Thursday, February 09, 2006

Writing can be a lonely process - but you need people!

I laugh at the stereotype that writers hide themselves away and don't interact with people. If you didn't like watching people, listening to people or interacting with people you couldn't be a writer. I suppose the other side of the argument is that when you are focussed on the writing, you get so immersed that for a period of time (or multiple periods of time) you feel like cloistering yourself away and not really having much to do with anyone that isn't part of your writing. (Hey ... the adult version of the imaginary friend is actually the fictional character.)
"Writers have the fun of living in the make believe world long after childhood is finished."
When your writing world collides with your mundane world, it can be scary too. I have a friend I absolutely adore. Elizabeth is a writer and our relationship has always been one where there is lots of space. We both cherish the friendship highly and consider each other the closest of friends. We understand of one another that we are often living inside our latest projects or inside our heads. Yet when we pop out of our little creative worlds the friendship is there as close as ever.

We had a lovely experience tonight when Stu and I were out doing our late night shopping at the local centre ... and there was Elizabeth and her James doing the same thing. It was quite strange sharing the shopping centre and doing something so 'everyday' with this friend. It was so exciting to see each other (having been living in our 'projects' lately). Our guys had the opportunity to knowingly nod at each other understanding that they both so know what it is like to live with someone who is a writer (it is not easy by any means). Elizabeth and I had an opportunity to talk quickly and release a few ideas from our heads ... and not move on down the aisle until a date was set for our next long coffee together ... It reminded me of when we were PhD students together. Our life was our work, but our relief was our friendship.
It is special to have a friendship where there is space to be in your writer's world - then when you pop out (even if just to do the weekly shopping!) - there they are: Full of understanding of where you are, who you are and smiling a really lovely warm smile that tells you they are truly a good friend. Writers need people. Especially people who provide you space and respect to do really good work.

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