Sometimes people ask me what it is like to live with another writer. I never have an answer for this because I don’t know what it’s like to live with a non-writer, at least one that doesn’t have four feet. (I have a lot of experience living with those. Future blog post!) But I will give an answer to the question a whirl by documenting an illustrative half-hour in our home. Beware: there is moaning. There is complaining. There is whining (hint: whiners have more than two feet). But SPOILER: there are also snacks. Nb that every human in the story is in pajamas*, even though this half-hour takes place at a shocking distance from sunrise.
I better start by saying that Writer Number One (hint: me) gets up at the crack of dawn every single day with a song in her heart, ready for productivity.** On this particular day at dawn I knew I ought to get my act together and write but like most days, I said no thank you please what else can I do productive? HOW ABOUT MY TAXES? Yes, I did tax prep to avoid writing. And now it is already ten a.m. and I have not typed a word. I am also exhausted from all that shocking addition and why isn’t Writer Number Two around yet? I need to talk to him! I can’t write until I have! I am full of Important Topics like is Daft Punk one person or the whole band! But even from here I can hear the productive clacky-clack of his computer keys and it makes me question my love for Writer Number Two, you guys. It really does.
There is moaning. It is me. I decide I am sad because I am starving and what I need is something healthful. I choose a cookie. I JUST DID MY TAXES YOU PEOPLE.
Munch munch munch. Munch. (Snack!) I am full of despair and blinky-eyed from math. Maybe I should shower. I dismiss this idea immediately because it’s freezing in here and what do I want to be, a human popsicle?
Wait! What’s that? An opening door? Yes! It is! WNT***!
“I can’t WRIIIII—iiite!” WNO (still abbreviating) moans to him without even saying hello or good morning first. He turns to me with the wild eyes and hair that only a Red-Bull-fueled night can inspire (yes, you all, Red Bull is his secret sin and also the secret to all that blarping clacky-clack) and says perfunctorily, “I’m so sorry, honey,” and dashes away to start up the clacky-clack again. I resist the swell of dislike that rises in my heart and force myself to be GLAD FOR HIM, GLAD I TELL YOU, IS IT NOT SUPER THAT HE IS ABLE TO WORK SO WELL RIGHT NOW GLAD.
I slouch back into where my computer is. The dogs decide nothing is more interesting but to be where I am and they all whine at the door and scratch and of course I let them in because I love them sooooo much.
What if I had been better at science when I was in high school? Then I could have been an astronaut like I really wanted instead of this writer nonsense. The dogs decide there is nothing more boring than being in here with the Lady and scratch and whine to leave. I let them out because I love them soooooo much. Obviously now I have to check my email two hundred times in the space of three minutes because I love email. It reminds me of passing notes in school, which is what we did before texting, kids, and wait! Yes! Maybe I should text someone! But I have nothing to say, which is why I am in this fix in the first place, really, isn’t it.
Whine. Scratch. I let the dogs in again. They come to understand that the Lady will not be passing out snacks and they whine to leave. I let them out.
Now I succumb to my basest self and play Candy Crush**** until I am filled with enough self-disgust that I get out my outline (yep, I start with an outline; plotting is a doozy for me so I have to do it first or I play even more Candy Crush) and think about typing.
Guess who realizes that the Lady is still in here? Yep! Whine whine whine come in oh wait still boring y’all no snacks let’s whine to leave. Oh my Lord this goes on and on and I fall for it every time because I am not that swift or am an easy touch, one or the other, because sometimes I do pass out snacks and this is all better than writing, I can tell you that.
But now I am mad. I am not proud of it but I am. I am so mad that I poke with one forefinger at my computer. Poke. Poke poke poke. Poke! POKEY POKEY POKEY I HAVE TRICKED MYSELF INTO WRITING AT LAST! But lo, what is this? WNT is done working and wants to talk! About Important Topics, not like is Daft Punk one person or the whole group but about things like Politics and The Nature of Humanity. If this had been the first five minutes of my pokey-poke typing I would have been happy to be distracted but since I have got over the five-minute hump I will have none of it. No chatting and no downers allowed once I am over the Hump of Five Minutes. Pokey pokey pokey!
Life goes on in this merry dance of I WANT TO BOTHER YOU NO YOU CANNOT BOTHER ME depending on who is productive and who is loathing the other person for their (okay, his) productivity until that sweet moment when both WNO and WNT have either given up OR one is done and the other is going to write later, far into the night (Red Bull). Productivity has warmed WNO’s icy heart at last and she is back in love with WNT and they sit down for a cozy episode of Project Runway Junior.
And that is about the size of it, everybody. That is what it is like to live with a writer, esp. when one is me. Lots of pajamas. Lots of cookies. Too many dogs. Not enough productivity. WNT.
It is all pretty okay.
*I take my pajamas very seriously because, you know, work clothes. I always wear complete suits with jacket and pants because I love them and they make me feel like I am the star of I Love Lucy. My exception is a treasured pair of UGA jammie pants that my sister gave me which I pair (fashion language! I pair things!) with an old holey sweater because my beloved Gymdogs deserve to be represented on my writerly hindquarters, too.
**The song may or may not be partially inspired by a lot of coffee. Regardless, because I am tone-deaf, the song is not a pretty one. But it is cheerful cheerful cheerful!
***Writer Number Two. I am taking to abbreviating.
****Jan Sasser, I am sorry.