January 4, 2014

Writer, Writeress

Dear M,

While writing about writing, I have often been grateful that there is no feminine form of 'writer' - imagine using "writer/writeress" whenever you want to be gender-perfect? ('Author' is going the same way; some people still try to bring up 'authoress', but the word is clearly dying.) But Wiktionary (and other Google-directed places) tells me that there used to be such a word as 'writeress'.

At times I think two separate words would convey that a writer and his methods are clearly different from that of a writeress. 

A guy writer I know, very dedicated in his passion, writes for an hour every morning before he leaves for work. After he gets back from work in the evening, on the days that he is not hanging out with friends, he writes for an hour or two before bed. Apart from buying provisions every week, he does not concern about the way the house functions or the kitchen requirements because his wife takes care of those.

A woman writer I know, gets up early so that she can prepare breakfast and pack her children's lunch, and has no time to write in the morning. Then she leaves for her work. In the evening, after she gets home, she attends to her children and the dinner arrangements in the house, and starts writing after her children go to bed.

Another woman writer I know does not go out for work. After her morning chores are done and her family has left, she writes for a couple of hours, then prepares her lunch, watches TV, takes a short nap and then returns to her writing. This continues for a few hours, before she prepares dinner. After dinner, she reads a book and goes to sleep.

Another writer dude of mine lives alone and cooks his food. He does not compromise with ready-to-eat food. He loves to cook. His meals are his muse, so to speak. He has no pattern to his writing. He writes when he can, where he can. (But when it is time to show us the final product it would be unbelievably impeccable, we would not be able to connect his unruly writing methods to the story in our hands.)

This isn't every man's story. This isn't every woman's story. This isn't every writer's story. This isn't every writeress' story. But I guess there is a pattern in the priorities and the management of life with writing.


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