It’s time for our wearied lovers to stop listing the dozens of reasons why dating a writer is somehow noble; acting as if their side of the relationship is beneficial, or even occasionally pleasant. We as writers should be singing the praises of the incomprehensibly loving, eternally patient people insane enough to date us. Those who do so not out of the desire for poetic payoff or to live out some sort of bohemian muse fantasy frequently seen in French films. The ones who starve with us as we translate our fifty-dollar freelance paycheck into packets of ramen and cans of watered-down broth. Who act as our permanently unpaid editorial interns without any expectation of acknowledgement.
Let’s raise our glasses of Brooklyn well whiskey to the people who stay with us because they believe in the ability of our writing when no one else does, when there’s no proof that anyone ever will. Who accept a slam of the door in the face with a knowing smile, who don’t attempt to puncture our facade of a creative process, who let us drink until we can’t stand and until they can barely stand us. Who willingly accept the position of second place in our lives, losing out to a decrepit, barely-functioning typewriter and an abstract, half-formed idea that we still think is worth more than the dinner they’ve labored over. Who understand that writing is simultaneously the most selfish and the most solitary profession and that sometimes, there will not be room for them.
The ones that matter are the ones who know all this and choose to stay.
These are the people worth being with, worth writing for but never about. I love those who love me too much to write about them, to expose them at their worst because their most vulnerable moments make for a convenient arc in my story.
These are the people who have loved me enough to be honest with me about my writing, about what’s worth continuing and what should be discarded. Who have convinced me that sacrificing the fabricated integrity of what I once believed to be some sort of sacred act so we could have enough to eat is an act of survival, not of selling out.
Nothing I write can ever express the enormous, overwhelming sense of gratitude I feel for them, marred only slightly by a sense of pity. If every line I’ve published has been for me, every line I’ve thrown away has been for them, because I knew it wasn’t up to their standards, wouldn’t make them proud, would maybe even make them ashamed. To the ones who linger, willingly rendered invisible in the margins of my page: you are the ones truly deserving of the love you knowingly, selflessly, misdirect towards me.