I’m actually two people. First, there’s the married homeowner with a full-time job who has not won the lottery nor is independently wealthy and needs to pay the bills. Then, there’s the Writer. You see my dilemma?
Twenty-five years ago, living in a rooming-house in Boston, with a job at a music store, and only my friends and integrity to concern myself with, Real Life was something other people had. There were jobs with shirts and ties, mortgages,cars with insurance and gas tanks, and social obligations that had nothing to do with Artistic Development. Those people must have been boring, I reasoned. The only thing I needed to do was to get to work on time, pay my landlady on time, and get to a myriad of poetry readings at a respectable time.
Time is now a dictator, setting the parameters and authorizing the schedule. No, I don’t wear a shirt and tie, but I do have a mortgage and a car with insurance and a gas tank to fill, and household obligations that far exceed my social desires. Writing is just another chore that gets fit in like mowing the lawn or taking out the garbage. It’s not anywhere as droll as those tasks but its place in my life is about as mundane.
Now, I could tell you that I am most fulfilled when I’m writing and I enjoy most the company of other writers and be passionate when I say these things. However, the words are not going to alter the undeniable facts of personal responsibility. Those “youngsters” I watch in the coffeehouses, genuflecting and bemoaning their McJobs and lack of financial resources and their emotional angst amuse me when I think that the last time they mowed a lawn was as a teenager to earn a few extra dollars. Eating out is far simpler than going grocery shopping and less time-consuming. Fewer possessions mean less maintenance. Their lives should be far simpler than mine. So, why are they complaining so much.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not complaining. I recognize that there are Priorities and Responsibilities that supersede Desires. I might not always have enough time to write and to discuss writing. That’s okay. As long as I never lose the DESIRE to write, as long as I never allow Real Life to drown the Writer, I should be just fine.