Saturday, December 6, 2008
Like most, I was subject to grand aspirations in my youth. Hockey player, astronaut, scientist, actor, and teacher were all on my list at one time in my life. I even thought that I had a calling to be a Catholic priest until the implications of a life of chastity managed to penetrate the raging hormones controlling my body at the time.
One thing that remained constant through all of those periods however was my desire to be a writer. Writers were cool guys who smoked pipes and wore tweed jackets and spoke intelligently and eloquently on a wide ranging number of subjects. Writers lived in exciting places, knew interesting people, and collected neat stuff (like Clive Cussler's car collection). Writer's worked long hours, but didn't have to go into the office and usually didn't have bosses.
To seek that particular goal, I did what you were supposed to do and wrote. Bad poetry, pointless essays, and nonsensical short stories, I wrote them all. I even fancied myself a lyricist, and attempt to become the Bernie Taupin of my time. (Bernie Taupin, for those of you who don't know, wrote many of the lyrics for Elton John's most famous songs.)
Fortunately for the reading public, none of those efforts were ever brought to light. As I grew older and gained the responsibilities of family and job, these aspirations were set aside in the interest of doing what was necessary to provide for my family and advance my career (such as it was). In those days the only thing that got written were business proposals and the endless reports that make so many jobs all but unbearable. Writing then was a burden, and projects were taken on with the same sense of dread that a visit to the dentist usually engenders.
Eventually however, I reached a point where I was writing technical manuals when called for. Later I began to write some of the advertising copy for the companies that I worked for and I found myself bitten by the writing bug again. When personal circumstances provided me with far more free time than I wanted, I found myself filling that void with writing, even managing to produce of work of novel length if not publishing quality.
Change continued, and while most of that free time thankfully disappeared, the writing continued, with this blog fulfilling my need to write things that I felt were worth sharing. I would love to tell you that all of these efforts were brilliant, but they weren't. Some of them at least reached the level of clever however, and I believe that the gaps between those clever efforts is not as great as they once were.
The reason that I bring all of this up this weekend is that I just submitted my first invoice for the columns that I have been writing for the Toledo Free Press. In addition to being willing to print what I write, the TFP has likewise agreed to pay me for my efforts. It's not a lot of money, but then again, I'm not that much of a writer.
So while I didn't manage to become an astronaut, a teacher, or a priest (something for which I feel my children and grandchildren might be grateful for), while I don't smoke a pipe (at least not when a cigar is close at hand), and I don't live in an exciting place (though it is occasionally interesting), I believe that I have crossed a threshold. For when they pay you for it, you are indeed a writer.