I was rather surprised at the well of support for Mrs. Elfwriter in reaction to my recent blog post – The Addiction of Novel Writers. I would have thought that most of my loyal readers and followers would be, well, loyal. I assumed that those who follow the Wycaan Master series would appreciate the committed and fast output of the possessed writer, and that the writers who follow this blog would identify with me (the writer!).
However, this is not the case. It appears that the vast majority of followers are women and the gender bond transcends any of the above expectations. Ironically, this post was viewed over the aforementioned spouse’s birthday, so here in the interest of clarity is my appreciation of the long- suffering Writer’s Spouse.
My own spouse first objected to being referred to as Mrs. Elfwriter. This summer, she proudly received her Psy.D. She should be duly addressed as Dr. Elfwriter!
I have yet to meet anyone who admits when they married their author-spouse, they truly understood what they were taking on. This suggests a number of options. Either they didn’t know that their beloved was a writer, thought they would not remain a writer (an author is a writer who never gave up), or were simply blinded by love.
Let me declare myself a romantic and vouch for the last. Truth is, none of us see it coming. I am consistently shocked at how consumed I become in the story, how concerned with the characters, how…
I digress. This is about the spouse, not the author.
Not only do they not sign on for this, but they often find themselves on the frontiers of our idiosyncrasies, that is having to explain our strange behaviors to everyone else. After driving 10 hours to our in-laws and being utterly exhausted, I would hug my relatives and then disappear to occupy my dear mother-in-law’s study that she generously relinquished to me during our stay. Why couldn’t I wait until the next day and relax? I had just spent 10 hours on the road thinking of new scenes and characters. My wife somehow explains this to her parents, though I doubt she would do so well with the California Highway Patrol, if I whipped out my laptop to make notes while driving! “What if I name a character after you, Officer?”
So how can we repay our loyal partners? Sometimes, we have to just stand up and say Thank You. I hope I got it right in the dedication I wrote in Sacrificial Flame – Wycaan Master Book 4. I meant every word.
The storyteller’s path can be lonely for those who become consumed, who stand with one foot in another world, who hold responsibility for characters and their destiny.
But the path is just as demanding for those who support the storyteller’s journey, those who walk side-by-side with the writer even when he is called to another world, those who are left behind in this world, those who ensure that reality continues.
They make the excuses for the writer when he is late, bridge the gap when he is distant, bring balance when another world consumes.
To Ariela, my life partner and soul mate, who gives me the freedom to soar above the land of Odessiya
and who acts as my lodestar, my compass that always leads me home.
Have a great week and happy belated birthday, Dr. Elfwriter!
Alon Shalev is the author of the 2013 Eric Hoffer YA Book Award winner, At The Walls of Galbrieth, The First Decree, and Ashbar – Wycaan Master Book 3 – all released by Tourmaline Books. His latest novel is Sacrificial Flame, the fourth in the series.
Shalev is also the author of three social justice-themed novels including Unwanted Heroes. He swears there is a connection. More at http://www.alonshalev.com and on Twitter (@elfwriter). Hang out with Alon on Google+