How many times have we heard Uncle Carl or Aunt Suzie make the statement (while holding a copy of an article we’ve just had excepted by a respectable online magazine) “That’s nice sweet heart. But when are you going to get a real job?”
Whatever foolish sense of elation we might have experienced while first flashing our shiny icon of recognition, soon begins to evaporate almost as quickly as the ice at the bottom of Uncle Carl’s two-fingered glass of bourbon.
If we choose to behave nicely, we’ll smile one of those practiced cardboard smiles that reach as far as the bridge of our nose, lift the acceptance letter out of their hands and reply, “It’s just a matter of time Uncle Carl. Just a matter of time.”
But if we’re feeling a tad less nice, we might let the not so nice part of our personality out for a bit of fun and frolic.
Of course the repercussions to that sort of response may be more than we’d like to deal with later on.
Be that as it may, I’m pretty confident that every emerging author (as well as those who have already emerged and are now breathing fresh air), has at one time or another, been party to the ego crushing, good intention, family member’s patronizing statement about the need for them to get a real job.
For this emerging author, the trip down the lane of good old family advise happens at regular three-month intervals (or every time we all gather for holidays or either parents birthday). And almost without fail, the scenario is fairly predictable.
All the uncles, sister’s, brothers and children that work for a large, local company dominate the first hour to hour and half, talking about the latest mechanics snafu, assemble glitch or excessive increase in pay for benefits.
Once that has run its natural course, they then shift gears and discuss lesser corporate members who may not hold as lofty a job position as the rest, yet still manage to hold their own when it comes to 401K’s, PTO and PTTO.
Naively, I used to think that all I need do in order to avoid the spotlight of the ‘unemployed’ was keep them talking about themselves long enough that they would eventually forget me.
But after multiple failed attempts at this attention diverting tactic, I’ve finally had to put on the big girl panties, tighten my Wonder Woman belt and take their derision like the super hero I want to be. With a Venti Starbucks in my right hand and no visible means of weaponry within reach, I take my stand against unions, patronizing family members and really bad cafeteria coffee.
And while I face off against the overwhelming evidence against why I should put aside my silly notions of writing for a living, I try to keep this one thing in mind; I am happier sitting at home in my PJ’s with a cup of very fine coffee in one hand and my mechanical pencil in the other, than any one of them.
Am I suggesting that it wouldn’t be nice to make 100K a year, drive a new Tundra or go to Hawaii for a quick get away? Not even. But I am suggesting that if it comes down to chosing between doing the thing I love and working in a job where the only thing I can look forward to are the 6 weeks I can get away from it, then I’ll take the PJ’s and Venti any day.
Writers may not have real jobs, but I would bet my last Starbucks that those who do write for a living, because they can’t imagine themselves doing anything else, will die knowing that the life they lived, they loved.
From the laptop of an uncensored dreamer