I’ve seen a lot of back-and-forth here lately about the merits and drawbacks of dating a writer. Whether it’s good or bad, whether it will end well or poorly for those involved. And, well, I don’t know. I really don’t. I am a writer. I’ve never dated one. That would be a bad idea.
I can’t tell you whether dating a writer is a good or bad idea. All I can say with any certainty is what, roughly, will happen to you if you love a writer.
Love a writer, and you love a wondrous, broken, fragile thing. A creature who has with their own two hands pulled down those structures protecting them from the outside world, in order to better see it, feel it, capture it. They had to, but sometimes that means that the world is too big, too loud, too bright, too close. Sometimes they have to shut it all out. Sometimes, that will include you – don’t take it personally. Sometimes, though, it won’t include you. Sometimes, they’ll shut everything else out with you on the inside. Take that personally. It’s a big deal.
Love a writer, and yes, every day will be something different. Some days dishes won’t get washed and sweatpants won’t get changed out of and conversation will be in short supply. Some days are procrastination days – these days are for spring- (or fall- or summer- or winter-) cleaning and grocery shopping and god-please-just-anything-but-writing. Use these days to your advantage. They can be fun. Some days are writer’s-block days. These are days to duck and cover. Believe me, they are sorry, or they will be eventually.
Love a writer, and you’re signing up to have an opinion about everything. Plot lines and plot holes and plot bunnies, character concepts and character development and character names, or imagery or rhyme schemes or references. If you have an opinion, offer it. If not, well, secretly they don’t always need you to actually have an opinion. There will be days when they just need to talk. About everything. Possibly twice. These are days when everything gets trapped up in their heads and something’s clogged between the head and the pen and the only other option is it comes spewing out their mouth. Sometimes brains just need an external hard drive. Listen. Nod. It’ll be okay.
But more than all that, more than anything, be loved by a writer. Because it’s true when they say that you’ll never die. Whether you know it or not, whether they know it or not, some part of you will get written down eventually. You’ll be somebody’s back-story or somebody’s someday or, heaven help you, a real proper character. Some part of your self will live on in their words until never dawns – but that isn’t the best bit. The best bit is that you will be known. Memorized. Understood, probably more than at any other time in your life. A writer trains their mind to create three-dimensional people, people who have flaws and motivations and backgrounds and demons, so a writer understands that people are three-dimensional. Lots of folks trip through this life only ever seeing shadows and obstacles and step stools and stereotypes and their own reflections – a writer doesn’t have that luxury. A writer knows that real people can’t exist within expectations and on top of pedestals; they will always, always fall.
Be loved by a writer, and you will be understood, even if only because they know just enough to know that they will never, quite, fully, understand you.