Ha, ha! Yup, zombie family. When I saw these, I thought that they were hilarious and had to have them, and as far as I have seen, we are the only family in our area to sport these nifty little decals of our un-dead family members. Anyway, The purpose of this post is not really about the decals, but a conversation that they sparked with a friend of mine when she saw them. It went something like this:
Friend: Oh, my god. How did you convince your wife to let you put those on your car?
Me: Convince her? She's the one that put them on!
Friend: Really? Is she a writer too?
That's what got me. Why would she naturally assume that I had to beg my wife to display these slightly unusual, but extremely funny, stickers on the family car? And then, upon finding out that my wife had no problem with it, assumed that my wife must be just as "weird" as I am. Then it hit me. Even though this person and I have been friends for years, she still held various beliefs about me, and writers in general, that are not necessarily true. While I have come to expect this from most non-writing people, I didn't expect it from someone who has known me for so long.
We all know the stereotypes associated with writers. They are all reclusive. They're all alcoholics or drug addicts. They all have some sort of mental or emotional problems that prevent them from obtaining "real" employment. They drink coffee by the gallon and chain smoke in dimly lit rooms, bent over keyboards banging out prose that could only emanate from a highly warped, but brilliant mind. (This seems especially true of horror/thriller writers.) What I didn't realize is that, along with the pre-conceived notions that people have about writers, there is an equal amount applied to a writer's spouse. How strong they must be to deal with all of our peculiarities.
Author Wendy Paine Miller posted a very humorous post on her blog to suggest a "Spouses of Writers" support group (Probably a good idea by the way, and you can read it here), which got me to thinking about all of the trials and tribulations that my wife endures for my work. While I do not fit all of the stereotypes about writers (only most of them), I will admit that my wife sacrifices a lot for my art. I suppose I should express my gratitude a little more often, and THAT is the real point of this post. To thank, not only my wife, but all of the spouses of writers that stand firm and endure everything from our obsession and excitement of that first story idea, to the extreme low when we think that everything we've worked on for months is complete crap, to the elation we feel at finishing the first draft. They faithfully stand beside us, mostly silently, pulling us back from our ego-maniacal certainty that we are the most talented writer since Twain, to the maddening depression that we go through when we realise that we are not so special after all.
So, here is my public "Thank you" to my spouse, as well as yours, or whoever it is that supports you in your work. Without them, the road we walk from idea to finished product would be much harder to navigate.