Sunday, April 22, 2007

Is there passion without poverty?

If I spent as much time actually writing as I do agonizing about whether I'm fit to be a writer, I might actually have published something by now.

As part of my promise to myself to more pro-actively pursue being "a writer", I subscribed to Poets & Writers magazine this year. Two issues later, I finally "found the time" to read one of the issues. I placed "found the time" in quotation marks because the reality is that I have time aplenty to read these magazines, I just choose to do something else instead.

While reading a writer's profile in the magazine today, it occured to me today why I may have been avoiding reading these magazines. Sacrifice.

There was a published writer, Nathan Englander, aged 37, who had immersed himself so totally in his first novel that he had cut himself off from friends, become delinquent on his bills, and failed to notice (or address) the ominous crack that had crept across the ceiling in his office.

Then there was Dan Barden, trying to bring up his son while pursuing a career as a writer; writing in ten-minute chunks while his son played, was at swim practice, or took a nap, jotting down notes inbetween cleaning the kitchen floor and folding a load of laundry.

I love to write, but do I love writing THIS MUCH?

Perhaps the reason I have put off reading these magazines is because, deep-down I knew that I would have my worst fears confirmed. That writing takes time, agonizing time, and sacrifice. It takes passion, and dedication, an unwavering focus, a singular vision, a certainty that there is nothing more important than telling a story.

I'm not much for the sacrifice and delayed gratification. I don't play the tortured creative-type well. I want to live and enjoy life today. I like to pay my bills on time. I don't think I love ANYTHING so much as to make myself miserable, or ruin myself financially, in pursuance of it.

I mean, when would I travel?

Perhaps, at the end of the day, this is why I am not a writer. Maybe I just don't have enough passion to do what it really takes to succeed. I'm just too scattered, too in-love with too many things in life to focus so singularly on one thing.

This is a sad thought. I've never wanted to be anything else.

Maybe it's time to let go of the childhood dreams and embrace the reality of who and where I am now, to stop torturing myself for not realizing those dreams. Maybe one day I'll find the passion and vision to write 'the novel' but then maybe I won't. Maybe that's ok.


e said...

Ok, that is such bullshit, I can't even stand it. Oh, the sacrifice and drama of it all, the I must grow up now and give up this dream nonsense. Have you lost your mind entirely???

Don't let these ridiculous people with their sad, pathetic stories of self-sacrifice talk you out of being a writer. Being a writer, or an artist, or what have you, is something you define, not some crackpot living in a hovel w/ unpaid bills and a collapsing ceiling. Please stop reading these magazines. It's like saying that to be a successful actor you have to be a starving artist for X number of years, have no friends or family, blah blah blah. Everyone has their own path. Some people strike up a conversation in a bar and 2 months later are in a blockbuster movie and they're off and running. Some others do the struggling, self-sacrifing bit all their lives to get nowhere. Ditto with writing. Yes, you do have to put in the time, because stuff doesn't write itself, but I think having to sacrifice your friends, family, job, sanity, fun, travelling, dog, personal hygiene, health insurance, Xmas and New Year's - well, that's just nuts. Obsessive people can do what they want, you do it your way and please stop with the nonsense. I will not let you, in good conscience, give up on this writing thing of yours, it's too much fun and too important for you. And I will not allow you to turn it into suffering and then end up not doing it because you don't like suffering. Don't even argue with me about this, I will not. And that's all I have to say about that.

e said...

PS And stop torturing yourself, it's a waste of time.

e said...

PPS and to answer the original question, yes, there absolutely is passion without poverty. Pffft.

I am outraged that these ridiculous people have made you doubt yourself. I want to kick them.

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