Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A spouse can help an artist have a life

Last year, with my wife down in Rochester, MN, battling acute myeloid leukemia, and me back at home taking care of our three children, I didn't do much except work, write, visit my wife every 2-3 weeks on the weekends (a 7-8 hour trip, one-way, mind you), and take care of my children.

When the kids were in bed, I wrote.  A lot.  Aside from that, I didn't do much else in the way of extra-curricular activities (okay, we did end up remodeling some of the house by taking out the carpet, etc, so that ate up much of the weekend time, and I also did the housework too--of what the kids weren't able to do).  One chore I got out of was mowing the lawn; our local boy scout troop helped us out in this regard, and kept our lawn neat and trimmed all summer long.  I usually like mowing, but then, with all the other chores to do, that was one job I was deeply thankful for the scout troop and leaders that they did.

The one thing I notice now that my wife is home is this: she helps me to have a life outside of my writing.

Spouses know when you need to work, and know when it's time to take a break.  It's good to have a break, because it rejuvenates your mental batteries.  And, sure, there are times when I'm diligently writing and I'm interrupted by my wife asking to solve some problem with the kids or to help her find something or to help wash clothes or vacuum the living room rug . . . or any number of things.  I'm usually irritated by the cessation of my work, but it's funny that during my assistance, I work out mentally the problem I'm writing about . . . and a new insight is shown.  Not all the time, but more times than not, I'm blessed by this vision.

Spouses, and children, also serve a deeper purpose for the artist.  They serve as the reason you are doing it.  If I didn't have a wife and family, and was living off somewhere all by myself, I'd be writing all the time.  But what would I be writing?  Even before we got married, my writing took on a life of its own, because I knew that I wanted to provide a better life than what a normal job could entail.  Prior to this, I didn't have any purpose, other than wanting to be rich and famous.

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