Monday, February 24, 2014

How To Love A Writer.

It was dusk. We drove up to my undergrad apartment, as the sun descended on to the other side of the earth. Although the sky was painted in pinks and purples, I was focused on the blue box that sat in his lap the entire time. He would not let me know what it was, until we were home. Home was 312 miles, from our previous destination. The anticipation drove me insane.  

I was not used to gifts from boys I loved, because they rarely loved me back. & so this was my barometer, my way of knowing if he truly knew me, as he said he did. We sat down on the sofa and he held the medium sized box over the chair and demanded a kiss first. I kissed him. When I opened my eyes, the box had been placed on my lap. I opened the top of it and moved the crepe paper. There were tons of pens: black-ink Pentel RSVPs that went for $4 a pack were in abundance in this box. There had to be at least 200. It wasn’t just the most romantic gift I’d ever received, but it was also the most thoughtful.

It’s the detail that got me. It’s one thing to know that a writer utilizes pens, but it’s something else entirely when you understand that they have a serious preference and when you know the precise pen.

& so I begin:

We’re suckers for details. We spend so much time describing scenarios, picking apart personas, and assigning attributes, that we’re offended when someone gets ours wrong. We’ve probably scribed you somewhere; made you seem like a god/goddess. When you see us as anything less than idiosyncratic, we’re offended. The nooks and crannies matter, as much as the whole picture.

We love written things. Folks probably think that writing for us, would be cliché, considering we do it all day. However, it’s because of this thought, that it’s a rare treasure. I have saved every poem, letter, and hello. Even when we part, we will keep you forever. Because what you see as your penmanship on worthless paper, we see as a shard of your heart. We crack ours open everyday, it’s amazing when someone does the same for us.

We’re indecisive:

Don’t you dare buy me a journal; it’s the most cliché gift you can give a writer.
Don’t you think I own a million of these?
Oh…expensive perfume? Thanks. I mean…you could’ve just bought me a journal.

Get as excited as we do about bookstores:

I could tell that he was nervous. He searched my eyes for approval of our whole-day date. Considering I didn’t have a mirror, I could not deem whether the look I’d given him was good enough. I smiled as hard as I could. However, this did not stop him from pulling my hand and dragging me into every bookstore, antique shop, and interior décor store. He didn’t love any of these things, but was excited that he could bring me to something that I loved. & I loved him for that. I swear I did.

Respect our space:

I used to be clingy. I could not be in the same area, as my significant other, and not be doing something together. I was young and love meant: in your face all of the time. As I became obsessed, with my growth as a writer, spending eons of time together seemed less important. When I got into my first relationship, that included cohabitation, I needed an office. It was an absolute must. He just wanted an apartment and didn’t care how many rooms it had, as long as it was with me, however I needed my own space to write/create. We finally found a space that would allow this and it was bliss. We used the space at different times, allowing us to be creative individuals, even when our home was clearly unified.

Know our favorite author(s).
Take us to their readings.
Don’t fall asleep.
Read our favorite books.
We certainly will read yours.
It tells us everything we need to know about someone.

Don’t say you’re a writer (if you’re not) or have friends that say they’re writers, when they just happen to write sometimes. It’s our biggest peeve, especially when we’ve been working on our craft for years.

Be prepared to step over a lot of books, journals, and research materials. It will be either all over the place or neatly on the shelves or both.

Read us.
I know, I know.
We don’t expect you to read every little thing we write.
(We do.)
However, we expect you to take some time out to do so.

Don’t be caught out there like Boris Kodjoe, in Brown Sugar, when Sanaa asks him if he read her article. I still cringe at that scene.

Quote our lines, like Taye Diggs did, when trying to acquire the booty:

“Simplicity provides a fine line, between elegance and plainness.”

Be the fine line of simplicity:

We already make our lives complicated. It’s an unconscious thing. Our soul is always seeking out a good story, so we might make things more dramatic than they are or dwell in sorrow longer than we should. We need someone to call us out sometimes. We also need someone who’ll let us sit amongst our fantasies.

We love hard:

Love is a muse. Some of us choose not to pen it, but most of us can’t help it. Give us good things to write about. Let, when you flow out of our pen, you are a pillar of our strength and not a contribution to our demises.

We remember the important things:

Don’t be upset when we forget anniversaries, for we’ll remember the exact words you said when we met.  (We have to remember so many dates. Even though we hate math, we are endlessly subtracting and adding years to make sure ages/time periods are accurate.)

Don’t hold on to the anger, at how long it takes us to get ready. We will whisper beautiful things to you, on the way home.

Don’t be confused at how we can spend hours looking through a catalog of texts, than one of clothing. We’re sui generis.


Kiss us when we aren’t expecting it.
Take long walks with us and tell us your childhood stories.
We frickin’ love stories.
Tell us that you see God in us.
Call us olden things: Queen, Goddess, My Lady, Maven.
Hold us from behind and tell us that we’re your fairytale.
Describe the sky, even though we can see it.
Cross bridges with us.
Tinker with things that seem meaningless, but could provide symbolism somewhere.
Forgive us when we guess the end of Law and Order SVU.
Or anything else that was written form, first.
Hold our hands and trace the lifelines, on our palms.
We will remember this.
We remember everything.
Elephant love.

Be a story that one wants to read over and over again and we’ll never leave.

I, kind of, promise.



Je Tuan Lavyonne said...

I shared this with someone special to me yesterday. He said that it's helped him understand me much more than he ever did.

You get me Riv... well you get yourself and I identify with

Unknown said...

All I thought about is sharing this with my Husband so that he can understand why I want my own office. This was so me.