shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


guilt is the greatest gift

(In other words, in our house, it's mostly a reminder that you aren't writing, when the other one is.) The best of the "writing couples" articles I've seen is in today's Sydney Morning Herald.

Notable in the piece is the cautionary tale of Jonathan Franzen and Kathryn Chetkovich, but the Louis Nowra and Mandy Sayer bits were most interesting to me:

They prefer to keep their two apartments, which have different uses. "Louis's place is virtually just a library where I keep a few ballgowns," Sayer says, "whereas mine has flowers, light, antiques, a piano. We sleep and eat at my place - Louis cooks, I wash up."

They keep their finances as separate as their domesticity. "It avoids the humdrum of the everyday creeping in; it keeps things more exciting." Nowra says. "Besides, we have very different tastes: she loves jazz, I'm more eclectic. I get up early, she gets up late. Our writerly sensibilities are completely different, too: she loves Richard Ford, Paul Auster and Hemingway, whilst I love Collette, Proust and Nabokov."


Nowra can remember the moment he fell for Sayer: "We were editing our Kings Cross anthology together and as I went to our usual meeting place - a restaurant - I passed Mandy sitting alone in a coffee shop bent over some proofs or pages she was correcting and her intense concentration in what she was doing was, for some reason, extraordinarily erotic. I guess only a fellow writer would think that."

Yet Sayer was wary. "I had been married to a writer before (the poet Yusef Komunyakaa) and when that ended, I put a moratorium on all writers. Now I just tell Louis that I am working my way through the genres and that my next husband will be a songwriter," she laughs.

Here at Casa Bond/Rowe, we'd probably benefit from more of the competitive rivalry that's referenced in the article, since we'd both work more. Our new writing group is having the same effect though. It's always a delicate question of when your work is ready to be read -- I often want someone to read mine before it's ready, because it helps me get distance from it, whereas Christopher wants his read right away and his first drafts are usually pretty close to finished. Sometimes you don't want the critical eye, just the eye. (I do write more, which is a comfort. But it probably averages out since I also rewrite more.) I think it helps that our work is so different, though that can create its own challenges -- my nearly done first book is a young adult novel. Christopher hates teenagers (yes, all of them), in life and in fiction, but has always had helpful things to say about the book anyway. I have no illusions it's what he'd choose to read. Another good thing is being able to capitalize on the other person's strengths; he's much better at the marketing thing than I am, at getting work out the door and in the mail (though I've written so few short stories, I've not really taken advantage of this), which is another kind of help. (Those three years spent writing exclusively scripts, hey, I learned structure and still need to market them.)

The best thing though is having someone to cheer all the little victories with, who understands why they're worth cheering, even if they're small.

(Thanks, Justine!)

Off to ride bikes and finish collecting birthday presents for Certain People.

worm "The Set-up," Mission of Burma

namecheck Scott "New Website" Westerfeld


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