Wednesday, March 07, 2007

“I guess it was a perfect profession for someone who was putting off being someone.”

The quote is from Amba in a post about her years of ghostwriting. She is talking about how ghostwriters imbed themselves in another person’s life to the detriment of the writer’s own self. But damn-it-all if that one line doesn’t hit me square in the gut.

Unlike Amba’s ghostwriting, my copywriting does not lead me to impersonate. Mine is the art of unsubtle persuasion, constantly the carnival barker shouting “here, buy this, it will improve your life.” Yet much like the ghostwriter, I do not own the words I write. There is no attribution. No assurance that what I write won’t be changed by others a hundred times over before appearing in print.

I tell myself “at least I’m a writer.” Writing has been my passion since I was scribbling stories in crayon. Shouldn’t I rejoice in knowing I’m one of the lucky few who can make a living as a writer? Why do I feel that this advertising profession of mine is just a fallback – a bland snack while others feast?

The answer is this: I am putting off being someone. Amba’s words are just right. It’s not about waste, for I believe I’ve wasted little and live a pretty nice life. It’s not about failure, because I have achieved many things. It is, at the heart of it, about leaving too much of my talent off the table. I have let myself be content with a gruel of mushy success, just filling enough to let me sleep but too plain to truly satisfy.

What I want is to be a writer of fiction. Yes I have written many stories and have even had a few short pieces published, but I’ve never made a strong push to be more than a hobbyist. Lately I’ve even toyed with the idea of relegating the whole notion of fiction writing to that same back shelf where I store the old dreams of being an actor or an astronaut. At least then, I figure, I could stop the gnawing sense that I am not being that someone I could be.

But I cannot hide away this particular passion. I can only follow it or pretend I’m living it. I’ve been pretending for awhile. And now the self-deception has ruptured – it’s been threatening to do so for a good while.

This all means nothing to Maverick Views. Blogging may take time but it has its purpose. There are many more habits I can cast aside if it’s time I need. But time appears when the will demands it. The will is what I need now. I’ll let you know the progress.

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3 Comments:

Blogger M. Takhallus. said...

I'll tell you what I told Amba. Find a single hour a day. Just one. See what develops. You may get symied. But you may get an idea that metastisizes and takes over your brain. And then you will find the time and energy you need.

I'm sure you know that even "full time" fiction writing is a 3 hour a day job. No one writes much more than that.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Yep. I've had many episodes of prolific writing and none included more than 2 hours a day of sitting at the computer. Time exists. It's the will that's usually wanting.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Stephen Curtice said...

Alan, Still blogging I see! I hope you never give up on fiction; I have enjoyed every piece I have had the privelege of reading.

9:37 PM  

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