I believe I have written enough material in the past year and change to officially consider myself a ‘writer’. When I think of what a writer is, I invoke visions of villas in countries I’ve never been to, interviews where I wax poetic with people I pretend to like, wicked prose, or a keyboard drowned in aged whiskey. So it was a surprise to me when, 15ish months after buying a keyboard and starting this blog as well as my first book, that I am still at home. I am shirtless in a pair of gym shorts. I am pasty and I now have a bit of a belly that hangs over said shorts. I have a cup of coffee and I can’t confidently drink whiskey without coughing. At least I have a desk, one that is slowly accumulating books I have yet to read.
My life as an artist (like giving yourself a nickname, I cringe using that term) is, admittedly, dull. I haven’t been to war nor am I a grad school philosophy prodigy. I am Kerouacian only in the sense that I am looking for something unsearchable. I live at home with my parents. I work full-time during the week and write in the mornings and on occasional weekends. I save all my reading for when I get home from work. I average a book every week or so. If I could do writing full-time, I probably would. You won’t see me in the Times or the New Yorker. Not this decade, at least.
I have a lot to learn. I still don’t quite have the focus to market this blog as anything other than a writing project to keep me on my toes. My most viewed blog post has about 700 views. My book is coming along but it is only a draft, but at least it is on paper. I got into writing by poetry. I haven’t read enough poetry lately to create a poem I would be happy with. I keep Billy Collins’s Horoscopes For The Dead in my work bag for breaks, but I haven’t cracked it open in a couple weeks.
But forget all the buts. While I don’t meet the writerly expectations I have crafted in my head, and while Iowa or Hunter College or NYU would probably be appalled by my sentence structure, and while my first book my never be read, at least I’m doing something. Writing isn’t my job, but I at least have a job that provides me with the time to write. Through this blog, my book, and other side projects, I probably average a few thousand words each week. While Arthur Rimbaud stopped writing at 21, Don Delillo didn’t start writing until his 20s. I may not be a traveler, or have an encyclopedia for a brain, but I have a desk, a computer, books, and the experience to craft something that somebody can relate to.