Reality Bites… but Not Too Hard
Dave and I met at the keg (where all good uni romances begin) and it was, almost, love at first sight. I was a statuesque blonde with a seven year plan. He was a scruffy Masters student, trading-in his years as a geologist for something more stable. Both of us were mature-aged students. I loved the fact he could cook, cleaned the toilet and was a fanatic for reading. Within two weeks we were joking of eloping to Las Vegas to be married by a Black Elvis Impersonator at a drive-thru Love Chapel.
Seven and a half years down the track we have a son, a house, Dave is an environmental scientist with six year experience, I’m no longer blonde and my seven year plan is long forgotten. We still joke about Vegas!
When asked by a work colleague two weekends ago at the Company Christmas Party, what genre I wrote in, I hestitated and Dave chimed in with, “Dark weird sh*t”. Oh he know me and my work only too well.
Dave: Lonely, frustrating, intriguing
Jodi: The truth hurts – but I am chuffed there was one positive word in there. I feared it would be a triple whammy
When and how did you find out Jodi wanted to be a writer?
Dave: We are both avid readers, so during the first week we were together Jodi showed me some of her early work from school / university and I was amazed at the quality, insight and raw talent of the work, especially considering the age and lack of experience of Jodi when she had written the material.
Jodi: Two and a half years ago I said to Dave, “I finally decided what I want to be when I grow up. Guess what it is?” The first thing he answered was, “Rocket Scientist” (in joke) but he knew all along I wanted to be a writer and encouraged me to pursue my dream. He has never given me a hard time because I earn no money from writing. Dave always tells me that I am his retirement plan. I call him a patron-of-the-arts.
What do you gain from living with a partner who is a writer?
Dave: Jodi has found something to be passionate about, giving her a spark in the eye and almost boundless enthusiasm, especially when a new idea or project pops into her head.
Jodi: This means I’m less of a pain in the butt to live with… it also means I don’t come to him every few months with a new idea for what I want to do, which since we’ve been together has included being a psychologist, a doula, a kinesiologist and returning to uni to ‘do something.’
What are the less salubrious aspects of living with a writer?
Dave : Domestic mayhem is a permanent condition, my spare time is spent with Dylan or domestic chores. There’s never any time for us as a couple any more, and we have to make an effort to ensure there’s time spent together as a family. I feel that perhaps it’s because I’m not a writer that I’ve slipped to about fifth on Jodi’s priorities list (let’s see: writing, Dylan, email, Facebook, twitter, and, until recently, fourth fiction; sorry, make that sixth on the list).
Jodi: You forgot Chinese Whisperings. Combine Twitter and Facebook into the encompassing category “social media” and you climb up a space! In all serious, point taken. Time to revive Date Night and embrace the fact I will have an entire working week next year for writing which means fewer late nights at the computer.
What role do you play in Jodi’s writing adventures?
Dave: I don’t believe I, or any character even loosely based on myself, have ever featured in any of Jodi’s work (that geologist (Shet Harmon) on the moon is female!) I like to think I can give good advice on plot, storyline and ideas, though my opinion doesn’t seem to be sought out as much any more.
Jodi: Dave has not only been a sounding-board for for ideas across the years, but also an editor when called upon. I’m not mentioning the thousands of words owed from uni when I edited and proof read his Master thesis – but you can tell, I’ve haven’t forgotten. It seems as my network of writing associates has broadened I have had to lean less on Dave to get the support I need. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing?
I’d like to point out it was Dave’s enthusiasm which got the idea for Chinese Whisperings as far as Paul – without it, it would have just sunk as another crazy, ‘too hard’ idea. It was also an off the cuff comment 18 months ago from which the grand plans for eMergent Publishing sprang.
Do you regularly read Jodi’s work?
Dave: Not as much as I should (my current to-read list is 54 books long)
Jodi: And the next Lifeline Book Sale is less than a month away! I understand that Dave reads all day at work, on a screen and the last thing he wants to do is stare at a screen when he gets home. Note to self – we also have a printer attached to the computer. I know if I really need him to have a look at something, he will happily read and give feedback.
What is your favourite piece of writing from your partner?
Dave: Her weird post-apocalyptic dystopian sci-fi.
Jodi: Which obviously means everything I write is a favourite! (Or he’s forgotten the name of the story he does like!)
What are you most proud of?
Dave: The freshness and quality of her ideas and the effort made in pursuing them.
Jodi: *blush* Even if the pursuit if those ideas is often dogged, relentless and akin to living with someone who has chronic tunnel vision, no short term memory and is allergic to grocery shopping.
Where do you see your partner in five years time?
Dave: The sky’s the limit! Definitely published.
Jodi: And we’re going there together darling! A bit like that tiny black puppy I dragged across the stage in my first dancing concert…
Any advice for other writing widow/widowers?
Dave: No, because I don’t think I’ve got it right, I think I’m the one who needs advice
Jodi: He lies – he embodies the best advice – patience, understanding, time, space and the occasional tantie to bring the most absorbed writer back down to earth.
David is an Environmental Geoscientist, avid reader, birdwatcher and full-time entertainer for a 5 year old boy. He lives in Brisbane with his partner Jodi and son Dylan, a very old cat ‘Keats’, a fish-named-Bo and an assortment of variously healthy plants. David spends far too much time in the city and not enough time in the bush.