Friday involved working in a different arena than usual — the sales floor. It’s a wonderful time to be up close and personal with the customer and lend my technical know-how. Yet, I am not used to being on my feet or running around for 8 hours at a time. So. At the conclusion of the day, I wanted nothing more than to sit.
However, I couldn’t go home to comfort for several more hours. I was at the mall, killing time before a book club meeting. I ran a few errands (while my legs squawked at the mistreatment) before at last walking through the doors of my most beloved store: Barnes & Noble. Yet, before I could succumb fully to a chair and reading material, I first had to check out all the new literary delights.
My pilgrimage ended at the magazine section where I hoped to find something suitable for spending the remaining hour. I glanced at the entertainment glossies, then the women’s interests section, and finally lifestyle. My eye happened upon Writer’s Digest, the print friend to a favorite website of mine (www.writersdigest.com) and my chief supplier for writing prompts. I had never, however, actually looked through one of their magazines.
I picked up the copy and settled in at a table. I noticed, though, that I hesitated before flipping back the cover. I think a subliminal fear was staying my hand: What if I don’t enjoy this magazine? Will that mean that I’ve lost my love for the craft? Or, will that mean that I never had it in the first place? Or maybe that I’m too lazy/dispassionate to pursue it?
It was only after I closed the back cover and replaced the magazine that I realized I had been afraid in the first place. How did I know? Because I was left feeling elated and a bit relieved, like I had been holding my breath and had at last exhaled.
I had devoured the magazine, eagerly reading the articles and taking mental notes of what I wanted to try or apply. I’d forgotten the browsing people around me, intent only on the writers and their stories of rejection and success. I wanted more than ever to do what they did, and in my mind’s eye I saw myself typing furiously away in front of a window shot through with sunbeams. I pictured what my agent would look like and how I would respond to my editor’s suggestions. I was living the dream, but it wasn’t these writer’s dreams — it was my dream.
I want this. It is my vision, my passion. And while, like any activity that requires effort to get going, it can be daunting or even difficult to begin, once I slip beneath the waters of imagination, I swim like a fish, completely and naturally in my element.
Perhaps–in keeping with the metaphor–the fish does not always feel an overwhelming enthusiasm for his swimming, but there is no question that it is for what he is designed, and if he were ever to lose the ability, he would surely miss it. I, too, would miss writing if ever it was taken away from me, and by that very realization, I know that it is my passion!