Wednesday, July 09, 2003

I don't want to jinx this by saying how much it means to me. But I will say two things.

I've long since come to the conclusion that the only long term hope for the future resides in the young who want to learn how to do it all better. I'm hoping to at least pass along some of what I've learned and maybe some enthusiasm for learning and reading. I suppose I'm also trying to fulfill my genetic mandate in a different way.

This past Sunday's newspaper came with yet another dire warning that writing books is utter folly if you expect to make a living that way. I am personally urged to find something else to do. I wish I could, but what? I don't seem to be suited for much else. Everything else I can do, others have been pursuing careers doing all their lives, and they're looking for the same jobs. Plus all those employers who want your enthusiasm, your loyalty, your total commitment to their questionable or utterly boring activity. Your work is not enough, they must have your soul. If you'd rather not, there are always plenty of others ready and willing.

My worst moments are fearing that I have backed myself into a corner by sticking to this, but at the same time I have squandered the talent and potential I was given. I have failed to either make a decent living at writing, or to write anything transcendently good.

But life is what we do every day-some would say "also", some would insist "only." All I know is that one afternoon I was finally ready to start the actual draft of this sample chapter. I sat in the sun on the porch of Wildberries with my coffee, and on a yellow pad I wrote the first paragraph. And then I rewrote it, again and again, changing a few words, or maybe only one word, each time. And it was the happiest I've been.

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