You toss away a comment about writing and it being an ongoing process. She is up in arms, "You don't like my book?" You carefully say--it is all about being careful in this moment--that you liked it, you loved it, but every book should represent a growth. She stomps in her bare feet and shorts into the dining room and lights a cigarette, yelling things about support and encouragement.
You talk her down from a ledge. By the end of it, she is excited about a new project, her usual self, telling you stories you've heard before about what a friend from Hong Kong said about her book, how someone else messaged her on Facebook.
"Is it awful, dating a writer?" she asks you, asks herself.
You had once told her how selfish she is, but that you sort of enjoyed the selfishness. She has been trying harder since, but you see how absorbed she gets in her own universe.
You like her best when she is writing something new.
With no immediate manuscript to work on, she focuses on you with all the intensity she normally saves for her work. You sometimes find her scrutinising you from the door.
You enjoy her company the most when the two of you are working on something together: whether it's fixing links on her blog or talking about new ideas.
At the parties you go to together, you watch people riff, tossing words at each other, in an effort to prove who's cleverer. Her chin juts out and she gets defensive when someone attempts to patronise her or her writing, but for the most part, she floats on the surface, talking about work and who's sleeping with who, and not books at all. Once in a while, someone will attempt to tease her by calling her stuff 'chick lit', but this too she's learned to laugh off.
You are pleased for her successes, and want her to brush off the failures quickly and move on, instead of dwelling. You think she likes the wallowing, and she probably does.
At a book reading, she looks nervously around and tells you no one is coming, you tell her to make definitive changes for the next time she does a reading. You are all about solutions, but they need a minute to sink in. And when people appear, sitting around expectantly, you watch her face light up, and then, on the way home you propose your marketing solutions again, and she listens.
You should expect to be written about.
You should expect to have to read drafts and show interest.
And every now and then, when there is a bad review, you should expect to hear about it and talk her through it.
And every now and then, where there is a good review, you should expect to hear about it and share her triumph.
She is flawed--this, she believes, is what makes her a writer.
But she loves you.
(psst: have you read my new book yet?)