I don’t like these monotonous gray skies, these decrepit clouds that can’t even deliver a good snowfall, these bleak windswept nights that encircle the crumbling brick of an unfinished house, cold as bare shoulders in an unheated room. Monotony, how wicked is your winter. I don’t like it when someone asks, “What did you do all day?” Knowing full well that I whittled the hours away putting thoughts into words and writing them down.
If I were braver, I would say, “I wrote. That’s all I did."
Writing warms this winter floor and turns monotonous gray skies blue. So, no, I didn’t bake anything or clean anything or visit the sick or feed the poor. Why should any of those things be more admirable than writing? More acceptable? Or is this just a misconception that rests in me? I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to pat myself on the back for any of those things. So why do I cower behind my written words like a plagiarist? There isn’t anything more painstaking than writing, nothing that takes more time, perseverance, memory, and intellect.
Our society measures success by money. Simple truth. So as a writer, most of us live outside the circle of society. If we are to live off our writing, we live outside the needs of society. We work at odd jobs that take as little of our time as possible yet keep us off the dole. We read meters and deliver newspapers and survive dog bites. We wait tables and stock shelves and work for temp agencies. We turn down full time jobs and full time money so we have time to write. We turn down the heat and buy second hand. We live on the fringe and that takes courage. Courage to stand up and say "I'm a writer." It's more than just putting writer as your occupation on your income tax return (though that is very gratifying). It’s putting yourself out there, facing rejection and the inevitable questions, because let’s face it, most people don't know the six questions not to ask a writer.
So they ask.
I have questions of my own. The Protestor was named Time's Person Of The Year, and the Occupy Wall Street movement is on my mind. As I browsed my local bookstore, I kept seeing dumpsters full of books. Would we throw away our books if ordered to do so? Stand idly by and let someone else do it? Would we raise a hand to the oncoming tank? Would we object to police drones flying overhead? If it all comes down around us tomorrow, would we still have the courage to write?