Writing and Spousal Support
Updated: Nov 18, 2018
A lot has been written about the women behind the men who write. Famously, Sophia Tolstoy, in addition to birthing and raising thirteen children and taking care of the family financial interests, acted as Leo's literary secretary, copying out revised versions of the entirety of War and Peace seven times, and Nabokov's wife Vera served as typist, editor, coach, literary agent, business manager and chauffeur in addition to the usual wifely duties. A few women have been similarly fortunate: Edna St. Vincent Millay's husband Eugen Boissevain expressly undertook to fully support his wife and relieve her of all her domestic tasks so that she could write, and Virginia Woolf's husband Leonard managed their household, tended the garden, and co-founded the couple's literary press. Me, I had to wait until my husband retired, but now he picks up my dishes wherever I leave them, vacuums on demand, fends for himself more than ever before where food is concerned, often makes himself available as chauffeur, does his best to help me navigate hardware and software quirks of my computer, unfailingly praises my writing efforts, and gets me out and exercising when the sun's out and sometimes when it's not. And I'm finally making progress.