Wednesday, 25 June 2014

A Strange Combination

Perfect Writer's Spouse
In many ways, the Butler is the perfect spouse for a writer.  Besides the fact that he does all the cooking, he’s also an incurable info junkie.

So imagine this.

You write realistically, value getting your facts straight.  Your next scene involves stalking someone through the streets of Paris (you live in North Yorkshire), then kidnapping and drugging the target, followed by psychologically informed torture interrogation.

Hours of research? 

Nope.  I go on writing, my needs submitted to the Butler.  Not only does he get to feed his habit, he later gets to tie me up so we can see exactly how much mobility the kidnap victim has.

The downside to the Butler as a writer’s spouse is that his professional world has a different social etiquette than mine.  Basically, he thinks writers should be treated better.

What’s bad about that?  Well, in order to survive emotionally as a writer, it’s not helpful to be told you’re a marginalised aspect of the overall process, because you can’t really opt out.  A writer will write regardless.  In fact, in my highly ill informed view, writers (and other artists) have a different way of perceiving and processing information in their environment than let’s say, someone with a  scientific approach to their world. 

A writer can say, ‘I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore,’ stop putting pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, but the brain’s still going to be working in the way a writer’s brain works.  End result => less emotional equilibrium than when you were a mistreated, undervalued artist.

The writing life
Those of us who continue to write and get rejected, ignored at best, publicly ridiculed at worst, who have learned to thrive on the slightest bit of encouragement . . . imagine what that says about us.  If I had a client who presented in that manner, we’d be doing some very serious self esteem work.

Here’s the thing that amazes me.  A writer must be acutely aware of her environment, the emotional interplays and sensitivities of people, yet be tough as fried horsemeat about whatever return she gets for her work. 

I think that’s the strangest combination in the world.  I’m not sure I understand it, even as I live it.  Do you have thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. As an "artist"... a writer, an actor, a filmmaker, a photographer, a composer, a singer, a musician.... I've often considered what a glutton for punishment that makes me. I pour MY SELF into these various works, present them, and then stand by for the beating that will be inflicted in the name of critical commentary. I hate it. Yet, I keep coming back for more. Such is the "life" of the artist. I appreciate why Van Gogh became so depressed he mutilated himself.