I’m tempted to ask, “What relationships?”
Because while I’m writing, I’m pretty much isolated. Well, no. I have a lot of company, but most of the people I hang out with aren’t real to anyone but me. They’re made up. Make believe. And, for the weeks and months that it takes to write a book, they dominate my mind, pushing aside mostly everyone else.
Fortunately, the real people who are closest to me accept that I can be quite distracted. The kids got it early on that, when mom was in her office, they could get away with most anything. Many times they’d interrupt while I was right in the middle of a murder or a harrowing narrow escape, and they had to wait a few moments for me to refocus. I don’t think it ruined their lives to wait those moments; they knew they were the Most Important People in the World. It’s just that, when I was in the office writing, I wasn’t always grounded in that World.
And my husband? His encouragement has been unfailing. Which is good for our relationship because, well, remember that old saying: If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy? Wisely, he encourages this Mama to do what makes her happy. He reads and comments on my work, shares his thoughts, helps me work out snafus.
Beyond that, my writing has brought us closer in unexpected ways. In fact, so close that I actually became him, or he became me, when I ghostwrote a book under his name. Who knew that the man would end up on a 21-day book tour, appearing on radio and television, being interviewed by newspapers all over the country as the talented and hilarious author of I LOVE HER, BUT… The man became a media sensation, accepting the credit on the surface, but, even as I simmered jealously, it wasn’t lost on me how generously, supportively and uncomplainingly he took those weeks away from his own career to promote mine.
Overall, though, writing has a profound effect on my relationships because I’m much better at them when I’m writing. Much of my unsettled dark energy is released into the work, woven into plots and thrust upon fictional characters. So that, having wreaked havoc all day on my computer, I can conduct relationships with the real live people I love in peace. Usually…
Liars Club member Merry Jones is the author of the Zoe Hayes mysteries, including The Nanny Murders, The River Killings, The Deadly Neighbors and The Borrowed and Blue Murders. She has also written humor, including I Love Him, But… and If She Weren’t My Best Friend, I’d Kill Her, and non-fiction, including Birthmothers: Women who relinquished babies for adoption tell their stories.
What about you? Has writing affected your personal relationships? Share your comments!