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In Another Castle

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Mar. 31st, 2014 | 07:24 pm

My boyfriend (too juvenile)—significant other (too formal)—my guy—listens to me talk about writing, about wanting more time for writing, about taking a six-month contract with a 30% pay cut and endless open hours of—hopefully—writing.

He says, “If you want to stay here and stay home and be a writer, I’ll take care of you.”

I remember his thoughtful presents, the plane tickets he’s paid for. The way he told me, laughing, “Aren’t I supposed to buy you a new handbag for each outfit? That’s what my ex-wife led me to believe.” I’ll take care of you. He means it.

I think about three weeks at an artist residency where we were fed and housed and turned loose in a playground of studios and theatres and labs to make anything we wanted.

I think about my musician friend and I laughing over tea, “What we need is a patron, some rich guy who loves art and loves us and pays our rent.”

I think about my father saying jovially, “A man’s home is his castle,” and less-jovially, “You wanna know the Golden Rule? He who has the gold makes the rules.” I remember him calling from cities with casinos, “I’ll be home Sunday,” my mother’s mouth folding shut.

I think about my aunt re-sewing her own underwear for her daughters, using her grocery money for their dance classes, not asking for more. My mother teaching aerobics in a jazz-cut leotard and ankle warmers, saving a little bit each time. My mother moving into my room when I went to college. My mother getting her real estate license and her divorce papers and the locks changed.

Last month, I Skyped my guy from the artist residency. “I’m almost done with the manuscript I came here to finish,” I told him, “but the last four scenes are going to be painful to write and make me sad, so I keep putting them off. It’s a monster.”

His face shadowed. “So don’t write it. I hate to think of you doing something that makes you unhappy.”

I look at my guy, the first man I have let take care of me, the first man with whom I can relax, with whom not everything is my job. This is my prince in shining armor, the man who would build me a castle, clothe me in gold. This man wants me to be happy, to have happy thoughts, to never wrestle with monsters. He will put up a wall against the darkness, against the urgency and hunger of write to eat, write to eat, now you must write to eat. He will cocoon me in safety, keep away the dark creatures eating me from inside until expelled in words.

“You don’t even have to publish. Just tell me if you need money.”

Money is a stone wall. I do not know how a grant and a patron and a husband are different from each other. If they are different from each other. What it would be like to have 'grocery money' or 'clothes money' or an 'allowance.' If obligation, write to earn your keep, will crush the hand that holds the pen.

“I’ll let you know,” I say, meaning, no thank you, and I push with all my strength on the windlass while the drawbridge rises up to meet me, protect me, pushing it back down to let the monsters in.


___________________________________________________________
whipchick now wears makeup to bed.




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Comments {50}

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tonithegreat

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from: tonithegreat
date: Mar. 31st, 2014 11:51 pm (UTC)
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So much empathy for this. Sounds like you have a great guy. Sounds like you are taking bold steps to be an awesome writer.

But, but, what does your tagline mean? Why do you now wear makeup to bed?

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Apr. 1st, 2014 12:27 am (UTC)
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Thanks, he's pretty awesome :)

Oh, it's such a weird, 1950's thing to do, but the guy loves it when I wear pretty underwear to bed, and I wash my face but then put my mascara back on!

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rayaso

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from: rayaso
date: Apr. 1st, 2014 12:25 am (UTC)
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Very well written! I especially liked the paragraphs about your father and aunt/mother. Very economical, evocative writing.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Apr. 1st, 2014 12:28 am (UTC)
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Thank you! Spare is my favorite style :)

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Vice Captain of the Universe

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from: sweeny_todd
date: Apr. 1st, 2014 01:28 am (UTC)
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Ah money...

It's like... it has this power. And is shouldn't matter. but it does. It changes how we view ourselves, other people, things.

anyway, very thoughtful. made me think.

(I was going to ask about the makeup to bed, but then I read in the comments ^_^)

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Apr. 2nd, 2014 03:30 am (UTC)
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Thanks - yeah, it's such a quandary - there's the money, what's the catch?

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(no subject)

from: solstice_singer
date: Apr. 1st, 2014 01:40 am (UTC)
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There are many ways to be taken care of. Not all of them involve money, and not all that do involve money are bad things. Fr me, it's about how I feel when some is attempting to take care of me.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Apr. 2nd, 2014 03:31 am (UTC)
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So true!

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magenta girl

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from: magenta_girl
date: Apr. 1st, 2014 03:33 am (UTC)
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This really spoke to me.

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Apr. 2nd, 2014 03:31 am (UTC)
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Thank you!

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the key of the day and the lock of the night

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from: locknkey
date: Apr. 1st, 2014 04:41 am (UTC)
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For me this read of someone sitting on the edge - not all the way in, but mostly, yearning for that last little jump, but unsure about the lines between dependence and care-taking. Very evocative and I think it speaks to the truths many woman live with - especially artistically inclined ones - superwoman does not exist and we must make choices about what our priorities will be. :)

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Apr. 2nd, 2014 03:32 am (UTC)
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So true. Thank you - yeah, it's that weird place on the ledge!

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mari4212

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from: mari4212
date: Apr. 1st, 2014 06:24 am (UTC)
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It's that line between support to let you then go where you need, and the kind of caretaking that eventually clips your wings .

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Apr. 2nd, 2014 03:32 am (UTC)
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Yes, exactly!

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i_17bingo

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from: i_17bingo
date: Apr. 1st, 2014 10:27 am (UTC)
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I have a wife who is a patron--we are very, very lucky in that regard. I never forget what we had to endure together to get to this point, and how the countless rejection letters I've been forced to read are a blessing, because I have the tine now to send off the queries they are responses to...

Still. It's weird. I'm not used to good fortune. But I'm always grateful.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Apr. 2nd, 2014 03:33 am (UTC)
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I agree - rejections still sting, but they're proof I'm working! Nice to hear that the patron relationship is working for you, too - gives me hope :)

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Teo Says

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from: eternal_ot
date: Apr. 1st, 2014 01:03 pm (UTC)
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I like the way you stood to your ground and decided to face the monster...:)..well as for the guy..he is for keeps...nothing like someone to take care of you!...:)

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Apr. 2nd, 2014 03:33 am (UTC)
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Thanks! Yes, he is so for keeps :)

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kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatre

(no subject)

from: bleodswean
date: Apr. 1st, 2014 01:08 pm (UTC)
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This really flows supremely well and is so tight and controlled yet opens up endless vistas of identification. Very nice.

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Apr. 2nd, 2014 03:33 am (UTC)
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Thank you very much!

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surpanakhalives

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from: surpanakhalives
date: Apr. 1st, 2014 01:52 pm (UTC)
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I don't know how a grant and a husband are different from each other -- except grants are 'faceless' I suppose. May be he can take care of you as long as you take care of the monsters yourself ('cos, you know, that's the exciting part!)
Loved the entry! (And I secretly wear makeup to bed. Sometimes. Only when I'm alone :/ )

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Apr. 2nd, 2014 03:34 am (UTC)
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I like your take on it - you make me think about the difference between what we each take care of.

Yay makeup to bed!

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Desiree

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from: x_disturbed_x
date: Apr. 1st, 2014 03:33 pm (UTC)
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This flows so very well! :)

Though to be honest I never understood wearing makeup to bed. My grandmother still does it and I always look at her strange when she does it. :P

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Apr. 2nd, 2014 03:34 am (UTC)
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I've never done it before, but the guy likes it when I look nice, so I try to look nice as much as possible :)

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goldmourn

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from: goldmourn
date: Apr. 1st, 2014 04:43 pm (UTC)
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i liked your tag: "what makes you happy?" a lot.

It's good you are doing what you love and even better that you have the opportunities and support in place to pursue your dreams. It's a rare thing but it's good you aren't exploiting it, but valuing it nonetheless.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Apr. 2nd, 2014 03:35 am (UTC)
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Thanks - it's one of my favorite tags :)

Yeah - it's so incredible to have this level of support!

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Grey

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from: beautyofgrey
date: Apr. 1st, 2014 07:15 pm (UTC)
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The second-to-last paragraph... just.... oompf. This is achingly, beautifully written.

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Apr. 2nd, 2014 03:35 am (UTC)
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Thank you - high praise :)

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Ink Well

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from: penpusher
date: Apr. 1st, 2014 07:29 pm (UTC)
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It is a conundrum a lot of the time. But at least there is a lot of caring! Nothing seems to be perfect, but then again, that would make the story lifeless.

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Apr. 2nd, 2014 03:35 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I'd rather have too much caring than too little, for sure!

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