an interview with the Part-time Monk’s full-time wife
Michelle’s favorite song is probably “Stand by your Man,” but I’m not sure about that. That’s certainly been her role over the course of these 16 beery years, a role that has intensified during this Diary of a Part-time Monk side project.
For the sake of a little insight behind the scenes, I caught up with the girl known affectionately on brewvana as “Wonderful Beer Wife,” to see what she had to say about the backdrop and how it’s going.
You’ve been married to J. for over 16 years. What’s that been like?
Well, an adventure. We kind of balance each other out in some ways–yin and yang. We’ve found some fun ways to integrate both of our interests–beer and yoga. When we travel we’ll make time for both. And J.’s helped launch the perfect beer/yoga combo at my studio, Prairieland Yoga. It’s called Pints & Poses, and we gather once a month for a 90-minute yoga session, then hang out and try new beers together.
What was the first thought that crossed your mind when he approached you about this project?
At first I thought it was crazy–why would an underweight, scrawny guy like J. want to fast? I was concerned that he would have some serious adverse health effects. J.’s a renaissance man with a lot of creative, multi-faceted ideas–so part of me didn’t realize how serious he was until he kicked the research into full swing. Then I got really scared–Oh my God, he’s seriously going to do this. Then, he shared the research findings with me and I began to understand that this was an historical project with spiritual implications. I decided to get on board–resist or support?
Is this guy really a family man? How does that work out with his beer fetish?
J. really does put his family first. True, we have planned more than one family vacation around a cool brewery destination–but it balances out with one-on-one time with me and the boys. We explore together.
How’s the fast going? How’s his home functioning? Any big changes?
It’s actually been going much better than I expected. His energy level is surprisingly high on most days–it’s not uncommon to see him playing some serious air guitar or wrestling with the boys.
Is he drunk all the time?
Not at all. I haven’t ever seen him even tipsy during this gig. He’s been very conscientious, especially because of the spotlight on him.
What’s been the biggest adjustment during this time?
The time and energy it has taken for him to document his day to day experiences. Also, the media coverage has added to his daily responsibilities. It’s almost like a second job for him.
How’s the book, the writing, seem to be going?
Really well, it seems. I’m looking forward to reading the rough draft. The insight from his stay at Conception Abbey brought tears to my eyes–really deep.
What’s mealtime like at the Wilson household?
This might be the biggest change for us. We typically cook dinner together as a family, then sit down at the dining room table to eat. During the fast, J. will usually spend the dinnertime in his pub/office, reading and studying. I miss that element of family time and look forward to cooking together again.
Yeah, his re-entry plan is concerning–a bacon smoothie–come on! Seriously, he’s thought this whole plan out pretty well so far, but the meal plans post-fast are a little concern. Not sure his stomach will like the chips and guacamole on Day One.