I live alone. In fact, I’ve lived alone for so long now, that I’m beginning to seriously doubt I’d ever be able to cohabitate with a fellow human being, no matter how sexy and/or unobtrusive.
Last night I finally watched The Rough South of Larry Brown (which should be required viewing for writers) and it got me thinking about all sorts of things. One of those things is the strange contradiction between a writer’s need for solitude and the need to have someone else do the laundry.
Being a single writer is not easy. Putting aside the madness of trying to live in a major American city on one extremely unreliable income, there are a million mundane daily hassles and interruptions that conspire against the creative process. Hungry? You’d better find a way to feed yourself and then clean up after. Bills? You’d better sort em out and pay em. Out of clean clothes and clean sheets? You’d better drag your ass down to the Laundromat. Oppressed by the clutter that’s built up after too many consecutive shifts at the keyboard? You’d better deal with it, because it’s just gonna stay there until you do.
Not that I’m complaining. Cooking for myself every day isn’t nearly as distracting as the thought of having someone else hanging around all the time. Moving things. Doing things differently than the way I do things. Just being there, in my space. Wanting attention and then pouting when they don’t get it.
Stick with me, because there really is a point to all this.
The point is, Brown had a wife and kids, but yet he seemed to live this totally separate life. Woke up in the evening. Started writing after they went to bed and worked all night till they got up the next day. Didn’t have to cook, clean or deal with the chaos of children. He seemed to have all the benefits of married life with none of the downsides. I’m kind of amazed and stunned by this, that such a life is even possible. Are there really people out there who are okay with this sort of domestic arrangement? More importantly, where can I meet one? Because that’s what I need. Someone to take care of all the mundane shit while I’m asleep and then sleep while I’m working. (No kids, of course. That’s non-negotiable.) Any takers?
No? Well, maybe I’d better go back to my original plan of building a robot wife.