Please Kill Me,
Hello again and happy Tuesday – my authoritative writers of destiny, ( I swear that one of these days a rock group will steal one of these nicknames). How was your Monday? Mine was filled with the internal battle of definition. Specifically of what qualifies as amateur or professional. What is the difference between being a writer by hobby, or by profession?
What makes someone –Legit? Is it the intensity of the work? The fan base? The money? ( It must be the money, right?) – I’m not so sure.
You’ve all probably experienced that moment.
People ask, “So, what do you do?”
We sheepishly respond – “Who me? I’m a writer.”
– followed by the required jovial response, that we just know devolves into behind the back mockery.
“Et tu, Brute?” …yes. Brutus too, especially Brutus -(Screw you Brutus!) #Shakespeare.
We struggle to validate ourselves to these people. Should we hate them? Probably not. Trying to get them to understand us, is akin to trying to understand why Eddie Murphy isn’t aging.
Some explanations just don’t do the job – so we reside in this social paradigm- until such a time as we have concrete proof (or a machete). But, does this make us frauds? Are we suddenly at square one -because of what they think?
Stephen King, (all hail his conveniently prophetic name), says in his memoir On Writing, that he defines being a professional writer as “writing something, getting paid for it, the check clearing, and then using that check to pay a bill” (more or less). If that’s the case most writers aren’t. Then again, what was he before Carrie? What would he have called himself?
If I may, (and I’m going to anyway) – perhaps the professionalism (which absolutely requires payment), has nothing to do with our legitimacy. Maybe we’re legit from the moment we begin – until the instant we stop. Even so, in our time creating we -at the very least- were validating proof, merely by way of existence, and action.
Perhaps we shouldn’t focus so much on the pretend validation that may elude or embrace us. Thinking of ourselves as legitimate may be the sole receipt that we’ll ever need to prove our worth.
“You can flood the ocean with sharks, but they’ll all still be sharks -just more of them.” -to quote a homeless man that I ran away from in the seconds following.
We’re legitimate in our ability. If we trust in and believe that – it should be easy to ignore the snickers and jeers. In any case, we’re led by a need to leave something behind. I’m not telling you how to think -but a body of work lasts longer than opinions.
As long as someone knows you were here, you’re remembered. That’s legit. Anything more is just icing on the cake. I guess that’s why it’s important to remember why we start these ventures in the first place. It wasn’t for Joe and Jane Whomever -it never was. It was to live a life worth having. One that only we could have lived. As a bonus -we put it on paper for everyone to see (I know, paper’s going the way of CD’s -but you get my point).
All in all – whether or not we’re “Legit”, should always be a fleeting afterthought, (right between – wondering whether you have laser vision or not and “what’s that smell?”).
Now go beat Tuesday, like it said you couldn’t,