Q: How do pets/children/significant others help/hinder your process?
A: Almost all outside forces conspire against me. My son barges into my office, as nine-year-olds are wont to do, and tries to read my on-screen words. I’m a perfectionist by nature, so no one is allowed to see the first draft, but with him especially, I can’t shrink the screen quickly enough. I don’t want him to drink in the horrors of my writing and develop some sort of neurosis. As a parent, I feel I’m already doing unspoken psychological damage. I have to avoid anything blatantly scarring. This job is really hard.
At the same instant, my wife has been pestering me to continue a novella series I started for her amusement. I had bragged to her that I could craft a regency romance that would knock her socks off, providing I could give it my own unique twist. She doubted me, so of course I wrote it to prove how right I was. (This is standard husbandly behavior.) I’m not sure what genre the piece falls into. Picture a fusion of P.G. Wodehouse, Clive Barker, and Georgette Heyer. It’s charming in its lunacy. I could write five short stories in the place of a new novella, but just thinking about it now . . . perhaps I’ll build my daily wordcount and add another escapade.
I suppose the housecat is the only one who lets me work. He preferred my old boxy monitor, which made a toasty perch for him in the winter months, but he seems satisfied with the bench I’ve set up next to me. He has developed a habit of snoring, which I’ve never heard of afflicting a cat, but clearly it happens. It’s funny for ten minutes or so, until I find my breathing syncing with his own. That just feels weird to me, so I bump him to make him stop. Lord of the manor, and all that.