Hope Is a Thing with Feathers

Allison asked me recently why I thought we do this, the writing thing. If we’re fundamentally insane to think that we could get that brass ring we’re seeking. I said “yes.”

Crazy in a good way maybe. But still crazy.

I recall some of the writers at the UW English Department throwing around the statistic that there are as many writers making a living at writing as there are pro-football players. Which sounds plausible. And no, I didn’t even attempt to fact-check that one.

It’s probably a decent analogy in that the miniscule proportion of football players who make it to the pro ranks does nothing to deter the dream for millions of football-playing young men.

But that doesn’t make it a rational thing.

If you want to play the odds, you become a civil servant. Once in, you’re set forever. And that’s exactly what you get. If you’re willing to work hard and want money, you go for the big money businesses. Those are rational, sane choices.

Which is why most writers have other identities: teachers, professors, HVAC marketers, IT professionals, university book buyers. Even environmental consultants. We’re playing it safe, working the day jobs, keeping the finances in order.

Nobody sees how crazy we are inside. How we obsess and fret. How we nurse our dreams in the dark confines of our hearts. Feeding them little bits of hope now and again. Nursing them back to life when they get crushed and bruised.

The dreams belong only to us, after all.

3 Replies to “Hope Is a Thing with Feathers”

  1. You've touched on a subject I've pondered several times (especially when I receive a rejection letter from an agent, lol). This week was hectic with the FF&P contest and an online agent pitch on the same day. I remember thinking 'why am I doing this again? Oh right, because my characters had me thinking I was schizophrenic.' lol So yeah, I think we are a little crazy.

    I don't see pursuing the dream of writing any different from the hundreds of thousands of people who try out for American Idol. Everyone has a dream but we're lucky enough to have a lot of support to achieve ours in the form of chapters and writing groups 🙂

  2. you are so right, Danica — and at least our shame and humiliations remain our own and are rarely on youtube!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *