Living With a Writer
I stared into the darkness of my bedroom last night like so many nights before, and thought about what life must be like for those who live with a writer. I can’t speak for each individual writer, but I believe that as a whole, this pretty much nails it.
Writers may always be there, especially those who are lucky enough to make writing a full time career. They’re always there, in the bedroom or the office or on the patio; wherever it is they hole up and weave worlds. But are they really there? If you talk to them, do they listen? Do they hear you? When you sit down to dinner and make conversation, is their heart really in it? In many cases, for me at least, the answer is no. They’re not always there. Not 100%.
So if writers aren’t there, where are they? Where is their mind that they can’t give the people they love the most their undivided attention? The answer is – they’re lost. In another time, another place, another galaxy, another plane of existence altogether. They’re off living another life. They haven’t forgotten about you. But they’ve became so deeply engrossed in this other world that they’ve created, so mesmerized by all that they’ve found there, that it consumes them entirely. They’re constantly thinking of new ways to torture people, different ways to describe the same thing so as to not be redundant, obstacles to be thrown out and how to overcome them, and details. Always with the details. They’re wondering if they’ve forgotten something vital to the story, if every word is perfect, if the tension is tense enough and the drama is dramatic enough. Sure, they may carry on a conversation with you, but their mind is elsewhere. And it isn’t their fault. You can’t blame them for doing what they do. It’s part of the job.
And where does that leave the family of writers? Lurking nearby, waiting for that small window of opportunity between stories where they can get not all but most of our attention for however long they can. We can’t ever give our loved ones every ounce of our attention, because there’s always a story calling to us, demanding to be written, screaming at us to get it and get it out NOW. But we do what we can. And considering the constant chaos in our heads, I think we do a pretty good job of balancing the world in which we live and the worlds which we create.