Before I left for New York City, I had a long conversation with my mom about various career changes going on in my life. “I don’t know,” I told her. “In five or six months, I may just be working part time for X, and not even try to find another job. I could work on my writing.”
It was such a stereotypical pipe-dream-of-everyone’s thing to say that I almost didn’t say it, and regretted the words almost immediately after they came out of my mouth. You never talk about writing more. You just do it, or you don’t. Future plans voiced aloud (especially about writing and travel) are just a more discreet variety of excuse, apology.
But thankfully my mother, like my former therapist, does not take any of my bullshit. “If you’re going to do that,” she responded, “you’d have to be really, really passionate about it. Are you that passionate? I’m not sure. You don’t have that bug-eyed look.”
It was the perfect response for two reasons:
1. It irked me, and
2. I realized, in a way, she was right. I’m passionate about writing, but I’m not passionate about getting published.
And why aren’t I passionate about getting published? Because it will probably involve a lot of work that will be fruitless. Like college essay writing, I’ll chuck a couple of hours into something and will likely have nothing to show for it. It will require a certain relentless confidence and, simultaneously, a lack of pride, like asking boys on dates, over and over and over, without wondering “Christ, why can’t one of them just ask me out, for a change?” I want the boy to be the one finding me, preferably while I’m doing something beautiful (weaving, climbing trees) alone in a dewy meadow somewhere. Basically, because I don’t think it would be easy. Aha!