Through the other end of the phone, someone with light breathing and a nonchalant undertone will suddenly, yet consistently, always ask me: Why I want to be a writer. You can’t be sure about much when it comes to job interviews, in fact, you rarely know the curve ball questions they will throw your way but I can always be certain I will be asked once if not a lucky second time, why I want to write.
And they will ask me why as if it was an idea that just sashayed into my mind while i was in the middle of tying to solve 2x+1/4y=z during Algebra I. As if i made the choice to pick a profession that would leave me spending large chunks of my life living in apartments the size of a garment box, eating loaves of bread and living off the jingles of coins inside my piggy bank.
If we are going off “want” then heck, I want to be a Disney pop star or a third grade teacher even. I want to be the person who comes up with creative names for OPI nail polish. In fact, Miss America, here I come! But this is not about what I want.
Some people turn to retail therapy, a chilled bottle of Jack, Bikram Yoga or even the animal-like act of hibernation when they need something to get them through the wild spins and topsy turvey road that we race our convertible of life down.
I regurgitate the burning feelings that stem from a broken heart, from the tossing and the turning of an overworked mind, from the monsters that play chess underneath my bed and keep me up late at night, into a piece of work that makes me continue on. I get by with a little help from my pen….
SO, human resource lady, who thinks you know who I am based on an application number and the amount of questions you can ask me while the time clock ticking down acts as background music, know that when you ask my why I want to be a writer, I will tell you something short and sweet. I will tell you it’s because words fascinate me and I enjoy the power they have on people and the world. I will tell you I have been reading ever since I figured out how to distinguish letters into words and then I started to write. I may even tell you about how I love to write about the awkward and embarrassing stings I have found myself in and how I hope they can inspire others.
And then, I will wait for your silence, for the tips of your fingers to stop dancing on the keyboard, writing down my precious answers, for you to say something generic and emotionless like, “I see” or “Okay, good” when I bet you really want to tell me to get out of this profession while I still can. Print is dying form of art–that is what people always try to say.
I will laugh and say something that I know you want to hear. Because I know you just won’t understand.