A voice started nagging me the other day, a familiar voice with famously bad breath. “What the hell are you doing?” the voice said, with annoying, random inflection, the words arriving unpleasantly warm and fetid in my ear after wafting past my nostrils.
“You continue, day after day, to sit and write. You seem to write about whatever comes into your head. You write clearly enough, we’ll stipulate to that, but the larger question is ‘what the fuck’? Seriously– what is your plan?”
A fair enough question, ass breath.
“More than fair, really. If you are writing literally every day, taking the trouble to clearly set out all these things that are on your mind, document your long wrestling matches with anger, futility, depression, vexation with the ongoing triumph of incoherent narratives… why are you not spending as much time every day branding, marketing and selling your content? Why are you not monetizing the skill you’ve been honing for decades?”
Nicely summarized, my inscrutable dilemma, there, toe cheese breath.
“You can sit there asyntactically smarting me all you like, as you worry about the warranty for the nib of a very expensive fountain pen you love, the fairly new acoustic/electric guitar that is no longer electric, trying to overcome the frustrations of a smart phone that is smarting you daily, having failed to write down the robotically delivered authorization code for PT that the health insurance company robot read to you– foolishly assuming that same code had been sent to PT (it hadn’t, of course) and now you can’t make an appointment for tomorrow’s session since they are no longer picking up the phone, after you called Healthfirst back and were eventually connected to the third party who had the authorization number you need to continue rehabbing your sore knees…”
I get it, sweat gland breath.
“A blessing that you can’t smell your own breath, my decomposing friend. I’m just giving you a little friendly advice: you’re not a writer just because you write, even if you write clearly and convincingly, even if you do it every single day of your life. You are a writer if your writing is in print, paid for by somebody else, and with a check written to you for writing whatever the hell it is. Period.”