“Is that all you’re doing?” asked a former co-worker when I explained that I was writing full-time. My French teacher, when teaching the term femme au foyer (housewife), pointed me out as one of the femmes au foyer in the room. “I start writing at 8:00 a.m. and work all day,” I complained. “Well, you’re not making any money, so you still fit in the housewife category,” she suggested. I don’t believe her. I love her dearly, don’t get me wrong, but her attorney husband also writes poetry, so she sees writing as a bit of an indulgence.
Now, I have nothing against housewives, and a creative homemaker deserves a great deal of credit and honor that she often does not get. But that’s not what I do. Right now I am producing one book, getting another ready for reprints, and writing a third. In addition to the writing, I am starting to gear up the marketing machine while I coordinate with cover designers, photo editors, and printers. I am waiting to get my novel back from my editor in preparation to do substantial rewrites. My days are busy and full, and often I work on weekends to keep up.
Yet somehow in my home, no one else is capable of filling the water jug in the refrigerator or restocking the soda. Toilet paper rolls remain empty until I fill them. When it’s time to do dishes after I have cooked a meal, people scatter. I could go on and on. In short, I seem to have become the family servant.
So, like a good femme au foyer who believes that her dreams are also important, I went “en grieve.” Like the French, my strike lasted a specific amount of time (one evening). I refused to cook. Instead, I sat on the sofa and played computer card games with my feet up. My husband decided that the recipe I had chosen for the evening was something he could handle. As dinner wound down, I made my grievances understood. My writing, my work, takes time and effort. I root for everyone else to make their dreams come true, and I want support with mine as well.
We writers sometimes have to get tough with those around us to protect and value the time we need to do our work. It’s all too easy to give away our valuable energy to others, leaving ourselves depleted and unable to create. When that happens, we need to get a healthy dose of indignation. We may need to go en grieve. Our work matters. Our dreams matter. Our creativity brings joy, entertainment, and maybe even hope to others, and we need to see it that way–and make sure we communicate that to others.