I have heard that many times in response to my vocation as an author. It started with my dad. I was at my grandmother’s house, sitting under a tree with a notebook and pencil. He asked me what I was doing. It was summer, and I didn’t have homework.
“I’m writing,” I said.
He shook his head. “I could never do what you do.”
I never gave it any thought. Words flow through me like blood circulates.It is as essential component to my me-ness as cinnamon is to an apple pie. When my father explained that he couldn’t summon words like that, I couldn’t help but wonder why I could.
Just today, I was in a conversation with my supervisor, and my book came up. She told me I was a bit of a celebrity in the office because I was a real live author. I knew everyone knew, I was published on the same day I started that job and was a giddy mess for all the office to see. But I didn’t think anything of it. I still have to do laundry and feed my cat. Being an author wasn’t anything special.
She said, “I could never do that,” and I was floored. I’ve only been working for her for three weeks, but in that short time she has impressed me with her ability. I look up to her as a role model for becoming a supervisor someday. (Well, in fairness, I want to be earn my way into a full time writing career, but I’m not there yet.)
I believe these people, both my father and my supervisor, are selling themselves short. It’s amazing what a person can do when they are pushed. However, nothing in their lives has pushed them in that way, and they are content to not find words for a page.
As for me, I have a “Do what you love” attitude towards life. The writing life is a life of solitude and reflection. Sometimes there is laughter and fun, but often you’re laughing at your own jokes, by yourself. It isn’t the life that most people dream of.
It’s just always important to remember that writing is a skill that has survived the ages, even in this time of Instagram and Netflix. It will always be an important craft, and there will always be a few select folk who adore wordsmithing. I’ve never been prouder to be among them.