Saturday, April 5, 2008
Even though I wrote that big long post about deciding to become a writer, I was still grappling with it. Then I started getting signs. These signs have been in the form of other writers inspiring me. I’ve often been inspired by other writers but this time it’s been right in a row. Bam, bam, bam! Here is what I stumbled across just in the last week or two:
There was an article in this month’s The Writer about Michael Perry who writes essays about the country life like I do. Right off the bat I got excited because I learned he’s had a ton of colorful jobs just like I have—forklift operator, nurse, cowboy—just to name a few. Although he’s afraid of horses. Still…
We have a lot in common. The more I read, the more I exclaimed, “That’s me!” But I was most excited when I read that he only took one college creative-writing class and is self-taught. Just like me.
I’m not saying I’m anywhere near as good as he is. I’m still learning, trying to catch up because I’ve quit a hundred times to become a telephone operator, nurse’s aid, cowgirl and all those other jobs I’ve had. But if he can do it, I can do it. That was number one.
Then in Parade magazine I read about Frank McCourt. I’m Irish too. But that has nothing to do with it. A little voice in his head said, “Don’t settle for less. Find what you love and do it.” But he became a teacher because the voice also said, “Yeah, but that won’t buy bread.” Sounds just like me. He trudged along doing his second choice until he couldn’t do it anymore. I don’t know whether he couldn’t stand it anymore or he just couldn’t do it anymore. But he retired after 30 years of teaching, went home and wrote Angela’s Ashes. It was a bestseller. McCourt was 66.
In The Roanoke Times I read about a local guy who’s originally from New Jersey like me. His name is Scott Loring Sanders. He was the family breadwinner. And yet he quit his job to go to school and become a writer. I can’t imagine what his wife thought. Divorce? I don’t even have that kind of pressure on me. I’m not the family breadwinner and yet I’m hesitating. Sanders has more confidence in his little finger than I have in my whole body.
His first novel, The Hanging Woods, just came out and a second one is due out next year. His number one rule is: Stay disciplined. Meaning, don’t stop.
This may sound corny but I feel like God is sending me signs. So I’m going to keep going.