Two years ago, I met a curly-headed Adonis at a healer’s meeting and invited him to my memoir teacher’s annual Christmas party. My date claimed to be a big kahuna in the energy treatment world, but when he came to pick me up, he creeped my out by going through my apartment like his body was carried by wheels instead of feet.
When we arrived in Brooklyn at Pat Willard’s house, quintessentially full of books and ideas, after a brief intro, he made a beeline through the entry hall, he wove through all the cooks in the busy kitchen, and found a dark corner in the pantry where he hid his bottle of wine.
Pouring himself a glass from the community table of alcohol, he revealed he was being thrown out of his living situation. Pretty sure the way he infiltrated my apartment had been checking it out to see if there was room for him, I silently vowed to get through the evening by keeping my distance, not difficult because the party was a dreamscape for a gigolo. He made the rounds to every unattached woman, but there were no takers. At the end of the evening, Pat said, “Do I need to check his backpack for stolen belongings?”
At this year’s party, one of her guests, curious to see me with John, my boyfriend of ten months, politely remembered the gigolo as ‘interesting.’ Pat, my first advocate on men and writing, sequestered John and put him through the wringer, just in case he harbored less than honorable intentions. Near the end of the evening, to a small group, she said, “Stephanie has to write,” as if it were my oxygen, my blood. Her tone implied battling the demons of distraction for me, and if I didn’t write, the world would be a lesser place.
Like most obstacles I present to John, he took all this scrutiny in stride. So that I can write at his house in Woodstock, he created a sanctuary, a room of my own. I hung a bunch of paintings around my desk, an intimate gallery consisting only of portraits. I refer to them as The Thinkers. Intense gazes can be a challenge to live with in bedrooms and kitchens, but in my writing space, their unflinching expressions exude courage, the support I need to reveal myself.
Unlike spending an evening with an aging gigolo, my relationship with John is rich in connection and promise. But as if writing and love cannot exist in the same world, I find myself vehemently advocating for time alone without distraction. John is innocent in this strife, generous and willing in the face of my selfish independence. He might not understand what drives my passion, and prefers to be busier than I, but the real problem lies in these protests. They serve only as distractions from the very thing for which I’m fighting: to write.
The above image is one of The Thinkers, by Robin Kappy robinkappy.blogspot.com