LIFE’S WONDERS PRAISED IN SUGGESTIVE, ODDBALL, AND NONSENSE WAYS
As a counterpoint to my usual cynical antics, I’ve committed myself to a weekly, year-long discussion of my life’s joys. But, never one for the more traditional approaches, I intend to keep things a little off side, a tad outlandish, and always one foot outside of polite company.
For more than half my life, I’ve wanted to be a writer. Easy, right?
Sad to say, I’m not of the hippy-dippy mindset that believes just anybody can do it. “Wanna be a writer?” the hippy-dippies say. “Then write something – BOOM, you’re a writer.”
Uh-huh. Okay. Except, that’s not at all what I mean. Also, your optimism is cloying – please stop.
Here’s the thing: I don’t want to be just any kind of writer; I want to be a paid, professional one, particularly a novelist.
And this, my friends, is where you crank up the volume on Supertramp’s song, “Dreamer.” I’ll wait . . .
For me, writing is a labour; in fact, sometimes it’s like trying to push a wheelbarrow of cement up a steep flight of stairs. Oh, sure, you can technically do it, but you’re going to have to struggle.
Speaking of which, you likely noticed that I didn’t say, “labour of love.” For one thing, that’s a rather cliché expression that’s better left on the shelf; for another thing, I feel that saying it undercuts the actual labour, as in, because I “love it,” it can’t possibly be all that difficult anymore. But let me tell you: for me, writing is still hard work.
Yet I do enjoy it. Of all the things I willingly labour through, writing is the only one that I do because I want to, as opposed to doing it because I have to (to pay the bills) or because it’s good for me (like exercise). Even better, when I do it well (i.e. when my writing is published) it makes me incredibly proud.
And to be proud of the work you do is important, otherwise your labour will begin to feel meaningless. From there, you only leave the door open for depression, not to mention a serious case of alcoholism and cocaine binges.
But I digress . . .
To date, I’ve had a good handful of short stories published (as well as a few poems), and am still making my way through that novel I’ve been writing for two years. I’m no John Irving, I admit, but I’ve been able to walk into a Chapters bookstore and find a story with my name on it. That has to count for something, I think.
But do I write for pleasure? No, not exactly. I write for fulfillment. I write so that one day I might be able to claim a shared craft with the writers who’ve so tremendously shaped my life. I write to impact the lives of those who read my writing.
I write because there seems to be no truer way for me to reach out and say, “hello, you’re not alone.”
I write because it’s all that makes sense.
And, yes, this wheelbarrow of cement may one day prove too heavy. For now, though, I have stairs to climb.
Out of my way.
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