Sometimes I wish I’d been born a male. Then I wouldn’t have a guilty conscience about leaving the washing up in the sink or neglecting to keep the refrigerator stocked up. The dog would go un-walked and I wouldn’t care; I need to write and all other petty considerations are secondary.
Male writers of my acquaintance don’t seem to be troubled by such trivialities. I don’t mean to be provocative, but they have a much easier time of it – getting up, eating some breakfast and finding their way to the computer seems to be all that is required of them each morning. Their lunch will magically arrive at a pre-arranged time. They are, after all, writers, not housewives.
Oh. But I’m a writer too. I also have a day job, but if I didn’t shop, cook, pay the bills and make sure the washing found its way into the machine every once in a while, we’d have starved to death under a mountain of dirty laundry a long time ago. So it seems I’m also a housewife, though I’ve never entered that particular title on an application form. I’ve got nothing against housewives, you understand, I just wish I had one.
And there’s the rub. Male writers usually have someone in the background, oiling the wheels of their daily existence and attending to the minutiae of their lives, making sure that their minds are free to be creative. Female writers, for the most part, are also that person in the background. OK, we can all manage to ignore a lot of housework; most of it isn’t important anyway and Quentin Crisp was right, dust doesn’t get any deeper after ¼ inch. But we do have to be organised, to have systems in place to manage our lifestyles, in order to create time and space for what we need to do – to write.
Hang on a minute. I’ve got it. I need a wife.