“Writers are never fully present because they’re always imagining a different version of the way things are happening; imagining the past in a different way, imagining the present in a different way, imagining the future in a different way.”—Jessica Soffer, author of TOMORROW THERE WILL BE APRICOTS.
if you date a man who writes
If you date a man who writes, be prepared.
Prepare for the days and nights he’ll ignore your text messages because he’s right on the brink of the right word. You’ll find him bent over in his chair and his face in his hands. You’ll get the first word out before he shushes you. “I’m SO close!” he’ll plead. Then you’ll notice the phone-shaped dent in the wall. The back will have popped off and the batteries will have popped out of his ancient Nokia.
Prepare for him to lose track of his facial hair.
You’ll probably walk in on him with shaving cream still on his face because he got an idea mid-shave.
Be prepared for the long nights filled with clacking and the electronic glare on your eyelids keeping you awake. Until you finally surrender, take a pillow, and crash on the couch.
Be prepared for the possibility that he won’t even notice you left.
There will be times - so many times - that he’ll slump into a deep depression. “I’m all washed up,” he’ll say. “There’s nothing new to write,” he’ll say. And you’ll cheer him up. And sometimes you’ll just try.
If you date a man who writes, also be prepared for the seemingly random moments when you think he’s forgotten you on the couch which you crashed that he comes out, and carries you back to bed, covers you up and kisses you. And when you wake up, he’s made you pancakes and waffles with that favorite fruit syrup you like or chocolate chips.
Prepare for him to drop everything and take care of you when you’re sick. To the point of ridiculousness. “I don’t feel so bad, honey,” you’ll say.
“With a temperature of a hundred-and-one for five straight days, I highly doubt that. Get back in bed, missy.”
“Make me!” you’ll shoot back.
And then he will.
But best of all, he’ll write about you and for you. Forever and ever. He’ll weave your hairs in words out of his unexpected introspection. He’ll paint your face and eyes and cheeks in different shades of black ink. Keep copies and scribbles that you’ll only get a glimpse of when he leaves the frantically scribbled sticky note on the fridge door.
Something that doesn’t make any sense to you out of context, but rolls of the mind and tongue like a marble down a slide.
And he’ll hiss, “No, it’s just not ready yet!” as he snatches it away.
And be prepared for him to love you tenderly. Slowly and gently so he can absorb every inch and second of skin and senses. You’ll be short of breath and he’ll be trembling for you.
And you’ll both ache in the morning.
So be prepared for when you date a writer. Prepare yourself and weigh your options. Because it may just be atmosphere and romanticism of it all that kindled your desire, and if it’s not, he’ll make it so.
When it seems like you'll never become a "Writer"
1. You are a writer. You write letters or you journal or you write the beginning of a novel that goes absolutely no where. But you play with words and you do it often — how could you not be a writer?
2. You’re young. Or you’re old. Or you’re living in a hazy middle. No age is the absolute best perfect age for writing.
3. Stopping now would be ludicrous. Because you still secretly enjoy it. Because you’re in too deep. Because you can’t let down the little voice of your 9-year-old self when he said that he wanted to be a writer for the first time. Continuing may not feel good, but stopping would feel at least 67,485 times worse.
4. Figure out how to see the poetry in the every day again. Move to a new neighborhood. Try on a new city. Name at least 10 different shades of green on your walk to work. Habit saps the art out of places — shake things up.
5. If you’re worried about people actually reading your stuff, start with one person. Then another. Sift your name through as many meshy little worlds as you can. Read as much of other people’s stuff as you can. Tell them you like it or that you don’t like it or that you don’t agree, but start a conversation.
6. If you’re going through a slump, put down the pen, pick up the novels of your favorite artists. Devour Woolf and Didion and Atwood, whomever makes your fingers itch. Read whatever evokes language out of you. That’s the key and maybe the only thing that makes it possible to keep going, even when it seems impossible.