managing directors at Foundry Group, a venture capital firm that invests in early stage software / Internet companies throughout the United States. He is also the co-founder of TechStars, a mentor-driven accelerator, author of several books and blogs, and a marathon runner.
It's Okay to Be Smart: This is a blog about science. But it’s probably not about science the way you’re used to it. I’m a biology Ph.D. student by day, and I curate and publish everything you see here. We live in the future, and that future is one in which science impacts every part of our lives. But too many people aren’t taking part in that future. Too many aren’t taking part in science. We must teach science as more than facts. It’s a creative process, it’s an instant injection of wonderment, it’s the excitement we feel at the edge of knowledge. It’s for everyone.
The Paris Review. Founded in Paris by Harold L. Humes, Peter Matthiessen, and George Plimpton in 1953, The Paris Review began with a simple editorial mission: “Dear reader,” William Styron wrote in a letter in the inaugural issue, “The Paris Review hopes to emphasize creative work—fiction and poetry—not to the exclusion of criticism, but with the aim in mind of merely removing criticism from the dominating place it holds in most literary magazines and putting it pretty much where it belongs, i.e., somewhere near the back of the book. I think The Paris Review should welcome these people into its pages: the good writers and good poets, the non-drumbeaters and non-axe-grinders. So long as they're good.” Decade after decade, the Review has introduced the important writers of the day.
Singularity Hub: Science, Technology, The Future of Mankind. Singularity Hub is a blog and news network covering the latest in robots, genetics, longevity, artificial intelligence, aging, stem cells, and more. The singularity is the point in mankind’s future when we will transcend current intellectual and biological limitations and initiate an intelligence and information explosion beyond imagining.
Slow Love Life: I want to write about moving at a gentler, more loving pace in everything I do, learning to appreciate the beauty of everyday moments, the wisdom of thinking things over. I was forced to slow down when I lost my job--and the journey of grieving and recovery is what my book is about. Slow living led me to falling in love with the world, experiencing what I think of as slow love.
Yarn Harlot: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee goes on (and on) about knitting
Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness.
Our beloved golden retriever, Kenai, died unexpectedly Wednesday morning. Brad wrote an eloquent blog post eulogizing our good dog here.
As the incredibly nice woman at Boulder Veterinary Hospital said to me, it's a "painful blessing" that he died so unexpectedly, and I'm glad I was at home and able to be with him at the end. He was 12, which is a good long life for a big dog. He had ACL surgery a couple of years ago and his legs were a little shaky, but he was full of life and energy and doggie happiness just the day before he died.
His last morning he didn't want to come downstairs for his breakfast for the first time ever. I brought his food to him and he ate it all. I canceled yoga and a morning meeting to stay with him and took this photo of him not feeling very perky, which turned out to be his last portrait. A couple of hours later he was gone -
We are obviously devastated, but Brooks and I are keeping each other company, as we will do without Kenai for the next years.
"Good dogs are with us for a little while to teach us how to love like it's our job -- because it is."