Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Passion ReDux

Sharon Wildwind

Let's try this again.

Writing forces a passion, squeezes out a life of its own. It has to because the externals—money, fame, maybe even good common sense—are often not there. I've lost count of the number of books in which the author ends the acknowledgments by thanking her family for putting up with dirty laundry, too many pizza take-outs, and weeks of being somewhere else, a.k.a. lost in an imaginary world.

Mystery writers who are fortunate live in families who somehow comprehend that wandering through the house at 1:00 in the morning, asking anyone still awake how to spell "marmalade" is normal; that stabbing a raw chicken with a stiletto to see how much pressure it takes to puncture the skin is a perfectly rational act, and they don’t fret too much about where we acquired a stiletto in the first place. They become accustomed to seeing e-mail lying around with subject lines such as “My thoughts on exotic poisons,” or “10 basic rules of car-jacking.” They accept imaginary characters at dinner, as log as those characters don’t insist on recounting detail-by-detail autopsies between the soup and the main course.

Loving family members go to great lengths to encourage our writing. When I declared that I wanted to turn writing from a serious hobby into a business, the first thing my husband did was take a cooking class called, “Men Get a Life: Learn to Cook.” He now proudly boasts, “I can cook supper. I’ve had special training.”

I propose that we, as writers, should have an annual Writers Celebrate Their Families day. On that day we should shut down our word processors and do something nice for those wonderfully supportive people with whom we live. Unless, of course, we are on deadline, in which case, it will have to wait, but we’ll get to it just as soon as we surface. Promise.

I think July 12 would be a good day for WCTF. Why July 12? Because on July 12, 1965 Snoopy dragged a portable typewriter to his dog house for the first time, sat down, and typed those immortal words, “It was a dark and stormy night. . .”

I’ve got a writing quote this week, but not a source to attribute it to because my list of quotes, like the rest of my life, is on my now-defunct hard drive. The quote is, “I loved the time when my husband, a writer, came out of his office and asked, ‘Have we had Easter yet?’ It was July at the time.” Just as soon as I get my new computer and my salvaged hard drive back—which should be some time at the end of this week or the beginning of next—I’ll be able to attribute that quote to the person who said it.


Lonnie Cruse said...


Loved the post, and looking forward to seeing you back full time with us very soon.

Lonnie/PS Snoopy is my authorly hero!

catherine said...

Since this is my first SERIOUS undertaking of writing a novel--Alison Kent's Seventy Days of Sweat--my poor family's about to learn what so many others have known for years about the hardships of loving a writer. I hope they don't kill me before I finish the book!