Thursday, February 09, 2012

Why writers marry engineers

I've met lots of other writers over the years. I've found three things that many of us have in common.

1) We're daydreamers--otherwise known as having ADD. Hey, what's going on in our imaginations is way more interesting than what's going on in real life. Why should we pay attention to the real stuff? Or remember incidental things like the fact that we were supposed to pick up our kids from school fifteen minutes ago? In my mind, I have been happily living as a member of the Galactican fleet for years.

2) A background in drama. I'm not sure which produces the other. I do know that those drama classes ended up being some of the most helpful classes I took in high school. Drama makes you pay attention to dialogue and it also makes you dig deeply into your character looking for motivation. (Now every time I think about finding motivation, I remember the movie Galaxy Quest. If you haven't seen it, you should. One of my favorite movies, ever.)

3) A surprising amount of us are married to engineers. (Or that type. Adam Rex is married to an astrophysicist, if I'm remembering right.) I have no idea why this is. Opposites attract? Nature's way of protecting the artistic type? (Without my husband, I would probably forget to do things like pay taxes or put the garbage out on the street and would either be dragged off by the IRS or die of some garbage-related disease.) Or perhaps the spouses of engineers are just forced to find an artistic outlet? (A lot of my husband's work is classified so he can't talk about it. I don't mind.)

Whatever the reason, this Dilbert cartoon made me laugh. This is what would actually happen if I worked at my husband's company. Except it would probably also include a galactic space fleet.



15 comments:

Joseph Ramirez said...

Huh... that totally explains why the last girl I dated was a mathematics genius and a pharmaceuticals major...

I also am a daydreamer and have a slight background in drama, although I'm working on giving myself MORE background in drama.

You've got us nailed, Janette. :)

Rebecca Belliston said...

Oh my goodness. I married an engineer. How funny. I didn't realize this was a common phenomenon. :)

Anonymous said...

My critique partners and I ALL have engineer husbands. I've been talking about this phenomenon for years.

My husband likes to say two creative types found each other. While I can appreciate engineers having their own kind of creativity, no way will I ever let him choose a paint color for the house or teach my daughter to draw.

-S.

Janette Rallison said...

Joseph, you are clearly on your way to becoming an author. Congratulations! And remember to set your alarm to remind you to go pick up your children from whatever event they go to.

Rebecca and S, someday some brilliant psychologist will explain this phenomena. Until then we just have to keep our husbands from decorating, or dressing the children.

Tiana Smith said...

My hubby isn't an engineer, but he's very business-y. Yesterday I was telling him how I wanted to channel some of my artist-ness into opening a blog design shop. I told him how I knew how to make all these super cute designs, but I had no idea how to run the business side of things. Right away he took control and was all "so here's what you'll need for taxes, a business license, online check out etc. etc." I really do think nature has a way of protecting its artists :)

Also, I got your package in the mail yesterday! Thanks!

Erin Edwards said...

This is really funny because I *am* married to an engineer. But we're also a bit different, because he's an artistic engineer and I'm a scientist. :)

But I would have to say that I would much rather live in my imagination and I do have to set an alarm to pick up the kids!

Dena said...

I'm an artist and I married an ultra organized supply chain business whiz. I am a MAJOR daydreamer. Most of my day consists of daydreams. It's a good thing I married who I did.

Janette Rallison said...

Tiana, you're a lucky woman. Let me know when you have your blog design shop open. As you may have noticed, mine is lacking in that regard.

Erin, I'm wondering if artistic engineers are driven crazy by the regular kind, or whether they are just nicely balanced. (Dilbert should make an artistic engineer character.)

Dena, daydreaming is one of an author, best tools. Carry on!

Cassandra Day said...

I don't know about marrying an engineer. I'm more attracted to an artsy-athletic blend. Dunno why. Werid that like all my crushes are mostly athletic, or/and have a bit of an artstic side. I'm attracted to opposites!

I love to daydream. And write. And read. At school, I'm known as the writer/reader/Greek, Roman, & Egyptian mythologist.

Janette Rallison said...

So when I was doing research on Egypt, I learned that Ramses had red hair and Cleopatra was Greek. That's so not how I imagined those people.

Liz said...

My husband isn't an engineer...but is EXTREMELY logical in his thinking...which is good helping me iron out kinks in any character development and/or situations. He catches the little stuff I forget to include in the story! :) Gotta love those types! They keeps us on our toes!

Or is it the other way around?!

Beedubbs said...

Haha. I always imagined Ramses bald, like in The Prince of Egypt. I guess seminary and institute never prepare us for these things...

Angie said...

I thought this was funny when I first read it. Then I was reading my book (The Winter Sea) and the main character is an author and her dad was an engineer. I'm convinced the two careers are inseparable now. :)

Janette Rallison said...

Liz, it is soo nice to have someone catch things. I need more of that!

Beedubs, Ramses will always look like Yul Brynner to me, and I will be severely disappointed if I get to heaven and Moses doesn't look like Charlton Heston. (Me, and everybody else. Poor Moses.)

Angie, I can't tell you how many times I write something and then later it happens to me or someone I know. It's sort of eerie actually.

Bros said...

Ah yes totally understand..... Marketing creative loves civil pretendgineer. Vision and execution in one couple! I can never understand the big bang theory no love for geeks thing. They are awesome, and more to the point, as long as you have good research and full instructions, completely supportive of creative endeavors!