Christine Priestly shares why you should never date a writer…
Over the years I have watched lovers watch me ‘in progress’ during one writing fit or another. Working to deadline, real or imagined, letting my body moulder. During these fits, food becomes sustenance, sex a kind of manic release, and excercise something you do when your retinas begin to burn. You shower and dress only when you are forced to leave the house, and any outside contact seems alien and slightly awkward. You also, oddly enough, lose your ability to speak. Your verbal vocabulary vanishes into incoherence, and you struggle to maintain the most basic conversation.
These are things I have known about myself for years, but struggled to make known to and understood by my friends, family, and partners. All they see is an anti-social, ill-tempered, crazed bitch who lives on stale crackers and refuses to get out of her manky pyjamas for stretches at a time. How often have I caught myself saying, ‘I’ll be human again soon, I promise.’
More recently I have had the opportunity to witness this from the other side.
My lover – a fellow writer – has attracted the interest of a publisher, so for the past month my phone calls have become rude interruptions, Saturday nights have been spent in the throes of lap-top passion, and I have been haunted by a vague scent-impression of male deodorant and the image of my lover wearing something other than cruddy track-pants.
I’d love to say that tumultuous madness is part of our charm.
‘You’re lucky I didn’t tell you to fuck off for an entire two weeks,’ he told me.
He’s right; in his shoes I might have done the same.
I find this curiously alluring. We develop our own habits, our own process, but the one thing we share is obsession. In the lunatic hours of the morning we call it a hobby, a craft, a desire, but the reality is it’s so much more.
…And I thought our self-absorbed delicate egos were the things to watch.