Some piece of crap I wrote about writing like crap. A proud moment, except not at all.
I wish I knew when the exact moment I’d given up writing was. Then I could go back in time and kick my own ass. I mean, there’s a collection of shitty memories tangled up in my mind but no definitive moment that really, really stands out. Which is why I’m currently sitting here, jotting this down while the only noise I hear is the empty hum of ventilation in a boring office of a job I sort of settled for. Either way, it dawned on me recently that I might never write professionally. And that’s something I’m not really coming to terms with just yet. Even though it is something I may very well soon need to face.
For years now, I’ve called myself a writer. But, having nothing published save for a few pieces in a school newspaper, I think employing the word “aspiring” is necessary. Aspiring. It has a dreamlike quality to it. I figure it makes me sound like I’m floating. Aspirtations, as in I’ll get there but I’m just not ready yet. It gives me just enough assuredness to fuel what little ego remains but secretly hide from scary editors and readers that may critique my work. I don’t have the courage to put my shit out there. I’ve called myself a writer with such gallant pride some time ago, but, oh, my portfolio, it’s so thin. It isn’t even there.
“You look like such a writer,” said everyone. People have told me this forever, largely because I looked the part. I’m telling you, acetate glasses and high buns are all it takes to convince anyone of your merit. The older I get, the frames seem to get bigger and the hair a little tighter but the look remains the same. It was always my thing, like, in the high school yearbook, in the “probable destination” field, I bestowed upon myself the title of “writer.” I couldn’t pass math and didn’t care because I thought my ability to string together a sentence or two would propel me to a successful career as a novelist. Or magazine editor. Or journalist.
After graduating from University in the Department of The Fourth Estate, I joined the workforce as, lo, a receptionist. I got through those days of being the office bitch by promising myself that a career in writing was on the horizon and perusing blogs. There, too, was a great deal of rooting for myself. “I can do this.” But, nope, nothing. Instead I’d get people barking at me to photocopy this shit and could I call this guy and that was about rock bottom. I’d spend my afternoons scouring the internet for jobs in any sort of writing or media-related field, which, given this economy and the state of the current media is hilarious. The real joke, though, must be how I used to submit the same five samples of work, with the same cover letter, copy and pasted over and over, thinking I’d at least get an interview.
Everyone says to write what you know. Everyone. God, you hear that so often. The only thing I know about writing about what I know is writing about a girl who is an emotional wreck, contemplating the meaning of having completed University and is relatively jobless. She roams the house in a Bud Light t-shirt and underwear, high as fuck on whatever stale weed there is lying around while watching DVD rentals of The Wire. That’s it, that’s all I know. What, then, should I write about? Is there a publisher who wants to buy a novel about a girl with no self-esteem, no confidence in the one thing she always thought she was capable of doing? Does this sound like a “Girls” plotline to you?
I’d like to think many of the post-grads I know are hounded with similar fears. When the infamous real world we’ve heard so much about doesn’t provide us with careers immediately upon convocation, we sigh. At twenty-five, I figure, if I don’t have a storied career in Journalism then I may never. I’ve really learned how to successfully swallow my pride, though. It isn’t strange to turn on the television and see my peers reporting live. They are younger, better, smarter, and, fucking so much younger. I’ve read articles upon articles of news stories written by people I went to college with, had sex with, did projects with and it’s all so fucking good. They have names, they have bylines and they cover anything from music to politics and sports. Some are copywriters, some on air. All are better.
Right now, I’m settling into the comfort of a new nine-to-five job. It isn’t a writing gig. Float into the office, do my work, leave, go home and sleep. I don’t know that writing career will ever happen. Maybe someday I’ll gain that confidence I lack and pitch ideas and write long features, spot news, anything. For now, I guess I’ll brood and envy everyone successful and take to my blog and think about when I felt most defeated, then half-assedley pull myself together and write some more about it. But for now every time I read a good piece of work written by the twenty-fives and under I know or don’t know I’ll continue to realize that the only thing I take away from it all is “this could be you, this could be you, this could be you.” But it’s not.