Absolutely everyone is wondering how I’ve managed to avoid my Brilliant Writing Career for so long. Well not “everyone” as in all the people who read books, but “everyone” as in my mother. And other people related to me. And my friends. So, really, a small group of people obliged to think I’m a fabulous writer are, in fact, spending a huge amount of time trying to unlock the mystery that is, well, ME. Maybe not a huge amount of time (but, collectively it could be a fair amount of time….) but they have often wondered, after reading a particularly engaging snippet of my writing, why the fuck I’m not having a Brilliant Writing Career.
This group of deprived souls is under the mistaken impression that all it takes to not have a Brilliant Writing Career is to, well, not write. Au contraire mon amis……………. Not writing may be a snap for those whose destiny does not include a Brilliant Writing Career, but for me (and others similarly situated) not writing is a full-time job requiring skill and sacrifice and constant diversion. It’s exhausting work, this avoiding my destiny. Expensive, too.
For as long as I can remember (which isn’t that long, generally, but for today we’ll pretend that I haven’t blocked out my childhood, k?!) I’ve wanted to be a writer. I also wanted to be an astronaut and/or an Olympic Synchronized Swimmer. INSTEAD I grew up to be a lawyer. This is because (now, kids, listen closely) I made all really important decisions based on FEAR. Me: I want to be fabulous and live in NYC and have a brilliant career! Those who shall not be named: You’re going to the University of Northern Colorado because we don’t think you’ll survive on a big campus — you’re just a little girl from a small town, remember? Oh, and, we will support you as long as you don’t do anything silly, like not studying business…. Me: You’re right, I’m a loser. Fast-forward a few years — Me: So, what you’re saying is that when I graduate from college, I have to know what I want to do with this business degree? EVERYONE ELSE: Duh. Me: WTF! I want to be a writer!! Inner Me: Here’s the deal – you suck, you went to a loser college and no one will want to hire you and you didn’t even study writing, or english or whatever. Besides, everyone knows you can’t make a living as a writer. The only thing you’re good at is….SCHOOL!! Let’s do more school, shall we? Three years later — Me: So, I just spent the worst 3 years of my life in law school, graduated near the top of my class, and now you’re saying I have to practice law? EVERYONE ELSE: Duh. Me: WTF! I didn’t see this coming….. I want to write. Inner Me: You just borrowed a shitload of money to get a law degree, of course you have to practice law…..what would people say if you didn’t? Shut up about the writing thing already – if you were any good you would’ve been discovered by now. Me: But I’ve never even tried to write because you are so afraid of everything! How could I be discovered? Inner Me: Listen closely: YOU SUCK, now go forth and practice law. Eighteen years, 2.5 marriages and 1 kid later — Me: AAARRRGGHH! I never wanted to be a lawyer, I always wanted to be a writer……I can’t believe I let you talk me into this and now I’ve spent EIGHTEEN (18) years of my very limited time on this planet running around here and there not-writing. All because you were scared. Inner Me: Look, loser, you went to law school, you borrowed all that money, you’ve spent your youth trying to build what has turned out to be a mediocre career and now you are TOO OLD to do anything else. I would suggest going back to school (that worked out well!) but we’re still paying off that whole law school thing, so, ummmm, you’re fucked. Suck it up. Me: You know what? I’m not fucked. I’m a WRITER. EVERYONE ELSE: Duh.
See! It hasn’t been easy. And that is just the overview, because the reality is that it has been an almost daily battle to squelch my gift…. Luckily I’m super good at it. What’s your talent?