Before you get the wrong idea, I’m not comparing your relatives to sheep lice. But hear me out.
In my family and circle of friends, I’m the lone writer. Letters to the editor and the occasional term paper are as close as they’ve come to knowing how I work on a daily basis. This, combined with the very real quirks and twists of temperament most of us share, can contribute to a feeling of separateness.
But with this lonely writerly perch comes certain privileges. You begin to learn stuff—about people, about the feel of places and things—that others don’t. You track memories and lay them out on paper when everyone else is simply content to muse on the ever-decreasing occasion, “Remember that time?”
When you really think about it, the fact that the vast majority of your acquaintances probably aren’t writers is a great thing. You’re the memory-keeper, the person upon whom the past is indelibly pressed with the most detail, the voice for the voiceless things in your life that demand to have their say.
In December, the full-time life gets bloated, demands even more hours than its due, and when things with the non-writers in your life get frustrating, remember your perch, remember your privilege. Remember the sheep lice, and the fact that you can do what others cannot.