Writing Excuses 4.17: Living with the Artist

Sandra Tayler, Dawn Wells, and Kenny Pike  take over the ‘cast with some coaching from Dan (and heckling from Howard)  to talk about what it’s like to live with an artist. We cover the ups and the downs, and share embarrassing anecdotes because we know you want to hear them, and we’re not afraid of the fact that the Internet Never Forgets.

Beyond the fact that Sandra and Dawn are stay-at-home moms, and Kenny is a stay-at-home Dad, the three of them each have important roles to play in their spouses’ careers, and those roles go far beyond mere cheerleading and moral support. We talk about that, and then Sandra, Dawn, and Kenny offer advice to those who may find themselves as significant others to creative types.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Wings, by Aprilynne Pike, in which a 15-year-old girl discovers that she’s a fairie, and it’s nothing like the storybooks suggested.

Writing Prompt: From the desk of the Fake AP Stylebook — write something involving a blue, Italian, rocket-propelled, monkey-piloted dirtbike.

Bit Jordo Accidentally Left In: IRS agents will delight in the dirt that runs from 10:43 to 10:54. Whoopsie!

Spanish Pun We Didn’t Use Even One Time: “Writing Esposas.”

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23 thoughts on “Writing Excuses 4.17: Living with the Artist”

  1. This podcast reminded me of that one panel at the Life, the Universe, and Everything convention back in February. Of course, both times left me with an incredible feeling of unluckiness. The most writing encouragement I get is from my parents when they say that full-time writers are idiots who think they can coast through life without actually doing any work and that they didn’t raise me to be so irresponsible.

    I wish I could get them to listen to writing excuses.

    One of these days, I think you should do a podcast where the children of the authors talk about what it’s like to have mommy/daddy to be a creative person. You should get really small toddlers to do it, and either Brandon, Dan, or Howard, should impersonate Bill Cosby’s voice as he tries to probe some darndest things out of them.

  2. Even though I am also just getting started, my wife doesn’t have the problems that the spouses had when the writers were getting started. Mostly it is because we didn’t take a cut in my earnings because of my writing. We had already taken a cut when I went into semi-retirement. It was only in recent years that writing began to appeal to me as an avocation.

    I was going to tell you that sometimes she says, “You lazy ape, go out and get out and get some exercise. When she does I go the shed where I have hidden the Pellini X1 modified with a rocket engine and painted the color of my eyes. Then I fly around the city looking for story ideas. I was going to tell you that, but I decided not to.

    Meanwhile, back at the desk: Actually, I wrote three very short stories many years ago that I was told by an English professor were quite good and could possibly be accepted by magazines (such as Argosy) as fillers. I told you they were very short. Nothing was ever done with these and two of them have totally left my brain. The other one I recently revived as a micro story and placed it on my web site along with a few brand new micro stories. The revived story is called “Professional Hitchhiker.”

    Actually, my wife does encourage me and she proofreads all of my writings.


  3. Alan: Ask your parents to write 100,000 words within two months, and see whether they still think writers are lazy. ;) Or just tell them that’s what you’re going to do, that you’re not going to slack on it, and that they better be supportive if they want to be part of your life. :P

    As for the kids coming on the podcast… I think Limebaby (Brandon’s boy) is too young to sit still for fifteen minutes, lol.

  4. Being young and single i have no experience in this matter from my own experience, but got a similar experience from my home in my teens.

    My dad decided to get his black belt in jujutsu, at age 49, while working 60-80 hours a week managment job traveling all over Europe. He spent all this free time traing that year, about 15 hours a week, ans that is a lot.

    Its a dream the same way writing is, and takes away time the same way.

    I think mums way a dealing had much to do with it was much about she was so secure in the relationship and her own person that she didn’t feel pretend by that he chose to prioritise training. And that she had the integrity to do what she felt like doing too. She priorities herself.

    (The fact that me and my brother was teens that could take care of ourself and was almost living at the dojo probably help from the ground service perspective, as mum had almost the same work situation.)

  5. Another really enjoyable podcast. I always suspected you all had really cool significant others, but it’s nice to see it confirmed. I feel like you only scratched the surface with this one, of course. ^_^

  6. I’d love to hear Emily, too. In fact, I’d like to hear Emily, Sandra and Dawn all together. And you guys can just leave the room. ;-)

  7. Wonderful to hear Dawn (and the rest) on WE. My wife and I had the great pleasure of meeting her when she and Dan were in NYC.

    I’ve sent this one to my wife. Good for me to listen to–but probably more useful for her!

  8. @Alan: I know how you feel. my parents are really supportive but when I talk to anyone else I always come back depressed. They ask, “So what are you going to go to school for?”
    I say, “English, creative writing.”
    Then they look at me. “….Oh? Journalism’s cool. You should do that…”
    EVERY TIME! I like to write articles and stuff but I want to write books! Gosh!

    I agree with having the kids come. That would be hilarious!

    Awesome podcast guys and gals.

  9. “We feel bad that Emily wasn’t able to join us for this one. We’ll make sure to get her on the show at some point.”

    Maybe you can have a special show devoted to putting up with Brandon. ;)

  10. Sandra and I talked about having the kids come, and we figure that if there’s an episode with our kids in it then we’ll have to assemble it from soundbites, rather than trying to record a single take.

    It could be fun, but it would also be hours and hours of work for 15 minutes of usable audio.

  11. Thank you for this episode. I love to hear the other side of the successful creative thing. My husband and I are embarked on a dreamship of our own. 4 years ago, we decided to see what would happen if we collaborated on some writing. So far, we are still in the beginning stages, but it has been so much fun to get here.

    We have been married for 23 years, and we have never been closer or more content in our relationship than we have recently. Now, we have the same goals and projects, and we get to work together and travel together. We have had some success, and have both finished novels that we plan to pitch this summer. Even if they don’t sell, and we move to plan B, I am very glad we got to do this with each other.

  12. @Allan,

    Im sorry to hear your parents are not supportive. They have probably never been freinds with a successful artist. For every Brandon or Howard, there are probably 10 “artists” that live in their parents basements into their adulthood, talk about the art they are going to make and smoke pot all day. Some may make some interesting art in the process, many will not.

    Work hard and hopefully they will turn around. Also, as in every part of life it does not hurt to have a “backup plan” that you can also demonstrate you are setting yourself up for. For the truth is, what someone wants to do for a living, and what pays the bills are not the same for everyone. This is of course no reason not to try and unify the two :) Good Luck!

  13. Thanks everyone for the support. Of course I plan to become an author, parents or no parents. Still, it would be really nice to have a wife or even a girlfriend who would give me encouragement. But between writing and school I don’t have time for anything else. Yes, I take spring and summer classes because my parents insist on it…and because if I don’t it will take me ten years to graduate.

    But most of the girls I’ve dated have big plans and dreams of their own. They want to go on to illustrious careers or make a name for themselves one way or another. Somehow it seems that it wouldn’t work out for both parties to pursue their dreams, each expecting full support from the other.

  14. Regarding the Spanish pun: It may be just as well that you didn’t use it. I’m not sure Kenny would have appreciated being an “esposa.” ;)

  15. As I recall, Raethe, Spanish accepts (has recently begun accepting, that is) use of the feminine form of words in groups that include males, if the females are greater to or equal than the number of males. And “esposo/a” does mean “spouse.” The one I’m certain he wouldn’t have appreciated is “mujer,” but so do lots of wives, seeing as it literally translates to woman and calling one’s wife “woman” has some negative connotations in English (to put it mildly).

    Alan: I can kinda see where you’re coming from with the comment about big dreams for both sides of a relationship not working too well, and I agree if they pull in completely opposite directions (a mining engineer wanting to live in Peru as mine superintendent while his wife wants to live in a big city and do…one of the many possible things in big cities, for instance). However, most of the time, people who are otherwise compatible have dreams that are also rather compatible. And being supportive of one another doesn’t always mean becoming their business manager, despite the fact that this was the case for these three.

  16. Rashkavar: Huh. New to me. As far as I knew it was still proper to use the masculine ending for all mixed groups. ‘Course, the last time I took a Spanish class was three years ago. Learn something new… :)

  17. I actually teared up a bit when they started talking about finding a space in the house to work at. I don’t get a lot of support right now, and that’s a big issue. My space right now is McDonalds, lol.

    I thought it was completely hilarious that Sandra and Howard have almost identical speech patterns, rhythms, and idioms. How long have they been married? They sound like two sides of the same coin!

  18. My husband struggles with his scenes of violence. He will get hung up for days because he does not know how to advance a ‘bloody’ scene. Should he just bite the proverbial bullet and be violent?

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