A few days ago, Cliff responded to my bee analogy with the following comment:

 “The term “author” is an “honorific” and unless you’re willing to dedicate yourself utterly to the calling of writing, don’t bother applying for membership. I think it was Thomas Carlyle who called writers a “priesthood” and he wasn’t far wrong…”

This comment bothered me immediately, and I’ve turned it over in my head a lot over the last few days to sort out exactly why. I now have a not so humble opinion to offer in response.

 

As it turns out, I don’t aspire either to the priesthood, or to membership in an elite author’s club.  I am first, and foremost, a human being, and like other members of the human race I am a beautiful mess of gifts and ineptitudes, fatal flaws and incredible potential.  Much of the time I am simply bewildered and confused, trying to make some sense out of what I’m doing on this planet and how it fits in with all of the other human dramas I see playing out around me.

 

Other people turn to art, or music, or work, or sometimes to the time tested and always inefficient method of alcohol or other chemical sedation.  I write.  Something about the way I am wired, something in my genetic code or my upbringing or some combination of the above, makes me more at home with words than any other outlet.  And so I write – to understand, to heal, to change, to accept.  Maybe in this process I’ll write something that sings to somebody else.  Maybe I’ll write something that gets published, and if I do, and if I experience some success or even some financial benefit from this, I will be ecstatic!  Or at least, I think I will, but no success will ever be enough, because that is another part of how I am wired.

 

I’ll keep writing, anyway, published or unpublished, because it’s the only way I know to be in this world.  I’ll write in the middle of homework questions and the building of snacks, through the latest guitar licks performed by one child while the other works out a difficult riff on the piano.  I’ll write early in the morning and late at night.   I’ll also go on hauling trash to the dump, vacuuming dust bunnies off the floor, cleaning toilets, and wondering why, oh why, is there toothpaste on the floor between the toilet and the tub?  And, what sort of magnetic attraction causes inert substances like dust and hair to make a dust bunny in the first place?  I’ll continue going to my job and trying to remain open to the incredible pain my clients and their families face on a daily basis.

 

Some days I’ll be too busy or too tired or too discouraged, to either wonder or write, but I won’t give up.  I hope this gets me published some day.  I hope even more that it makes me a better human being, maybe even one who can speak in a limited way for those who haven’t got a voice.

Advertisements