I am doing my utmost best to avoid baking anything for the bake sales, (I am writing!) and I am procrastinating to the nth degree in regard to ordering those Christmas gifts (I am knitting!). Hi ho, hi ho, merrily along I go. But already I can see my cunning and clever plan to avoid the oncoming traffic that is real life is not going to last forever.
“How’s the blog going?”
The blog is going fantastically. Beautifully. Thanks for asking. It’s going really, really well. Yup. Great. Thanks.
“So…..what’s next?” Or, as my husband likes to remind me, “that beach house in Maine isn’t going to buy itself.”
So how did I get from blogging about wanting to learn to knit to blogging about blogging, writing about writing? And more importantly, is writing about writing an end in itself or is it a step toward something else? Years ago, sitting in a memoir writing class in college, I listened to my professor give us bleak statistics regarding how many people actually eke out a living putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboards as the case may be). And that included things like grant writing and technical writing. The numbers for fiction writing were abysmal. 50 shades of bad writing aside, even in this age of e-publishing and self-publishing, most ‘writers’ aren’t making their living from writing. (“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” ― Dorothy Parker, The Algonquin Wits). And then there’s me, I can’t even refer to myself as a ‘writer’ without using cheeky quote marks or italics and parenthesis.
Standing around the other day with a group of intelligent and talented ‘trailing spouses”, I half joked that being a ‘writer’ is a bit like being a philosopher. Lots of thoughts, not a lot of action, almost no job openings. Someone fun to have at dinner parties, a good person to turn to for book recommendations, but no real marketable skills. I am witty, sure, but wit is notoriously difficult to hock. Unless you are Dorothy Parker.
I have seen others find a latent passion and cunningly translate it into a small business idea. Latent passion + money = more shoes and more furry hats. Maybe a lounge chair for a beach house in Maine. But somehow the idea of standing on the corner shilling sentences isn’t cutting it. (Bit of an aside here: In Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, there is a whole ‘book world’ where people actually sell plot devices and words and other components of language. It is brilliant and clever and high on my list of favorites. So there’s your book recommendation. Now, where’s my dinner party invite?)
Would it be great to write, not just for the sheer joy of writing, but to earn some dosh as well? Of course. I like shoes just as much as the next guy. Then there is that pesky college fund thing. So I’ve come up with my own ideal job description. It goes like this:
Fancy Yourself the Next Dorothy Parker?
“There’s a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words.”
― Dorothy Parker
Female needed for seat at round table. Must be witty, oh so witty. Well read and able to write in complete sentences a plus, though not necessary. Must possess black humor and self-deprecating manner, and be able to not take oneself too seriously. Must be able to curb caustic tendencies so as not to appear jealous, bitter, or resentful, though thick-skinned enough to let water roll of a duck’s back when the inevitable occurs. Must be well-versed in cliché and metaphor. Hats encouraged.
So keep your eye out. If you see something along those lines, let me know. Until then, I shall keep rolling merrily along. And if you need a book recommendation, just ask. Oh, and I don’t eat turkey in case you’re thinking of having me over for dinner.