There are moments when you truly know you are a scribe. It isn't as simple as grasping the long awaited hardcover via your publisher or witnessing your name on a masthead. There's a long trail of realization before you reach those ends. There are idiosyncrasies that will confirm your mentality during the process of obtaining your dream. Although some won’t be pleasant and others will be just downright embarrassing, it’ll all come full circle within that instant: By God, I’m really a writer.
There are two things that you can do at this point:
1) Run like all hell and succumb to your nine to five.
2) Embrace it.
Considering I’m currently writing this blog, I’d say I chose the latter. However, this “embracing” is no easy task. It’ll peel you naked and pry open the mouths of onlookers who’d never noticed you before. You’ll realize that your surrender has left you open to minute details: The carving of a chair, the laugh lines of a friend and the writing on your Chipotle napkin. (Did you know they break down the most appropriate consumption of their infamous burrito there?)
The surrender will drag you out of character. You’ll stand on lines and admire a woman’s shoes, post your natural hair big chop and she’ll mistakenly say, “I ain’t into that lesbian sh*t b&tch.” Or you’ll sit in a crowded attraction, at Colonial Williamsburg, and painstakingly listen to two small Caucasian girls discuss whether you’re a boy or a girl. The old you would've cussed the petroleum-seeking ignorant and shooed the idiotic minions, however you’ll find the writer within honing a story in which to convey the absence of perspective.
At the salon, you’ll debate the length of your nails because of how they might or might not hit the keyboard “the right way.” You’ll purchase pocketbooks that are nowhere near the size of pockets, but the size of journals and literary texts. You’ll have a preference to everything stationary: Pentel RSVP, Mead Composition and Apple Products only. You’ll throw fits when they’re not at your dispense. (I just had one; my Macbook is in the shop.)
These are the discrepancies we discuss when we’re revealing our writer’s truth to our readers: A list of preferences and can’t-go-withouts, shadowed by Instagram shots of Starbucks cups and our latest reads.
Where is the dream deferred and those who await fruition? Surely I can’t be the only one.
Where are the desk and cubicle participants who daydream about their “hobbies” through sky rise building glass windows? Where are the woman and men who spend their nights chasing passions on a caffeinated midnight high?
I know I’m not the only one.
I come to you live, from the depths of New York City, in a small walk-in closet I’ve revolutionized and now call an office. I rise at 5am, pack a lunch that adheres to my weight loss goals and serenades the piece of my digestive system that so desperately misses cheesecake. I cram in notions and pitches on the train ride: On my iPad if I’m standing loosely, on my iPhone if the 4 train is packed and in my idea journal if I’ve obtained a seat. During the four block walk, of 4G access, I send out emails praying editors will swoon. My refresh button and I are perhaps too acquainted; it’s often pressed frequently praying my literary hook has pulled in a beckoning story.
From 9am to 5pm, I’m superwoman:
Ignore the brother who doesn't understand the phrase, “I’m taken.”
Stuff salad into my mouth while creating case notes for students who deserve so much more.
Check that freelance email account again. Please, please, please.
Break up a fight.
Listen to 16 y.o. Marcus’ horrid mix tape and convince him to go to school for music engineering, even though he’s convinced he’ll have a multi-million dollar record deal in a year.
Smile at the girls who mimic your suit during their after-school tutoring session and pray that they’ll wear one too while running a Fortune 500.
Cringe at the boss who tells you that you aren't working as hard as you could be. Cringe again at the paycheck that doesn't reflect your tasks.
Ride the train again; hoping no one saw your sleep drool slide down the crevice of your lip, during your unsolicited nap.
Get home and fight slumber.
If you win, your editor will have that story by the morning. If you lose, pretend that you forgot about the deadline.
On the days you lose, wrestle with the anxiety. Try to silence the voice in your head that is convinced you won’t make it.
Telekinetically remove the weight off of your chest each morning:
I don’t want to go to work today.
I just want to write.
Get paid for what I love to do.
It’s within these dark seconds that my phone will sometimes go off: Twitter, Facebook or Email. Someone will retweet an article, post an “I-needed-this” or ramble on about their perspective on the topic I wrote about the previous day. Something that is a simple click or shout out to the reader could mean eons to the writer. Your responses and commentary are the fuel to my pen.
There are many things that alert you to the fact that you are truly a writer. Realizing that you have a readership is one of them. For everyone who’s ever left a comment, on my work, here or anywhere else—negative or positive—I just want to say…