Recovering from my knee surgery these past few weeks puts gratitude for health at the top of my list, and I’m sure most of you feel the same way.
However, writing as a vocation is a close second. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, “always” being from the age of five. My sister, who was three years older, went to school first and then came home and taught me what she’d learned. On those cold winter afternoons in Illinois, we huddled in our attic “hideaway” with books and paper dolls. Then make our dolls act out the scenes in the books.
As soon as I could read, I found my calling and, luckily the public library was only four blocks from our house. I walked there, assembled as many books as they’d let me check out, and then walked home, reading as I went, from the open top book on my pile. Somehow I managed to go up and down curbs and cross the streets without being struck by cars. But then, there were fewer of them in those days.
This past weekend I participated in a local Arts & Crafts Fair where my writing club has a table for members to sign and sell their books. That’s where I get the greatest payback of having this for my career. A Fair customer bought my novel, THE ITALIAN JOB, on Friday and came back Saturday morning to say she couldn’t put it down and finished reading the book that night. Nirvana!
My other reasons for loving what I do:
* Making up stories for my characters to act out, especially seemingly insurmountable problems for them to solve. As another writer has said, “I tell lies for a living. What’s better than that?”
* Being able to “play God” with my characters, and have no qualms about killing off the bad ones. Sue Grafton said she wrote her first mystery in order to kill off an ex-husband on paper instead of real life.
* Telling people I’m a writer (when they ask what I do) and having a website to send them to.
* Getting plot ideas in the middle of the night, when other people might have insomnia.
* No need to dress up in heels and makeup. I can work in pajamas and fuzzy slippers if I want to. With chocolate close at hand.
* Getting help from other writers, especially critique partners. Writers are the most generous people in the world.
* I’m “in the black” financially. True, it doesn’t support me, but this “hobby” has paid for itself and hasn’t taken any money out of the family budget. At the next income tax time, I expect to owe the IRS a little bit, so at least my earnings are going in the right direction.
Thanksgiving? My cup runneth over.