Maybe i’m in a deep philosophical debate with an old friend. Maybe I’m trying too hard to talk to a cute girl at the bar. Maybe I’m chatting with a cactus in New Mexico while high on peyote. It doesn’t matter. At some point, whomever i’m speaking with is going to ask “what do you want to do with your life,” and I am going to have a hard time answering.
It’s not that I don’t know the answer. I know exactly what I want to do with my life. I’m just embarrassed to admit it.
Usually, I’ll provide some glib response like, “be a trophy husband, or “who cares, I work in a cubicle, so all I have to look forward to now is the sweet embrace of death.” That or “oh, you know, I’m pretty much governed by animal urges. All I want to do is eat, sleep, fuck, fight, and lay down before rain storms.”
It’s easier to say dumb stuff like that, than to tell the truth.
The truth is, I want to write.
It’s a simple desire, but it sounds so pretentious when I say it out loud.
Other than the need for basic literacy, there’s really no barrier to entry for being a writer. If you have the ability to string words together relatively coherently, you can write. If you can write, and you do write, you are a writer. Most people, therefore, are writers. Very few of them however, are writers. For the majority, writing is simply a means to an end. A distasteful chore which is sometimes necessary to store and transfer basic information. To them, the process of writing is about as pleasant as raking leaves. It’s not fun, but sometimes it needs to be done, or else your neighbors will leave bags of flaming poo on your front stoop.
To these people, when I say I want to write, they don’t think hey, that makes sense, writing is fun. To them, me saying I want to write implies that I think i’m good at it, and that I’ll make a career out of it. Who do I think I am, the next Steven King? Bill Shakespeare reincarnate? Well, aren’t I a dick.
They don’t get that writing, for me, is not a chore, nor is it a money making scheme. It’s a pleasure. It’s a cathartic release. It’s miraculous. With a few strokes of a pen, or clicks of the keyboard, I can do anything. I can connect with a stranger. I can tell a joke. I can explain a theory. I can build worlds. I can create art.
Writing for me, is incredibly intimate. It allows me to share my thoughts with countless others, and it gives those thoughts permanence. Libraries are filled with books written by dead men and women. They have passed on. Their ideas have not. A great writer can achieve immortality of a sort. A great writer can change the world.
I’m not saying I’m a great writer. I likely never will be. That doesn’t mean i’m not going to try.
I like to write. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but whatever, there are worse things to be passionate about.
Like extreme ironing. Extreme ironing is a worse thing to be passionate about.