By Alex Gordon
My professors always told me: when all else fails, write what you know. Right now, all I know is work. I am consumed by the idea of it, and what it really means to a person.
My father, the consummate businessman, says most people, generally, do not enjoy what they do; rather, they enjoy what it brings them: a hot car, a big house and, for some, ski vacations in Colorado. Few actually do what they love and even fewer make money while doing it.
Although I would normally deem this shallow and equate it with the negative aspects of capitalism and consumerism, I am for the first time in my life considering the validity of such statements.
Last month I spoke on realism and I have a sneaking suspicion that whatever I am about to say will inevitably lead back to it because the idealism that I have clung to for so long (heightened by my studying Literature) just does not seem to work after graduation.
I cannot afford to sit in a room writing poetry all day long. I am forced to sit at a desk from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., click a keyboard, squint at a screen and wait for the hour when I can return to my room. Why, because every Wednesday I get a paycheck.
I will admit, with much embarrassment, that Wednesday is increasingly becoming my favorite day of the week. I use “embarrassment” because I had rigidly believed for the last 24 years that what I did would always be more important than what it brought me. Now, I hate my day job, love my paycheck, and sit in my room at night not writing poetry, but whatever I think is most marketable right now.
Does this somehow make me less of a true writer or person? Are my passions shallow? Or am I becoming practical?
Last week I spoke to a classical musician who was having a particularly bad day because “reality was hitting.” Although this man is extremely talented with a potentially strong career ahead of him, he spent the day wondering how in the hell he was going to make money. That made me feel better.