Finnian Burnett


According to Tolstoy, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Marriages are like that, too. Relationships of all kinds. I could have written dozens of novels based on past unhappy relationships but my relationship with my wife, a happy, healthy, respectful relationship, leaves me with a decided lack of drama to filter into my fiction. Is that why I’ve struggled to complete a novel lately? Still, we’ve had some pretty dramatic exchanges and I think I might be ready to write a romance novel.

My wife walks into the kitchen, winking slightly at me as she reaches into the fridge. “I’m going to make some barbecue beans.”

I glance back at her, my attention still half-focused on the bowl of potatoes in front of me. “That will go well with the smashers and ribs.”

She’s wearing her rust-coloured hoodie, the one that goes so well with her warm, autumn complexion. “Do you think I should use maple syrup instead of honey?”


“I mean, maple syrup instead of sugar.”

“I still say yes.”

She rustles in the refrigerator, grabbing jars of ketchup, mustard, and apple cider vinegar.

I finish cutting spots off the potatoes and put them into the instapot bowl. Gordo, our 17 pound cat, saunters into the room and jumps on top of the chest freezer.

I hold the bowl of potatoes toward my wife, frowning slightly. “Does this look like enough potatoes or should I put another…?” The cat meows and I interrupt myself. “He wants a treat.”

“That’s enough. We don’t have to have massive leftovers with every meal.” She takes a piece of cat kibble from the giant container on the floor and carries it to the cat. Placing it in front of him, she turns back to me, smiling as he eats it. “He knows it’s his own kibble, but he doesn’t care. He just wants to feel special.”

I add a potato to the pot and set the timer. “If we have leftovers, we can make potato pancakes or something.”

She’s still petting the cat. I wipe my hands on a towel and slide past her. “I’m going to go to the bathroom and when I come back, maybe the coffee will be done.”

She looks up. “Are you going to poop?”

“No, I just have to pee.”

“Then the coffee won’t be done when you get back.”

“It might.”

“It won’t.”

Crushed by our argument, I shuffle into the bathroom. Despite my fastidious care in washing my hands after I pee, the coffee isn’t done when I get back. She pats my hand and doesn’t say I told you so.

The End

And there you have it. A real-life romance story – with sexual tension, dramatic tension, and a cat. I’m going to start outlining chapter two.

7 thoughts on “My Real-Life Romance Novel

  1. janbeee2 says:

    Honestly, I think Tolstoy is wrong. I think that happy families can be happy in different ways.

    But I realized, with my last gf (last one before my now-partner/wife), that when we had a shitty time and I went to my cousin’s house to pick up my kid, my cousin would say how did it go, and I gave her a detailed response. And when we had a good time, my response to my cousin would be “okay.”

    That really gave me something to think about. My wife and I certainly have our dysfunctions, but not as bad!

    And I *do* love your “Joy and Me” stories. They are always awesome.



  2. janbeee2 says:

    Darn it! I *meant* to add that I *love* how you asked Joy if you should use more potato, and she said no, and you did anyway. LOL! I kinda do that a lot.

    1. Finn Burnett says:

      I know. Like why did I even ask? 🙂

  3. Mercedes says:


  4. ybl8257 says:

    How FUN! Thank you for this entertaining window into your day. Hugs to all. Unless Gordo doesn’t want one. In that case, bat your eyes at him for me.

  5. Karen says:

    The action is even more compelling in person. Perhaps you should think about a movie version?

  6. Ona Marae says:

    I, on the other hand, only have a relationship in the novel I’m writing, as I’m single since last year. So darn it I’m going to write it romantic and sweet! LOL

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