|Image courtesy of sxc.hu and Patrick Nijhuis|
of Deventer, the Netherlands.
So what if some of us could use but can't manage a secretary, a housekeeper, and a full-time cheerleader? Sure, I lack all and would enjoy all, but who cares? My husband and I have three children to send to college, and I'd rather have the rather pricey children than the helpers. And I'm grateful that I was able to quit my "career" and stay home to write poetry, stories, and novels and raise children. I'm still pleased, and I'm not going to complain.
In fact, I feel wonderfully lucky not to have been born into a life where I'd end up cleaning hotel rooms (or crabs at the beach--what a tough job! I admire those women, cracking claws and laughing as they work), scraping paint off clapboard, or smiling as I ring up your brand new material possessions at Walmart. Writers need to be a part of the daily dirt and occasional magic of life just like everybody else, and we don't have to whimper if we don't live in a sweet rainbow bubble where other people serve us.
What is a spouse for? Not to be your personal servant, certainly! I'm glad to have married a man who likes to cook and does so. But I didn't and don't expect my husband to read or critique manuscripts, act as my secretary, clean the bathrooms, do the laundry for five people (or however many are in residence at the moment), vacuum, etc. Do I wish he would do all those things? It's a bit tempting . . . but no, not really, thanks.
As for Vera Nabokov, I thank her for managing Vladimir Nabokov's life and career. I hope she found considerable satisfaction and even some joy in her choice. Because that's what it was--a choice of how to live her life.