7 Reasons You Should Marry a Fellow Writer
- By Tara Laskowski
- April 13, 2015
Why scribes belong together
My husband, Art Taylor, and I talk about a lot of things. Most are along the lines of "What’s for dinner?" or "Need to clean up the cat vomit." However, when we're not navigating the day-to-day chores of life, we talk about short fiction. And that's why we're here.
To celebrate this new column (which Art and I will alternate writing), I’ve decided to list all the reasons it’s nice to be married to a fellow writer. Maybe you've never dated a writer because you're worried it would lead to nasty competition, simmering jealousy, or ego trips. Maybe you find writers weird or socially awkward. Or maybe you're concerned you'd never have enough bookshelf space.
Well, I'm here to tell you that it’s actually wonderful to have a partner who’s also a writer. Here’s why:
- At social gatherings, you're never just the tag-a-long. I always felt bad for the non-author partners of my friends in graduate school. While all the MFA-ers were arguing about Jonathan Franzen's place in the canon, their dates were chewing on their fingernails and praying for it all to end. Also, attending literary events with your writer partner can pay off. Even though Art and I run in different writing circles, we still benefit from each other's contacts. When we attended the Malice Domestic mystery writer's conference a few years back, I made a contact over cocktails that eventually helped me land a piece in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. High fives!
- You can do nerdy literary things. Like name your child “Dashiell” and be giddy when strangers get the reference. Or have a literary-themed wedding with library-card invitations. Or read aloud all of the Sherlock Holmes stories, laminate your hardcovers with that plastic stuff libraries use, and nibble your pancakes into the shape of modernist novelists’ heads. (Okay, I’m making up the last one, although I’d like to see Art’s version of Virginia Woolf.)
- There’s always a supply of index cards in the car. I cannot tell you how many times we've been driving on long road trips, when suddenly Art will ask, "Hey, can you grab an index card and write this down for me? Bank scene, asparagus. Red flag. Scraped chin." And I do it. No questions asked.
- You have someone to read your first drafts. Even in a classroom of writers or an online forum, you can spend a very long time finding someone who gets your writing. Some people never find that person. So if you do…well, marry them. Imagine how gratifying it is to finish up something you're really excited about it, run into the next room, drop it in your partner’s lap, and say, "Read it! Now!" and they do. That's true love.
- They understand your need to write. This gets particularly important when kids enter the mix. When our son, Dash, was born, one of the first things we talked about (besides, "Is his poop supposed to be that color?") was how we wanted to make writing a priority. Within a week of Dash’s birth, I remember taking an exhausted 30-minute break at Starbucks to write maybe two paragraphs. But it was important to me. And it was important to Art. It helps.
- Listening to other people's conversations becomes a group activity. It's always fun as writers to catch snippets of what others are saying. The challenge is deciding who gets first dibs on using them in a story. (Usually, the winner is the one who remembered to bring index cards.)
- When you’re asked to do a column for the Washington Independent Review of Books and feel kind of swamped but also intrigued, they agree to share the load so your deadlines are spread out. 'Nuf said.
Tara Laskowski, whose story collection Bystanders will be published by Santa Fe Writers Project in 2016, earned an MFA from George Mason University. She is editor of SmokeLong Quarterly and author of Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons.