God has played major matchmaker ever since He introduced Eve to Adam: "Have I got a nice girl for you!" (Sam Levenson). The Almighty used thirsty camels to bring about Rebekah's marriage to Isaac. He mastermined Boaz's marriage to Ruth, the great-great-great-grandma of King David and, ultimately, Jesus Christ.
But finding a spouse who will stick with a writer? That task might even make God scratch His head.
Some on-line dating services insist they can find the perfect partner for anyone--even writers. One Web site includes 29 dimensions by which future mates can be measured. (Does this number bother anyone else? Why not a nice round number like 30? Or 30,006? Just sayin'.)
These surveys never include the correct questions for potential writer spouses. I submit the following prompts in hopes of helping these experts increase the reliabilty of the profiles they create. Do you want to marry someone
- Who wears a baggy sweatsuit and feather boa to work?
- Whose yard has been officially declared a landfill?
- Who will awaken you at 3 a.m. to brainstorm a few dozen new book titles?
- Who works 80 hours a week and nets 2.4 cents per hour, minus Xerox and Prozac costs?
- Who wants to invite poison experts and chain saw murderers over for coffee?
- Who maxes out credit cards attending conferences where hundreds of people study "beats"?
- Who crashes weddings, funerals and Rotary meetings in order to develop his characters?
- Who needs years of psychotherapy to recover from her last fiction plot?
- Who drinks espresso to calm down?
- Who vandalizes signs with apostrophes in the wrong places?
- Who robs a 7-Eleven, crashes your car and sleeps in a dumpster in order to "feel" a crime story?* **
Some claim anyone who agrees to these conditions rates the dependability index of a Jell-o sidewalk.
Exactly. Down through the ages, God, in His matchmaking wisdom, has designed special lunatics who voluntarily take on the impossible task of marriage to a writer.
Civilized society should be warned: these often appear normal. My own husband of 36 years wears beige cardigans, eats plain Cheerios every morning and serves as the rational voice on church and community boards.
Yet he regularly rescues my manuscripts from the black holes of cyberspace.
He shows up at my book signings--a sure sign of mental instability--and hauls and hovers as needed.
When I was writing biographies, he didn't mind sharing breakfast conversations with dead people.
Finally, he told me money and success weren't important, as long as I was doing what God wanted me to do.
And they say writers are insane.
* Note: If a potential spouse boasts lots of rich relatives who can post bail money, the survival chances for the marriage increase exponentially.
**Note: Yes, I've listed 11 questions, not ten. This format should fit perfectly with researchers who are all about 29 dimensions.