Last night was my local writing group's annual holiday party, and I had a blast, as I always do at these events. But as I drove home alone (as I always do), it struck me that though spouses and guests were invited, few significant others attended. Oh, sure there were some. About half a dozen or so. But most of us came alone. And I noticed that even those who had brought partners in the past to previous events came alone this time. When it comes to bringing spouses, writers tend to be a "one and out" phenomenon.
Over the dozen years I've been involved in different writing events, I can count on one hand the amount of times my husband has accompanied me. (Technically, I can count on one finger the amount of times he's accompanied me.) At one time, it might have bothered me. I might have wondered why he didn't seem to support me openly by coming along. But I've come to realize something over the years.
But writing get-togethers for non-writers are like Sci-Fi Conventions for people who've never seen Star Trek. We're total geeks to the nth power when surrounded by fellow writers.
Oh, sure, we try to be inclusive. We talk about pop culture: movies, music, and television shows. But when we do, we focus on the characterization in the lyrics, or the story arc, or the brilliant writing. If we mention the hunky actor or lead singer, it's because of the emotional range he displayed or because he's the perfect model for our current protagonist.
When writers talk about a recent trip to some European country, we wax poetic about the archaic facts we learned and not the sights we photographed or the beaches where we tanned our fannies.
We play "author bingo" and games that require you to come up with a word in the English language that has a double u in less than 5 seconds.
Mention a t-shirt seen in a souvenir shop that proudly proclaims, "F*** Google. Ask Me." Every writer in the room will raise a hand and admit, "Yeah, that's me." We can't help ourselves. Our heads are encyclopedias of useless facts.
So, if you've got a partner who does accompany you on a regular basis, be sure to acknowledge the tremendous sacrifice he/she is making for you--and not just with a dedication in your next novel. Take your head out of your laptop every once in a while to say "thanks" and "I love you" and "wow, you look great" and "when did we change the color of the walls?" and "how'd I get so lucky?" Because you did.