7 Reasons Why I Don't Deserve to Be a Writer

May 18, 2014

I was the horse and the rider,
and the leather I strapped to his rump
spanked my own behind.
-"The Centaur," May Swenson
1. Provenance.  I'm not the child of academics.  I'm not a child of wealth or privilege.  My grandparents survived famine, disease, and war.  My parents survived famine, disease, and war.  With their bare, bleeding hands, they dug out a foxhole in the American dream for my sister and me.  It would be a betrayal of their labors to do something as ridiculous and ignoble as becoming a writer.

2.  Impracticality.  Look at this place.  This isn't a life of wealth or privilege.  Laundry must be folded, floors must be mopped, dog shit must be picked up.  Bills must be paid.  Mine are the hands that have to do these things.  Mine are not the hands that get to linger on a keyboard, transcribing the fripperies that my dodo-bird brain snatches from the ether with its big paddle-shaped beak.  Clack, clack.

3.  Incompetence.  I have no idea what I'm doing.  What makes me think I can write a book that other people would want to read?  Look at all the people who are trying to make it in this business.  Look at all the amazing people who have.  Who do I think I am?  I can't pretend that I'm in good enough shape to run in this race.  I can't pretend to know how to dance.

4.  Because everyone said so.  What a big pile of rejections.  I'm going to lay them all out and sew them together with thread made from my own guts.  Then I'll have a quilt to sleep under.  Then I'll get a good night's sleep, wake up early, and get to my day job just in time for my daily reaming.  But that daily reaming won't feel as bad as looking at all of these.  Heartbreaking.  Rejections.  Wah.

5. Parasitism.  How could I do this to my husband?  He works so hard to help us move forward.  How could I choose to be this dead weight on our finances?  How could I ask him to make this sacrifice?  How could I rescind my promise to be an equal partner in this marriage when I'm asking him to spot me while I go on this sad attempt to "find myself" in my thirties?

6.  The Greater Good.  Couldn't I write about something worthwhile?  The journey of the soul?  Something spiritually uplifting, like Nicholas Sparks does?  Why cocks? What would my sixth grade teacher Mrs. Yap think?  What would my parish priest think?  I should be ashamed of myself.  All those cocks and all those people riding on them.  Horrifying.

7. Just Kidding.  Calm Down, Bro!


Yesterday, I did a little research at Barnes & Noble to see which authors are getting print shelf space these days.  I perused some of the new releases, took down names, and looked up agents and editors today.  After two hours of research, I think I have a few possibilities for appointment sign-ups tomorrow for RWA nationals in July.  I don't know if I'll get the people I want, but I'll be camped out next to my laptop at 7AM tomorrow, ready to see if the odds are, as they say, ever in my favor.

In addition to this empowering research, I went to my RWA chapter meeting this morning.  Then I laid out and purchased some business cards and postcards on Vista Print in preparation for all the schmoozing and shameless self-promotion I plan to do in July.

Oh, and I had a dream come true yesterday at the bookstore.

I saw this beautiful thing on the shelf.

Yup.  Cowboy Heat, edited by Delilah Devlin and published by Cleis Press, in the anthology section of a busy Barnes & Noble in Los Angeles, California.  Fuck.  Yes.  I'm in that.

I think a little confetti is in order.


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