Sometimes Writers Make Lousy Friends

Courtesy Emlyn Addison

I’ve been a bit of a hermit lately. Intentionally, and unintentionally.

Intentionally: I’ve been working. A lot. Writing, revising, querying. Things are starting to move. It’s exciting, gratifying, and all other kinds of gerunds. I’m happy.

Unintentionally: Sometimes I just get quiet. I don’t know why it happens. I get comfortable in my cave. At times it’s because I’m feeling down, but not always. Sometimes it’s because I’m caught up in family life and obligations. Or my creative work is demanding an extra measure of solitude.

The fallout of being hermitish is that your friends start to wonder where you’ve gone. If you’re avoiding them on purpose or don’t like them anymore. Your really cool friends — the ones who have an idea what it’s like being a creative — will understand your absence. They may wonder or even worry if you’re okay, but they trust you’ll emerge again when you’re ready. Other friends won’t be as understanding, They’ll take your absence personally, thinking it’s about them, when really it’s just about you being a writer.

Sometimes writers make lousy friends. I know. I’m a writer, and sometimes I’m a lousy friend.

I’ve been a kind of lousy friend lately. I don’t mean to be. It isn’t a reflection of you or how I feel about our friendship. You are wonderful. You’re my friend and I support you and your dreams. My being quiet is just me doing what I need to get where I want to go. It’s okay to check on me sometimes, if you want, to make sure I haven’t fallen into the abyss. (The abyss is certainly there, very real and always gaping.) I’ll check on you, too. Promise. Mostly, please know that I’ll emerge from my cave soon, hopefully with more stories and good news to share.