In Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell identifies many factors that contribute to an individual’s success. One of them—a standout—is that no one succeeds alone; meaning, everyone has someone who helps him or her out along the way. For writers this is perhaps crucial. We need all kinds of help, from the peers who offer feedback to the people who offer to publish our work. For a special Valentine’s Day post, we decided to gather quotes from the people who support us about what it’s like to be close to a writer.
Darlene’s support system:
“Sometimes when Darlene is in the zone, I worry that she’ll just sit there in front of the computer screen all night (and forget dinner!!!!), so I gently (Okay, maybe not so gently) nudge her hand off the mouse.” – Mr. Artie Dog (Chief tail-wagger in charge of comic relief)
Jennie’s support system:
“Jennie has a talent and discipline for writing that is admirable and incredible. I can spend hours staring at a screen trying to come up with a funny quote or paragraph of text (like this one) and in that same time Jennie has written an entire chapter of a novel, killing off a ball point pen in the process. When she is writing at home she gives off an aura that seems to warp time and space. I dare not enter her domain of warped reality in fear of her breaking her focus and sending me back into the dark ages, like the early 90’s or something.” – Phil Mitchem (Jennie’s Fiance).
“Jennie is a marathon writer. She writes for long stretches, breaking only for the obligatory water stop. She keeps her eye on the prize and has a plan for how to cope with distracting traffic when she encounters it. And most of all, she counts her blessings when she received her medal at the end”. – Allen Gorney (member of Jennie Jarvis’ writing group)
Emilia’s support system:
“A good writer can—more often than most people—find meaning in the world. If you’re married to a writer, this is mostly a wonderful thing, but sometimes…difficult. …It’s just that sometimes (always) Emilia is one up on me.”—Tim Grant (Emilia’s husband)
Linda’s support system:
“Living with a writer means hearing all kinds of bizarre stories. And I am at risk of having my stupid moments being put in a play. Also I am always hearing quotes from plays. We have interesting dinners!” – Lynns Price (Linda’s 13 year-old stepdaughter)
“You never know what will happen next from filling in at a table reading, being a character in a staged reading, filling in as stage manager, prop gatherer, light or sound operator. I always like the times when a scene is written and I am asked “How does it sound?” But the best is at a performance when the audience obviously is enjoying the play, especially the little parts you know were taken from real life experiences. You never know if something you say or do will someday show up in a show.” – Gerry Escalera (Linda’s mom)
Brad’s support system:
“Living with a writer, and I’ll avoid the whole cliché about how I worry that my life is going to end up on the pages of his stories, is complex. On the one hand, Brad is extremely disciplined and devoted to his craft, which can be enormously satisfying to live with someone who gets to throw his whole being into something about which he is passionate. On the other hand, that means that he often spends great lengths of time in his head creating a world (at dinner, in the middle of a movie, at a cocktail party), meaning some of the details of the actual world are lost or not attended to. Granted, these details are often not that important, but the difference between what he and I pay attention to requires some getting used to. For me, the structure he has to manage his life (and ours) is a great asset, as I tend to be more fly-by-the-seat-of my-pants type of person and things don’t always get done with that approach. Brad is very straightforward and pragmatic which helps to ground me, a trait I am ever grateful for, despite my occasional protestations to the contrary. What he is able to create with his gift is truly astonishing at times, and I love reading his work because it so clearly is his voice, his vision, and his heart that weave together clever and meaningful stories.” - Jared Von Arx (Brad’s partner)