It came up on my Facebook news feed again, a meme titled “10 Ways to Seduce a Writer.” It was written by Amanda Patterson, and you can read it on the Writers Write website.
Seduce? Merriam-Webster says seduce means to persuade (someone) to have sex with you; to persuade (someone) to do something. So is this basically a list of ten things to do to get what you want (wink wink, nudge nudge) from a writer? I find it a rather creepy thought process: buy books for a writer and the writer will have sex with you.
Maybe the writer who wrote this list (perhaps a writer who was hoping to be seduced?) meant it as a list of things to do to develop a deep and lasting friendship with a writer. Maybe.
Don’t get me wrong. I would really like it if someone bought me books. (Actually, I do have a dear friend who occasionally buys me books. I am pretty sure he does not want to have sex with me.) I would like it if someone took me to dinner near a bookstore and sent me to a writer’s retreat and introduced me to new independent bookshops. But I don’t know if I would be seduced. If seduction is going on, there better be kissing. I agree with what Neil Gaimen said:
Many writers figure out that they’re being seduced or flirted with if someone is actually kissing them.
Also, while everything on the list sounds nice, I don’t know if most writers have time to be whisked off to restaurants and tea gardens (Tea gardens? Is that a West Coast thing?) and bookstores and writing retreats. Most writers I know are slogging through life on little sleep with barely time to put on pants in between dropping kids at school, picking up groceries, trying to make a dent in the laundry, and possibly even (gasp!) working a mind-numbing “real” job. Most writers I know are trying to fit some writing in the gaps between kids, significant others, housework, and personal hygiene. I propose to anyone trying to seduce a writer, try supporting that writer first. The seduction may come later (if the writer can stay awake).
10 Ways to Support a Writer
- Listen to the writer speak about her/his “process.”
- Buy the writer cute new pajama pants so there’s something clean to wear when the laundry (still) hasn’t gotten done.
- Clean up the writer’s hard drive so the computer moves faster than a cold snail on Monday.
- But don’t touch anything on the writer’s desk! Each pile of books and scrap of paper sits where it sits for a reason. “Cleaning up” will not be helpful. If you want to help, do the laundry.
- Happily participate in endless discussions such as “Which character name–Fiona or Astrid–is more believable?” and “Is there a copyright on hobbits?”
- Bring sustenance of any kind to the writer so s/he can spend another hour at the desk without starving.
- Amuse the children. An hour (or 15 minutes) of quiet is precious.
- Coax the writer away from the laptop and into the sunshine so s/he doesn’t suffer vitamin D deficiency (again).
- Sympathize when the poet-writer laments the lack of rhyme for the words “orange,” “silver,” and “purple.”
- Don’t run away when the writer is grumpy, discouraged, tired, disheartened or unwashed. Your support might be what the writer needs to finish the masterpiece (or the 2,000 word article on muscle cars that buys the groceries this week).