You can be whatever you want when you grow up, they used to say. What they didn’t say was, as long as it makes money.
I’ve been writing almost all of my life, since I was ten years old my greatest dream in life has been to be a published author. Creating stories out of nothing is thrilling, and there is no greater delight to me than a fresh, new story, with new characters to explore and new settings to traverse. The trouble is, artists aren’t known for being particularly wealthy, or at least, not many of them and usually not when their alive. Some of the greatest artists in fact, died penniless, giving art the reputation of being not a real job. Which is why for the better part of the last few years I’ve had to deal with certain members of my family getting down my throat for the fact that I had been a full time student/artist rather than getting a ‘real’ job.
What isn’t real about what I do?
The lack of money, currently, is the only answer.
I have a ‘real’ job now by the way. It’s good work, full time and I really enjoy doing it, it’s slowed my writing a bit but, it certainly hasn’t stopped me, that said, the idea that this job which is paying me is somehow more real and more worthwhile an endeavor than writing is still confusing to me. More to the point, why tell young people that they can be anything they want when we don’t mean it and don’t really believe it? What good is lying to them?
My mother has always been supportive of my art, it’s why she never asked me to get a job while I was in college, and I appreciate that, but for those who don’t support their child’s dreams to be an artist, any sort of artist, should you really say, you can be anything you want, if you don’t really mean it? Writing is my one great passion, and the one thing I have really loved to do for as long as I can remember. It’s the reason I wake up in the morning and it’s as much my dream to be published today as it ever was. Writing is one of the few things in my life that I still know for sure I want to do, even when I doubt anything else in my life or second guess anything else, I never second guess that.