Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Explaining Myself ...

When I was graduating from college -- far too many years ago -- everyone asked, "A degree in English? What are you going to do with that?" So I'd answer them: "Park cars." They were never quite sure if I was serious. Then again, I was never quite sure myself. So I wrote a little ditty about what I do these days. Interestingly enough, this was written nearly three years ago. Since then, I got one of those elusive "job" thingys. And lost it, too. The message is finally starting to sink in.



I don’t have a job. Not a “real” job, anyway. I’m a writer, which nobody seems to understand. I don’t get up in the morning and schlep my way to an office. I don’t stand in line at Starbucks every morning and every afternoon and I don’t commute on a train. I don’t get a nifty little paycheck every other Friday. I don’t surreptitiously surf the Internet while I hope my boss isn’t looking.

I write.

And not because I have some glamorous notion of writing in my head. God knows this is anything but glamorous, sitting here in the same clothes I wore yesterday which are also the same clothes I slept in. I write because I don’t have a choice. I didn’t chose writing. It chose me. Wherever gifts come from – God, the universe, parents – however they get handed out, I was destined to be a writer.

I’ve fought it for years. Ignored all the signs, some subtle, some not, tried to wedge myself into the “working” world. It hasn’t worked. So just about the time when I started to understand that I wasn’t long for a 9-to-5 life but I just couldn’t make myself leave the sense of security, however frustrating, I lost my job. A big karmic kick in the pants. The universe all but yelling at me, “Get out of here. Go. Go do your own thing. You have something to say. You have the talent to say it. What are you still doing here?”

I never did fit in at my jobs. Maybe it was for lack of trying, but I didn’t want to fit in. I was likeable and liked, but I always felt like an observer. It wasn’t the life for me. It was the life of others. I was just a guest.

So I lost my job and for the past year and a half, I’ve been trying to get back to the working world because I miss the security, and because it’s what you’re supposed to do when you lose a job. Go and get another one. But all of the doors to “real” jobs have closed. And I get so close. I’m right there, hand on the doorknob, when I hear the click of the lock from the other side. "Nope, you’re not coming in here," the universe says to me. "Sorry to have gotten your hopes up yet again, but you just aren’t getting the message, are you? You just aren’t understanding that this isn’t where you’re supposed to be. You’re a writer. You’re supposed to be writing. You’re not writing if you’re looking for a job. And by the way, a little dose of self-reliance would suit you very nicely."

So, here I am. Slightly starting to panic about the money. Writing isn’t the most lucrative pursuit at the beginning of the game. Unfortunately, my mortgage company doesn’t seem to care if I’m struggling to follow my dream.

Those following dreams should rent, I guess, not own.

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