"So you live with a writer; that must be exciting!"


Look at that paint dry!

My hubby had someone say this once. Any writers following this blog are now snickering.

We're not exciting. We're boring as H-E-Double Hockey Sticks. We hide in our little writing corners of the world, we don't go out, we don't want to share our work in progress, we resent interruptions and we don't succeed nearly as much or as often as we want to. Sometimes we're just a blank face doing nothing but waiting for the next sentence to appear on the screen, fingers poised over the keyboard.

Living with that is like staring at a clock. Tick, tick, tick.

Granted, we do go off. Little alarms beep--oooh, something worth getting up for is happening. No, they decided to pass. Snooze.

Mostly we just do this: write words we hope someone we don't know will read. That's weird, don't you think?

My husband reads tons. He's an information junkie and my original newsfeed, offering up digestible pieces of knowledge from the newspaper, TV news and interweb surfing. Sometimes he just drags me over to watch Jimmy Kimmel on YouTube (Handsome Men's Club is quite amusing.) One time, however, he told me he saw a program where the show's host was being guided through Africa and 'dreaded meeting any new tribes.'

It seems every time they did, everyone sat down for a big jaw wag covering which pools of water were still standing, what game was here or there. The details the traveler imparted could mean life or death for that tribe--literally--so everyone paid attention.

This is the basis of storytelling. It splinters into oral history--how the great tribesman slayed the rhino and saved his people--which is good info to have when you meet a rhino. Then it morphs into fictional morality tales, Can't we all just get along? Because I can't be fighting with you, man. I gotta focus on the rhinos. And finally we come to modern fiction.

What is today's society taking away from, say, Avatar? Well, you want to know what to do if you fall in love with a much larger blue woman on a planet that's being destroyed, don't you? No, it's a morality tale, which rewards good ethics by offering love which is a version of eternal life (See my post on why I write romance.)

Plus, guys all secretly wish they were McGiver. Action flicks assure them that if they were in a tight spot, and being charged by a giant rhino-beetle insect monster, they could rise to the occasion with their collective action flick knowledge and save their spock-ear-wearing friends.

Which is exciting to watch as well as emotionally reassuring and educational.

I think what we can take away from this is that the end product of a writer's efforts can be worthwhile, informative, interesting and yes, even life affecting. Watching them put it together? Not so much.