I never really wanted to do anything but write. We took a vocational assessment test in 10th grade and everyone got back a book length printout about the careers they had chosen, where they should go to school, and how much money they would make, where they would live, and how many children they would have. My guess is those assessments were probably spot on, but I got back a single pag. One page. Because of the hundreds of ovals I had to choose from, I filled in only two: writer and baseball manager. I never really believed I would be chosen to manage the Chicago Cubs so there wasn’t much left to do except write.
One of my teachers called my parents in. She was concerned. She informed them I was serious about this writing thing and that was a problem.
And she was right.
It has been a great source of consternation to me all these years. In retrospect I probably had a better chance of being the manager of the Cubs than a good writer. Writing is harder. And doing it well is one of the most rare and elusive abilities in this world.
After twenty five years working in the service industry and delivering appliances, doing security, and cleaning buildings to support my unfortunate poetry habit, I have no further delusions my writing will ever amount to anything. I do it now for the same reason I did it then: I love it.
My parents never made any serious effort to talk me out of writing. Or enlisting in the Marines. It was my life and I was the one in charge of it. Hopefully there’s still a lot of time for me to write the best words that I’m capable of, but if they never come I don’t feel cheated by the process.