Well, it’s strange but true that at 25 years old I’m struggling getting used to not being in school. For the first time in my life I did not hit the books in late August or early September this year. Well, I did hit the books, but I’m always hitting the books. I certainly don’t have papers or tests or grades or graduating to worry about anymore, at least… or so I thought.
As I indoctrinated Danielle into the wonderful world of Californication a month or two ago by re-watching the first few episodes of Season One with her, I heard the great Hank Moody brilliantly field a question from a student who had asked whether it is fun being a writer. He said, “No, it sucks. It’s like having homework every day for the rest of your life.” Too true, Hank, too true.
Alexandra said to me a little while ago as she was gearing up for her show and I envied her for her accomplishment of having a show and deadlines, “You will have deadlines yourself soon!” Well, that did it.
At first I was humored by Alexandra’s encouragement, but then I realized, less than six months into being a writer, that at times my life will seem to suck because I have deadlines again. The dreaded deadlines. Writing would seem like homework for the rest of my life anyway, because I can write wherever I please (most likely at home) and I can choose to do it or not do it, and if I do it I can choose how much time and effort I put into the writing; but deadlines would make writing seem all the more like homework because then I could still choose to do it or not do it but by golly if I don’t do it I’d look like a fool.
Some occupations other than writing and painting and such have deadlines, too, and I envy them even less than myself. The point is, if you hate homework and are glad to be done with school, or will be glad to be done with school if you’re still studying it up, then don’t envy me. Writing is great and wonderful because I get to say whatever the heck I want to say and other people will read it—but, then, there’s the possibility that no one will read what I have to say and I’ll fail anyway—the homework-feel of writing doesn’t much make me feel liberated and glorified like I thought I would either.
You better appreciate my writing, then. I don’t do this so that I can be a high and mighty writer, though that appeals to me, because the writing life simply doesn’t feel high and mighty. Yes, I can travel and take vacations whenever I feel like it and be more free than a 9-5 worker, but if you’re a writer then you’re a writer 24/7 and thus the homework-feel can be even more oppressive than other occupations. No, I do this to try and help people think, to believe, and to soar to better, more joyful and more content and more loving lives. I do this because God has called me to it (I hate saying that, but there’s no other way to phrase it without explaining why I said it “this” way rather than “that” way for five pages) and for my fellow man. You better appreciate my writing.