It's beginning to look a lot like none of your goddamn business

So I've been thinking lately about my future and my potential as a human being and what I was put on this Earth for because I have a job predicated by sitting still and not doing anything or interacting with anyone. This is the sort of thing that, after day-dreaming about what existing in Middle Earth would be like for three hours, one inevitably works themselves around to pondering. It's been mentioned more than once that I am a writer and I do actively write, and I even fancy myself pretty good at it. It's clear with every breath I take and every moment I can't be bothered to have a real career that this is what I was meant to do, because I don't have any other marketable skills. Also it's programmed into my mitochondria and the only thing I've ever wanted in life, so why not? I've also been reading a truly foul amount of celebrity magazine tripe, and I guess that's what kicked off this tangent in my brain. To whit:

I realize my chances of getting famous via my writing are vanishingly slim, but I like to fantasize. As a role model, I'm not one. I've read about Demi Lovato and Katy Perry and how they are always "championing" the bullied underdog, because once upon an origin story they were one. I've never had to overcome much, having been blessed with a great support system of people who believed in me with not much convincing. I think it helped that none of them had really gone to college, earned degrees, or really had "proper" careers. My dad is a salesman and a former CEO of his own company which was then bought out and took him on because he was so awesome at the job, but he was first and foremost a self-made man and entrepreneur. He understands that self-reliant trail-blazing instinct that makes me want to go my own way as a writer and my aunt Kiki worked at Nicor gas. That's the closest to corporate anyone in my family has ever been, and no one expected me or Conor to follow in their footsteps. Even still writing isn't precisely a stable career path, but I haven't encountered many naysayers. The nearest to adversity I've come is everyone's supercilious disbelief that this will actually come to pass.

My friend's cousin, for a start, who I already mentioned in my first post. Also my former boss at the diner where I used to waitress. It's as if everyone is tolerantly indulging my little fantasy regardless of how long I've held the idea or how serious I am about it. My uncle drunkenly telling me I was naive for ever thinking I would actually be successful enough to support myself was a high-point.

Then I finished my first book and shut up all the shitty grins and useless platitudes. But that was back in July, and it's four months later, and it isn't enough anymore. How many people have a manuscript rotting in their drawer that they never did anything with? I need to publish, now, and that's the new smarmy condescension: "Have you published yet? When are you gonna publish? How long does it take, anyway?"

It takes awhile, asshole, okay? Back off. And even when I do publish, it won't be enough for long. Because then everyone will wonder when it's going to turn a profit, waiting for it to flop. Then when it does turn a profit, even if it's a big one, even if it takes off and I get picked up by a major publishing house and go on book tours and signings and get interviewed by talk show hosts wanting to know who my damn inspiration is, it still won't be enough because then they'll say, "Do it again. Prove it wasn't a fluke."

It's a constant game of show-me-the-money, all these people with their glinty eyes and snub-nosed smirks never outright saying they don't believe I can do it, but with every sneering inquiry into "how it's coming along" I can tell they're just coddling me. And that not-so-deep-down (because of course they only think they're being subtle) they don't really think I stand a chance. And maybe I don't. But fuck them anyway. It would just be nice if people took this even a fraction as earnestly as I do, if they'd just stop seeming so genuinely surprised when I explain to them that, yes, I carry a notebook around almost everywhere I go because I write things in it, because I am a writer, and they say, "Wow, you're really serious about this."

Uh, yes. Yes I am. I wrote a book, for Christ's sake. Did you think I did it on a lark, didn't have something to do of a Sunday afternoon and thought I'd make up a whole world and people and backstories and just crank out a narrative, simple as you please? No, goddammit. I did it because I had a story and I wanted to and I needed to. It's a compulsion, a requirement of my existence. I write because that's what I do and that's what I am and it's the only thing I've ever known. Some person much cleverer than myself and likely dead once said, "The only good reason to become a writer is because you can't help it."

Truer words, and all that jazz.

Popular Posts