Jim’s Influence

Today, January 25th, is Jim and my twentieth wedding anniversary.

Jim and I have known each other since sometime probably in early autumn of 1994, having met a few months after I moved to New Mexico to live with Roger Zelazny.    After Roger and I settled in, I told him that the only part of my past life I really missed was gaming.

Solid Support

Solid Support

Roger said, “I think George has a group.  I’ll see if he knows of anyone who is looking for players.”  Apparently, George spoke with his group because, when I attended my first Bubonicon, Melinda Snodgrass came flowing up (she was all dressed up, having come directly from having lunch out with her then-in-laws) and said, “I’m Melinda.  George says you’re looking for a gaming group.  Would you like to join ours?”

The group Roger and I joined was mostly writers – George R.R. Martin, Melinda Snodgrass, and Walter Jon Williams were all in that initial game.  But there were non-writers as well: Chip Wideman, Carl Keim, and…  Jim Moore.

Except that for a long time, to me, Jim was just “Jim.”  I don’t think I learned his surname until a year later.  He was just the good-looking archeologist with the quirky sense of humor who held his own very well with the quick-witted and verbally agile writers.  I gathered that, like most of the others, he was in his forties.  (Carl Keim and I, both in our early thirties, were the babies of the group.)

If you want to see what Jim looked like then, there’s a snapshot on my website under “About.”  It was taken by my dad, a year or so into our marriage, during a summer when the cosmos we’d planted did the best they ever have…

As a writer, I’m very lucky to have Jim as a partner.  Many writers’ families – even their immediate families—are not interested at all in what they do.  Many are not even interested in SF and F.  If they attend conventions or book events, they’re often out of their depth or just along for the free vacation.

Jim, however, was a long-time SF/F reader even before I met him.  He’d attended conventions and, since so many of his friends were professional writers, he already knew a great deal about what a writer did and does.  In the twenty years we’ve been married, he’s built on that foundation, so that he has knowledge as extensive as any member of the profession.

Unlike many author spouses – even those who are interested in SF/F – at book events Jim’s always available to help out.  At a book fair, he’ll stand for hours at my side, flapping books (that is, opening them to the correct page to be signed).  He listens with endless patience to me giving variations of the same reading or talk, then dissects the event with me after.

While I’m signing or chatting with readers, Jim stays near enough to help, but also chats with people.  We’ve noticed that people too shy to “take up Jane’s time” will often bring their questions to Jim.  Since he’s always up-to-date on what I’m doing, he’s good person to talk to… And he’s interesting in his own right, being as passionate about archeology as I am about writing.

People often ask me – especially since archeology crops up from time to time in my writing – whether the fact that Jim is an archeologist is an influence on my choice of topic.  The answer is “no” and “yes.”  I was interested in archeology long before I met Jim.  I wrote the first version of The Buried Pyramid before we got together.  However, Jim has definitely contributed his knowledge to subsequent works.

My short story “Out of Hot Water” (from the anthology Earth, Air, Fire, Water edited by Margaret Weis) had its genesis in a visits to Ojo Caliente, where Jim was directing a dig.  When I was writing “Like the Rain,” for the anthology Golden Reflections (edited by Joan Spicci Saberhagen and Robert E. Vardeman), Jim’s extensive research library came to my assistance numerous times.  And he agreed to be a character in my short story “Jeff’s Best Joke” (originally in Past Imperfect, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Larry Segriff; reprinted in my collection Curiosities).   There are other examples, less direct, but in definitely places where Jim’s input mattered.

Jim has a role even in those stories that aren’t obviously archeological.  He helped me narrow options when I was asked to come up with a series concept, and therefore is definitely the godfather of Firekeeper and all her friends.  He is extremely patient with my tendency to become obsessive about whatever it is I’m researching at a given time.  Even better, he’ll get involved with my research, going on trips, taking photos, suggesting possible areas I might want to further delve into.

When a work is done, Jim will put aside whatever he’s reading, pull out his pencil, and go through the manuscript.  He’s learned I really mean it when I say I don’t want praise, I want an honest opinion.  In turn, I promise that even if I don’t agree with a given comment, I’ll make a note of what he has said.  If someone else says the same thing, I’ll admit that obviously I’m not communicating what I thought I was communicating and that revision is necessary.

Jim even has the tenacity to take the occasional photo of camera-shy me, which is far more of an ordeal than you may realize, especially if the photo isn’t a candid one.  And, for many years now, he’s made time to take photos for the Wednesday Wanderings, Thursday Tangents, and Friday Fragments.

So, Jim’s definitely an influence on many levels, almost certainly in ways of which I am unaware, because sometimes the author is the last to figure these things out.  Best of all, twenty years in, I can definitely say I’m hoping for at least twenty more.  That’s got to be good, right?

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11 Responses to “Jim’s Influence”

  1. James M. Six Says:

    Happy anniversary to you both.

  2. Peter Says:

    Happy anniversary, and at many more! (My wife and I just celebrated our twenty-second a little over a month ago – where does the time go?)

  3. Dawn Says:

    Happy Anniversary to two AWESOME people! May you make it to at least your 50th!!

    • janelindskold Says:

      That would make Jim 94 and me 84, which is not completely out of the picture, since his dad is still around and in his early 90’s. And my mom is 84.

      Hope to see you at ASFS on February 10!

      • Dawn Says:

        If I were to get married this year(very unlikely) I would be 102/3 if I made it to my 50th! You have better odds than I do!

  4. Katie Says:

    Happy anniversary to you both!

  5. Linda Says:

    Wishing you a very Happy Anniversary!!!

  6. Barbara Says:

    LOVELY!

  7. Jeff Says:

    Happy Dadgum Anniversary!
    As the long-suffering partner of a field archaeologist – and the best project co-director I’ve ever had as well as one of the two best field hands I’ve ever known – you are one of my heroes. (The other, of course, is my own long-suffering spouse, Ginger.)
    So congrats to Jim for having the good sense to fall in love and marry you. And congrats to you, Jane (“Dr. Lindskild”), for not offing him when you had means, motive, and opportunity.
    You two are a great couple.
    Jeff

    • janelindskold Says:

      Thanks, Jeff… By the by, those of you who like “behind the scenes,” this is the Jeff who gave his name and sense of humor to my story “Jeff’s Best Joke,” which you can find in my short story collection CURIOSITIES.

  8. henrietta abeyta Says:

    It’s a joyful harmonious blessing, especially when you’re able to stay together for many years. Loyalty is a wonderful gift just like love. Plus both loyalty and love can help you gain strength. It’s quite thoughtful to put others before yourself but you need to be loyal to yourself to be loyal to others. And to carefully find the right path for yourself you need to have self-acceptance and accept reality, dealing with truth helps you live sensibly. When people say there’s no choice it isn’t about saying yes or no, these no choice moments are about real solutions and necessity.

    Don’t blame yourself for everything that suddenly speeds up Magiere she knows who she is long before she knows what she is. Magiere had no idea vampires feared her because she shared a few of their funny strengths such as their super fast speed of healing

    DHAMPIR is the first book, I’m reading the second book of the first series already. 3 series 14 books total. If you’re a real vampire fan this long story would probably entertain you as long as you accept Magiere as the true winner, she’s part vampire and part human but because she’s hybrid she hunts pure vampires. CHAP’S VIGILANCE IS EXCELLENT he warns Magiere before any pure vampire sneaks in to bite someone. Sound and smell Chap Magiere’s wolf friend learns to track vampires both ways. Chap was given to the half elf character Leesil when he was a young boy.

    Jasmine Olson speaking

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