This is also for all of my fellow artists.
It is difficult justifying waking up earlier than you used to in order to fit in a paragraph to read, a page to write, a vignette to edit when you’re still late to other engagements.
It is difficult justifying spending a few bucks here and there on submissions when you haven’t made a penny for your work. It’ just as difficult if you’ve made only enough to pay for the next submission.
It is difficult to receive letters of rejections and “It’s a good piece but not fit for us” from magazines most people you know haven’t even heard of and try to continue your day at your nine to five hoping no one notices your slight frustration and blank stares as you wonder which piece you’re going to send out next.
People will, often kindly, change the subject when they ask you what books you’ve written. They will smile with plastered masks when you say “I’m working on it” unaware of the minutes, hours, weeks you spend consumed on a chapter.
You will doubt yourself. You will also know that there is no doubt that you will make it. And only the latter is true if you are tenacious. Every rejection letter, every mistakenly deleted line, misplaced flashdrive with your final draft, and every stolen laptop is an opportunity to make the piece better. Keep climbing.
You will lose sleep, balancing this dream with whatever it takes to pay your bills, but you know that when you make it, the days of shuffling along in some cubicle mass producing products like an Orwellian every-man will be the fading nightmare you leave behind.
When they told you that you would be a starving artist if you chose that major, if you dropped it all to create these worlds or manipulate these words, they didn’t realize they were clipping the wings of birds who wouldn’t even be able to carry a note let along belt out a song once you were caged.
But it’s okay.
No one else has to believe in you. No one else has to understand. No one else will take those fingers and type or pen and translate those beautiful thoughts you’d be selfish not to share with the world.
And it’s not about the money. But often times it is about the fame. And not the fickle of fifteen minutes in the limelight but the permanence of being studied like Chaucer, like Hafiz, like Chopin. The ability to touch a soul like Morrison, like Orwell, like Beckett.
And really? At the end of the day you just need to tell stories, true or fiction, and it wouldn’t matter if no one listened because you knew you’d explode if you kept it inside. So you write.