I'm leaving a secure state job in a week. I have a permanent employee number, with a month of sick leave and vacation. It's the kind of job people retire with a pension from.
I'm leaving it to be a writer.
In this economy? With my husband an artist too? (Yes, yes, I'll still do therapy, dear clients who follow–stalk–my blog. My main reason isn't that.)
Is there a diagnosis for this? There should be, because it's a passion so consuming it feels like doing anything else is a betrayal. It's an obsession so great and terrible that the stories flock and gather like wintering geese, dragging me where they want to go.
As a creative kid growing up, I was always writing, and drawing, and telling stories–but I needed seasoning. You know what seasoning is–that black coating on an iron pan that provides a patina that produces delicious meals. An unseasoned pan sticks and burns.
When I was 18 I was talented. I thought I knew a few things. I said them, with fillips, flourishes, and conviction, overfond of big words like “somnambulism” and “transcendence.” On my way to college that first ill-fated go-round, “I'm a writer,” I said when asked what I was majoring in.
A man, approximately my age now, guffawed and patted my shoulder.
“Get a real job,” he said. “You'd have better luck making a living panning for gold than being a writer.”
I was smacked down. Clobbered like a baby seal, unfamiliar with the clobberings that are a regular part of being a writer. And a sliver of doubt entered my heart…and I was never the same, instead carefully constructing a secure life as best I could, doing what I loved (helping people) and writing on the side, in the dark, in spare time, filling stacks of journals and notebooks.
Through all that I got seasoned by the hot stove of life–and learned that discipline and perseverance beat talent any day of the week. Finally, at 47, I believe in myself enough to take a chance.
Where will you find me next week? Waist deep in the river of life, panning for gold and loving every gosh-darned minute of it.
Here's a nugget I have to share with you–the cover for my next book in the Lei Crime Series, Torch Ginger. It'll be ready as an ebook in the next few weeks–sign up on sidebar for email to have first crack at it!
Good luck, Toby! I’m not quite ready to make that jump myself (on threat of death from my wife 🙂 , but working towards it nevertheless.
Congrats, Toby! Follow your blissful path and love the journey!
Much respect! It takes enormous courage to do it, but the funny thing is that the risk is really pretty small. Being a well spoken(written) person, you’ll always have a job doing something to pay the bills if you can’t make it. Why not give it a full-time shot? Who knows, you might find yourself picking up new loves along the way (writing in different mediums for money.) I have no doubt that you’ll do very well. ALOHA!
Well, you’re a damn good writer and I wish you the best. Congrats!
Didn’t expect this to be ready so soon! Such a nice surprise half way through a night shift at the hospital! Can’t wait to get started and then see what the next installment will be!
This post reminds me of a quote my dad told me once when I was considering making a big change in my life. He said (and I think he was quoting someone else when he said this), “Nothing worth doing is without risk.” So move forth, Toby, with all of the heart-stopping excitement that comes along with it. This is how you know where your heart is, and that your *truly* alive!
Thanks Sara, and for commenting! Much aloha.
Someone posted this on Facebook today, and I thought it might amuse:
ha ha ha! AWESOME!!! THanks Shalora!
Very cool title… looking forward to the read! Aloha
Thanks for popping by the blog, Erik! and the book is out on ebook now!