Kelly: I think it takes a certain level of creativity to live with any kind of man. Especially when that man is me.

Annette: Like finding new and different ways to tell you to please stop leaving your dirty socks lying around the house?

K: Yes, like that. And creativity played a huge role in bringing my wife and I (and my dirty socks) together in the first place. We met at a job interview. I was a columnist and copy editor for the Bismarck Tribune, and Annette was working in a job she knew she didn't want to do forever, but was also a columnist for a community newspaper in town. In fact, I had read one of her columns in an issue of this paper, sandwiched in between 12 other columns -- it was apparently a newspaper of personal columns, I guess -- and hers was the only one I really liked. She had real voice, interesting experiences and depth to her storytelling. I'd thought about e-mailing her then, to tell her I was a fan.

A: I actually had a lot of encouragement to apply for this job, even though I didn't ever suspect it was my true calling in life. But the universe kept bonking me over the head with the fact that I needed to apply for this job. And if you've ever watched Oprah -- what am I saying? Of course, you have. Well, then you know, if something keeps coming up and you keep ignoring it, that voice in your head will just keep getting louder.

K: I didn't realize my wife was hearing voices. That might have been a deal-breaker.

A: Well, it's a good thing I did hear that voice, or else we would've had to wait for Kelly to get around to sending me a fan letter, and that could've take forever. He's slow to correspondence.

K: But back to the job interview. Annette applied for a position as a copy editor, and I was part of the group who interviewed her for the position. She recognized me from my column in the paper, and so, from the get go, she was already familiar with my own mental instabilities, because I am, if nothing else, a forthright writer, and I don't seem to have any problems with sharing details about my failures as a human being in my columns for the public to read.

A: Before I met Kelly, my Dad used to tell me how much he liked Kelly's columns, except that he liked Radiohead too much. Should've listened to my dad.

K: I wrote about Radiohead one time, Gene. Anyway, my sense for what it means to be creative is to just try to do things differently than how they're normally done. When I write, I try to write unexpected things. Molasses yardstick, for instance. My appreciation for my wife began on that first day, in the middle of a job interview, with the recognition that (1) she wasn't terribly off-put by a supposed professional whose first interview question was, "Does this look infected?" and (2) she was equally random and quick on her feet. She's like no one else I've ever met. Also, she quotes "The Simpsons" a lot, which tickles me upside down.

A: I'm a sucker for a good cultural reference, and a good writer. In this crazy technological age, the bulk of our initial conversations occurred over IM and MySpace. (Remember those relics of yesteryear?) I like to think it was kind of like a sped-up old-timey romance of writing letters back and forth. We both appreciate a good turn of the phrase and love a quality callback. (Insert reference about socks and Simpsons here.)

K: It was creativity that brought us together.

A: And it's creativity that keeps us together -- finding creative ways to parent, listening to our daughter create new words like "Poobydooby" and finding ways to keep surprising each other, like discovering new and interesting places to put our dirty socks. OK. It's just Kelly that does that.

K: One time, I left a pair on the kitchen counter. Expect the unexpected.



 
Kelly Hagen and Annette Martel are writers and married, which is certainly convenient for the sake of writing this She Said/He Said column for Be Magazine. If you have any questions on how the male mind works, send them to shesaidhesaidcolumn@gmail.com.