Thanks, Julia Cameron, for helping me to recover myself from the ashes of Accounting Hell, in order to stand up firm and proud, pulling forth the words to match my childhood dreams (and now suddenly it's more than words, it's a commitment) and announce: I am a Writer, an artist, a creative type. World, go chase your own tail.
Now, I'm mad, scared, excited, financially unfit for life, unmarketable marriage material, a stranger-by-the-minute employee in my pharmacy, a foreigner in this land; and, I am bearing the brunt of Ostracization from my family and weird-ass comments from people who don't "mean well."
What's new with that, you say? Doesn't the family always balk at the rainbow sheep in their family, who strikes forth on the Artist's Path? Doesn't a co-employee in a hospital always query, in blind conviction of perceived foolishness, "How in hell are you going to "eat" that occupation?"
I've only read Julia's book, The Artist's Way, in small doses, sprinkled sporadically throughout the months of 2004, then eeking their way into 2005. I think I might love her. She has counseled plenty of other artists in mid-life crises. This is normal, she says, and all part of recognizing we were created with specific gifts, and that denying these gifts is an affront to the Creator. Not to mention, we can kill ourselves over these gifts; the soul can starve itself to death without the food of creating.
What I haven't read yet, is what to do about the running away screaming from this admission, the backtracking and the fear, the "do I have to?" and the "God, I have to or die."
Here are some big quotes from other people which sped me on my way (either on my way down the Writer's Path happily, or away from them at all costs.)
1. How are you going to "eat" that degree? (Uh, stuff food in my mouth like usual, you ass?)
2. What job, exactly, will you be doing when "you get out?" (Such a silly, this one. Writers write. Simple as that.)
3. Thank God you finally woke up, the rest of us knew for years that the money-thing you pursued was "all wrong for you." (Thanks, guys. Why was I the last to know you supported me?)
4. What does your family think of this? (Who cares? I'm not two anymore?)
5. We, as your family, who know you and love you best, are very concerned. (Take your "concern" home with you, and never leave home with it again.)
6. I'm so happy and excited for you! Welcome to our Writing World! First, you need to know some things: (And they are?)
A. You will always be poor. Face this now, and you are light-years ahead of the crowd. (No problem, I will save every penny in the ladybug bank my daughter made me.)
B. Despair is no longer something others feel because they are stuck in a day job. (Despair is my new bedside companion.)
C. Get used to rejection. Make rejection your little writing buddy. (Welcome, Friend.)
D. Try and try again, and one fine day you will be publishing! Or not. (Probably not.)
E. Don't let it bother you when critics say you write crap; they are just frustrated writers themselves. (What's different about how they feel compared to me, huh?)
F. As quickly as possible, inherit money to live on. (Yeah? Murder is illegal in my state.)
G. Equally as quickly as possible, and if able, get married to a guy with a good job. Offer to stay home and care for his children--he will appreciate this. (Of course, this nixes the time to write.)
I have been reading "The Writer's Book of Wisdom," by Steven Taylor Goldsberry. It contains 101 rules for writing. I have read to rule #17, "Stop reading this book, WRITE." The artwork for that page is very red, very clear on this rule.
Rule #3, "Believe in yourself even if no one else does."
No problem! I am in LOVE with myself.
It's pretty dang cool to give myself permission, after four decades (give or take a decade) of denying myself the privilege of claiming "I'm gonna write," going to college for all the wrong pursuits, of working at jobs where others stole my thunder and glory (fighting over bylines, stuff like that), where I counted money for my bosses and received a small pittance in return; healed the sick via counseling them on their creativity, to finally wise up to what the writing owls said to me, the wee owl. Go write, fly away!
Best of all, while floundering in the nest waiting for my wings to sprout, I have gleaned untold stories, characters, words, actions, tweaks of nature, thorns off innocent plants, and enjoyed immensely the observation of human life.
Now, if you are reading this, and you are a writer considering evacuating your paying job in exchange for the vacuuming-out your writing will demand of your soul, I want you to call me at my 900 number. We have to talk.
Meanwhile, Write on, baby.
PS: Consider these excuses:
I cannot write a book until I finish college. I cannot write a book until I pay off my debt. I cannot write a book until I retire from my real job. I cannot write a book, or anything else, until I pull myself together. I cannot write a book.
Write these on pieces of paper like you find in fortune cookies. Then, roast them in a stainless steel pan (just toss a lit match into the pot) on the cement slab in front of your door (outside, that is). This serves to exorcize these obvious demons of your creativity. Repeat as necessary.