It’s not that writers purposefully cut ourselves off from people, it’s just that we tend to live mostly inside our heads — forever spinning out plotlines, testing stories, creating characters, constructing new worlds and constantly, chronically, obsessively observing. And taking notes. It’s not normal behavior, truthfully, and it can make us feel alone, even in crowds.
Most productive writers don’t spend too much time in crowds anyway because we’re generally sequestered away somewhere scribbling in notebooks or pounding a keyboard. So it’s lonely AND boring. Think of the worst tortured artist from some subtitled French black and white film, magnify that by a god complex of biblical proportions and then add years of disappointment and the final product is somewhere near a typical writer. And chances are, that writer is probably single or has a sorely disappointed, long-suffering and very patient partner.
What’s the anti-mating call of the writer? “Not tonight dear, I’m making great progress on my book/short story/screenplay/manifesto.”
We are either lucky or crazy (probably both; about 60/40) because we fell in love knowing full well that our intended had the derangement of the senses that comes with being a writer. Then we went full blown loco and began writing together.
It started with The Cowboy and the Vampire: A Very Unusual Romance in 1999. At the time, we were trying to figure out how to put the pieces of our relationship back together after a fiery break up and two years in separate seclusion. The strategy worked. We’ve been writing together for more than ten years now and growing even lonelier together.
Now we happily (note: all writers are a little bit depressive) spend those fevered, stolen moments writing together, but apart, and taking comfort in the long silences, the frenzied work and crazed muttering. Instead of trying to minimize the self-imposed mental exile, instead of trying to schedule time to be social and “do” things together, we forged a writing partnership based in our shared loneliness.
Our second book, Blood and Whiskey, was just released and we barely did anything at all while we worked on it except write, talk about writing and then write some more. And it was kind of awesome.
When you have found the person you can be alone with, no matter what you do together, you’ve found the right person.
About the books
About the authors
Stuff Clark likes: sagebrush, the American West, clouds, whiskey and graphic novels. Stuff he hates: running quarterbacks, drivers who don’t use turn signals and the sound of flip-flops.
Stuff Kathleen likes: Russian literature, anarchy, martinis, lava and the ocean. Stuff she hates: intermissions, Halloween corn mazes and high-speed vehicular sandwiches. And the Muppets.
Find out more about The Cowboy and the Vampire Thriller Series: