Last night while I sat down to work on my new novel I had a serious conversation with my heroine Florentine. She is a lovely young woman who deserves a loving man at her side but guess what, she fell in love with a writer. Here we were, both of us, creation and creator, me knowing a lot about writers, she nothing at all.
I can understand that she has this romantic thing about him and is most impressed by how he handles words. And I’m not sure if she’s more in love with his writing than with him but hell, no matter what, I told her there’s a million reasons why you shouldn’t get involved with a writer.
First of all
writing is a relationship.
If you are a devoted writer who started inventing characters and stories before you could even recite the alphabet chances are
writing is the love of your life.
Like any relationship, writing at times needs your complete attention.
Being with a writer means he’ll be going into seclusion, not answering phones, mails and the door bell. He might even pack a few things and leave for a lonely place to write. And even if he doesn’t pull the big disappearing act he will still be so immersed in his story and the characters that he’ll suddenly jump of his chair while having dinner to write down an idea, a sentence or – if it gets really bad – a whole chapter. He’ll sit up straight in bed in the middle of the night and you, lying next to him, will be torn from lovely slumber by the lights going on in the bedroom and the hectic klicking on the keyboard or the scratching of a pencil on paper (and possibly him muttering).
Loving a writer means you’ll always have to share him with his characters. They will sit with him at the table or on the sofa, they will trot along on the walk, sing with him under the shower and lie down next to him in bed.
There will be conversations in which he says something like “oh, Matt would now say…” and all your friends will look puzzled until one dares to ask “who is Matt?” Well, it’s his leading man in the story he is writing.
So, I told my lovely Florentine, if you get involved with a writer you’ll be left on your own a lot. You will have to learn to live with missing him. You’ll have to find a way to deal with him living always completely in the moment and focussing solely on what is right in front of him. There’ll be moments in which that is you, yes, but there’ll be many others in which that is the words on the screen.
Guess what she answered?
Florentione rolled her eyes and said to me “just because YOU are that way doesn’t mean every writer is”. Then she put on some lipstick and went out to dinner with the writer.
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