The area I live in has a large, active Writer’s Guild, and I attended a meeting the other night for the first time. It’s hard to say what was holding me back for so many years because I consider myself a writer in the same way that a mother considers herself a mom even though she may not have photos of her creations on her at the moment.
Years ago, I had a conversation with a friend we’ll call betty’s sister, who was visiting the old Brooklyn neighborhood from her adopted state of California. At the time, I was writing for a newspaper and frustrated with the lack of creativity involved in covering school board meetings. Sister was working as a pastry chef in a Southern California avocado-colored, dude-friendly, high-end bakery, and likewise feeling suffocated.
We were eating some of the indescribably delicious confections she had prepared for the occasion, and I asked her why she didn’t just leave the ungrateful bakery and find something that would challenge her talents more. Sister leaned in so close I could smell the chocolate on her breath and said, “I’m afraid people might find out I’m a fraud.”
My mouth dropped open, which must have been gross since it was full of marzipan, and I gasped, “What? What are you saying? You’re an amazing baker. Everyone knows that. How could you not know that?” To which she replied in a caring voice, “And I’ve read your writing. Why are you still at the paper?”
It doesn’t take much to get me thinking, and that question set me off and running. Why was I still there? The pay was lousy, the staff turnover was so relentless it was like trying to get dressed in a wind tunnel, and my articles could be cut for space to the point they were unrecognizable. To say nothing of which there are very few evocative adjectives you can use in a story about bond discussions at a town hall meeting. Even lively discussions.
The leap from being routinely edited to creating a website where I control the content did not occur overnight. Almost a decade passed. In that time, I worked for an Easter egg company (yeah, you heard right), dabbled in the career I’m now chasing for a degree, and helped run a family business after my parents’ death. But the writing never stopped. After two and a half years of blogging, I’ve come to believe that your passion is still your passion even if you don’t have the big paycheck to show for it. It can feel just as good to dance in the dark.
What about Sister, you ask? In that same decade, she went back to school for a degree and then taught a while in her field. She baked wedding cakes that were works of art, and one of them was for Husband and me. She changed jobs twice and got more respect and better pay. And this year, a huge company that everyone’s heard of hired her onto its creative development team and relocated her to a new state. All my friends should be such frauds.
Daughter’s Featured Fotos illustrate Negative Thoughts