Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Creatives Together?

L'Atelier du Sculpteur--1887--Eduoard Joseph DantanMy daughter and I went to a Halloween party on Saturday night. Well, it was both a Halloween party and a premiere…the dad of my daughter’s friend had an official premiere of his band.

He’s an interesting guy—he has a huge record collection (vinyls— in floor to ceiling shelves), and just lives for music.

During the day he has a day job selling chemicals. The music really keeps him going.

His wife is a middle school assistant principal and is very matter-of-fact and serious.

I walked up to his wife at the party and raved over their house. It was full of antique music players and old radios and stereos—and books! Books everywhere. He also had a music room for all the LPs and his huge collection of 60s and 70s kitsch and toys that were on a shelf that ran along the ceiling. There were collections of different objects in different rooms. I pulled out my phone and started taking pictures. I was very impressed.

His wife said, “I get so overwhelmed in that room! I’m there for a few minutes and it drives me a little crazy so I have to go to a quieter room.” She paused for a few minutes and said, “Really, I’m kind of boring, compared to my husband.”

I said, “But I think if there were two people who were that creative in the same place, then they’d end up wanting to kill each other. Opposites work better.” I was thinking about my own daydreaminess and the way I’m easily distracted—and my husband who is nothing if not grounded. He’s very set in the here-and-now and helps rein me in from some of my flights of fancy. It works out well.

On the other hand, I do personally know a couple of husband and wife writing teams. And they work together really, really well. Although—I think they still have personalities that are very different from each other. Maybe that’s the aspect that makes it work.

I think back to all the creative unions in the past that didn’t go so well—the Sylvia Plaths and Ted Hughes of the world, or the Liz Taylors and Richard Burtons. Now there were other problems at work in those relationships, too, of course.

So I thought I’d take a little informal poll among those who’d like to participate. How many of you creative types are married to fellow artists? And how is that working for you? Or are you married to a non-creative? If you are, do they “get” what you’re doing? If they don’t “get” it, do they at least respect your reasons for writing?