Some Observations from A Santa Fe Writer’s Spouse by Richard Feldman

Some Observations from a Santa Fe Writer’s Spouse–First in a Series

My wife, the proprietor of this blog, expressed an interest in having me contribute the occasional guest posting.  I’ve always thought that I could write well, but I’ve never pursued the craft beyond the opportunities provided by correspondence, my workplace, or outside professional activities.  I’ve fantasized its bringing me what I understand that other would-be writers fantasize that it will bring them–money, fame, and understanding and love from an audience that appreciates having their innermost thoughts and feelings articulated.

One of the major reasons I haven’t pursued my writing fantasies is the awareness that there are multitudes (hundreds of thousands? millions?) of other aspiring writers out there with similar dreams. Since I am interested in and try to respect the needs of others, however many degrees of separation between them and me, and since I’ve experienced life as being filled with plenty of satisfactions without having pursued writing for an audience, I’ve felt virtuous that by being reticent, I don’t add to the competition.

Since I moved to Santa Fe in 1996, I’ve come to feel surrounded by would-be writers. One of my former bosses (in a business that wasn’t particularly writing-focused) turned out to know my tax preparer because of having rented a cottage on her property for a year while he worked on a screenplay. Another boss has a novel in progress. One time I went to the dentist to discover that my hygienist had quit to be able to spend more time working on her screenplay (I’ve had a lot of problems with turnover among my Santa Fe dental and medical care providers, but that’s a separate topic).

Of course, Santa Fe is a place that has long been magnetic to aspiring creators.  I’m not sure which came first, all the part-time or seasonal jobs or the creative types who fill them.  My wife’s writing pal Renée has long supported her writing career by working at the New Mexico State Legislature, which, particularly during its brief legislative sessions (alternating 30- and 60- days beginning every January, supplemented by periodic even briefer sessions), provides extra income for the creative class in addition to other Santa Feans needing a short-term gig.  During the three years that I worked for Renée during session, I met a variety of self-identified writers and artists, of whom the most exotic perhaps were the santeros who appreciated the opportunity to pick up a little extra income working as bill clerks on the night shift.

But beyond those around me in workplaces and dentists’ chairs, Miriam and her community of writers-teacher-friends have provided me with years of opportunity both to observe firsthand and to hear countless tales about writers in their various habitats, dealing with their various creative and professional issues, displaying their various plumages (or outfits, as Miriam might say). Although the natural history of writers is not a field of knowledge with which I would have necessarily set out to become familiar, doing so has been entertaining enough.


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