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A Writer's Life

July 7, 2003 |

Dear Garrison,

I have enjoyed you for years and have finally gotten the courage to say this... If you leave your wife, I will leave my husband, and we can run off together. Possibly to Iowa. (You being from Minnesota, and me from Illinois, I think that would be fair.) I am 44 and my husband is 60, so I know all about you older men. What do you say?

Your possible, future, amour

Dear Patty,

A fine imagination you have, my dear, but I don't see Iowa in my future. At 60, one is grateful to live in a state of happiness and calm and productivity and one is not anxious to exchange it for turmoil and guilt and regret. And I'm afraid you underestimate the miseries of being hooked up with a writer. We are a broody bunch, loners, cranky, poor social skills, given to dismal obsessive behavior, and when we get a book going, we can be semi-sociopathic. We want to be surrounded by love and admiration and all the comforts, and we also want to be left alone. It's a rare person who would care to be the spouse in that situation. Like being married to a criminal or a politician. I can save you from a great deal of misery, my dear, and I believe I will do that.

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