I used to want someone who could understand writing and would care about my work. I’ve seen both, but never together – it seems like when somebody decides they understand what it is to be a writer, anybody elses work becomes meaningless alongside their greatness.
Which is quite miserable, really – so high-five to us empathetic souls who care about those around us, learning from them and listening to them, and are not afraid to view the flaws in our own writing. Sure, there’s a certain amount of confidence involved, but I’d still call angst over ego as the sign of a good writer.
Lately, I’ve been caught up in this fantasy that writers are meant to be with writers – if you look at famous authors, they always seem to have a less-successful spouse in tow. Because that way, they can be understood. And I wanted so dearly to be understood.
But the truth of it is that, as (eccentric, erratic and arguably insane) humans, our minds are unique and fucked-up, dark and dirty and fascinating – and anyone who claims to understand that is either basing it off their own experiences as a dark-hearted author, or making it up because they think they’re smart. Aaaand I hate to break it to you, but most come under the latter category.
I embrace the fact that my messed-up, hormonal self is far beyond any real understanding (without lengthy explanations after hours of analytical self-examination from myself, and even those don’t really make too much sense).
And I know now that it is better to have someone who cares about your work – someone who will help you with research, listen to your ramblings, and be there for hot drinks and hugs when you’re feeling existential – as opposed to some up-themselves want-to-be-Kerouac who can give you an explanation of literary minimalism quoted straight from wikipedia, debate the beauty of adverbs and never really be there at all.
What matters is having someone who cares.
(I love you, Dave.)