Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Real Reason Why I Don’t Just Go Get a Day Job

image So, ya’ know, with the health insurance and dying-to-have-a-baby things, there’s a whole new facet to the “Why don’t you just get a day job?” question.

Erica reminded me of one of the things I repeat ad nauseum to my students, and that reminded me of one of the main reasons I make the choices I make: sacred duty.

There are obstacles, and then there are messages from the universe.

When I got mono my last semester of my Bachelor’s of Music at CIM, I considered it an obstacle. When I was still struggling with CFS/FM seven years later (and still to this day a little bit, but I won’t admit this: I say I am cured), I started to consider it a sign from the universe.

I concluded that the universe wanted me to teach. I was very happy with this decision and informed the universe that it could have just gently told me so! (Well, okay, I probably would have been a vocal coach/accompanist, otherwise. When I get my eye fixed on a goal, I’m pretty much like a dog with a bone. I don’t look sideways, which sorta explains why I was writing for four or five years before I realized I wanted to write, LOL.)

Now the universe has told me I should write. I don’t know exactly how it told me this, but it did. After seven-plus years sick in bed with no energy to even think--trust me on this--YOU DO NOT DARE QUESTION THE UNIVERSE. You say, “I will do whatever you tell me do, just don’t put me back in bed, PLEASE.”

image So I write. I don’t think it matters whether or not I’m any good: I just know I’m supposed to write. I don’t worry overly much about where I'm going to be published. I don't care if I stay where I am or end up with NY. My job is to write the best stories I can.

I have neither cockiness nor a blind faith in my abilities; in fact, I believe I am a "made" writer instead of a talented one. I have faith that I can work and can improve, and I am completely comfortable with these facts. All doubts, insecurities and fears are completely beside the point.

The fact that I might look like an idiot for saying the universe told me to write? Again, it just doesn't matter.

All that matters is that I must write, that I have zero doubts. Every cell in my body is CERTAIN of it. My bones even tell me to write. You could reject me a thousand times over and I wouldn’t blink.

(Can you see why I loved Milla Jovovich‘s portrayal of Joan of Arc? No matter what, she knew what she was supposed to do, even though she was a little crazy about it, LOL.)

I find it ironic that I rejected a God who demanded blind obedience, and here I am fifteen years later, blindly obeying the universe. Or maybe I am blindly obeying myself, LOL.

Maybe my fate is not to get rich writing, and maybe I will only touch a few people with my stories. Maybe I will get much more money writing, and maybe I will be a bestseller featured on the front tables of bookstores. (Universe, are you listening? Do I get a say, here? I'd like the sort of advance Jude talks about, please!) Maybe my blog caused one person to vote for Obama, and that is the sole purpose for my entire existence on this earth.

It doesn’t matter. I will write. I will find a way to have babies, no matter the obstacles. These are my sacred duties, and imageI don’t dare violate them.

So why do you write? What do you have faith in? What are your sacred duties?

What do you blindly and unshakably believe, all else be damned?

32 bonus scribbles:

Anonymous,  2/04/2009 10:27:00 PM  

I believe in God. No, seriously. Not the theistic superhero sitting in the clouds kind of god, but the "God in whom we live and move and have our being." For me, that God is the Christian God, though I get that other people may experience God differently. Agnostics I truly don't understand. Really.

I believe I am where I am supposed to be. I do a lot of "what-if-ing" and "if-only-ing" in terms of my career, but as a SAHM (stay at home mom - mostly - I work PT from home) to an autistic son and a precocious daughter, I know, without a doubt, I am meant to be home with them, despite how much (really really much, and often) my brain disagrees.

I feel like I'm rambling. Am I rambling?

Look, a chicken!!

Robin 2/04/2009 11:02:00 PM  

Love the Joan of Arc images. Boy does she look determined!

I'm so sorry you had to go through all that illness, Spy. It's definitely a case of "bad things happen to the nicest people". I hate that.

I love to write, and I've written since I was a little girl, sharing my diary with my friends. We'd giggle and then go watch The Brady Bunch. But my true "calling" is my job. (I can't believe I'm saying this. Why won't anyone stop me?) I love people, and kids, and I've always wanted "to help", and I'll probably do this until I die.

Oh God! That was so sappy! Look! There's Aerin's chicken!

Charles Gramlich 2/04/2009 11:24:00 PM  

I definitely think people can learn to write, and I think your writing, what I've seen on the blog, is quite good. This piece really came together, for example.

As for duties, I tend to consider being a parent my major duty. Then a husband, and after that, my committment to my students. Everything else is choice.

spyscribbler 2/04/2009 11:42:00 PM  

Aerin, I had no idea you had a daughter! I tried to friend you on Goodreads, but it asked me your son's name and I didn't know it. I don't think you've mentioned either of them since I "met" you.

I always say I believe in belief more than I believe in what one chooses to believe. Anyway, LOL.

I keep going back and forth on what I should write next, what my path should be, what my goals should be. This is all silly, because in the end, there's a voice inside me that just does its own thing.

It is focused. It knows exactly where it's going. Sometimes I feel like I'm just along for the ride. :-)

You inspire rambling, Aerin, LOL! :-)

spyscribbler 2/04/2009 11:47:00 PM  

LOL, Robin, that or constipated! Awww, I think that is so cool about your calling. And Shrink Rap really fits in with your calling. It's great: funny, hilarious, and you can just feel your reassuring spirit in the book. I hope you write more books in that vein.

spyscribbler 2/04/2009 11:55:00 PM  

Charles, that is very cool. In conservatory, we used to play this ridiculous game: what would you give up for music? Would you be willing to lose an arm? A parent? Would you choose music or a man? Etc. It was ridiculous, because we don't get to make any of those choices. :-)

I feel like the universe made this particular choice for me. And if I'm a very good little writer, it will also allow me the joy of being a parent. Dear God I hope so.

Barbara Martin 2/05/2009 12:40:00 AM  

Life comes down to choices. Everyone in their life is provided a challenge, sometimes more than once. It is through choice one makes to overcome those challenges to allow one's soul to grow.

The message(s) Joan of Arc received in the movie seemed overly long, as divine messages tend to be brief: often no more than two short sentences, if that. Intuitive reception of divine messages are more telepathic as in just knowing what is required, such as yours were Spy. If you think on what path you are to write, the answer will be provided.

Eric Mayer,  2/05/2009 07:52:00 AM  

That's a dreadful illness. So you may be a "made" writer rather than a talented writer but you've certainly been through hell to get where you are. I have zero talent. I couldn't even get a story into my little college's literary magazine. It's not like I have managed to have any great success but, like you, I figure what success I've had I've made. I only wish I had your confidence though!

Pink Ink 2/05/2009 09:09:00 AM  

Spy, this is such a humble and beautiful post. I love your attitude.

I write because I love breathing a story to life. There's something exciting about escaping into another world and letting one's imagination fly...

Words are powerful and can be such a treat to the senses.

Erica Orloff 2/05/2009 09:13:00 AM  

Hi Spy:
Well, as you know, I have Crohn's disease . . . and so some choices were made for me by virtue of years of illness. But . . . I write because of some of that. I totally, totally "get" this post.

But on top of it . . . I believe being a mother is sacred. SO sacred . . . and I do whatever I can to make sure I am here for them first thing every morning . . . and after school, and when they want to talk . . . or cry . . . or have a question about math or God or life.



Lisa 2/05/2009 09:24:00 AM  

Sorry to hear about your illness. In regards to writting it really needs to be a blind passion! When you are in print. I'll buy
Can I blindly support cats? I just adore them and nothing sets me off more when I hear about people who dump their pets like they are disposable. (adopt a pet for their life providing you don't go first)
I wish I had blind faith in God
I still haven't given the writter thing a try I got distracted cheching out blogs

LurkerMonkey 2/05/2009 09:29:00 AM  

I could have written almost the same exact post, word for word ... I often joke that I wish I was born a nuclear physicist instead of a writer because at least that way I'd have a nicer house :)

Melanie Avila 2/05/2009 10:24:00 AM  

Spy, I'm glad you DID find your calling, I'm just sorry you had to go through years of illness to find it. For me it just took a move to another country and quitting my job.

spyscribbler 2/05/2009 11:57:00 AM  

Barbara, I'm a big believer in intuition. Honestly, I guide my life by that more than anything else. I don't know where they come from, but I trust them. :-)

spyscribbler 2/05/2009 12:01:00 PM  

Eric, I came across a diary entry I wrote in college. LOL! I had zero talent. Seriously. Ohmigosh, I really have no idea how I got from there to here, but I'm happy I did!

The one thing I've learned teaching is that talent doesn't matter much. I have more talented students fall short than average students excel to the top. The best girl in my studio has only a talent for learning, not really for music... but that can take her to the very top. I believe it will.

spyscribbler 2/05/2009 12:02:00 PM  

Jewel, so true! The power of words is awe-inspiring. Just look at how Obama used them to win the presidency. Words are amazing.

And watching a story come to life? SO much fun!

spyscribbler 2/05/2009 12:08:00 PM  

Aw, Erica, yes! My dad used to sit outside on folding chair, waiting for me when I got home from school. He wouldn't be doing ANYTHING. Not puttering in the garden or reading, as he was wont to do. He'd ONLY be waiting for me. That's it. Just sitting there watching the driveway. Of all the things he did, that was the most memorable and special.

PS: And so true about the illness. You know, there was a time when I would get one useful day every five or six weeks. I had to do everything important then. Then I had maybe two hours a day of usefulness. All that just gave me the belief that I can't waste a single moment doing something that doesn't align with my purpose in life. Time can run out.

spyscribbler 2/05/2009 12:12:00 PM  

Lisa, I know! One of my babies was abandoned. They were moving, so they just left him outside! I don't know how people do that. What really bothers me is people who declaw their cats then put them outside with nothing to defend themselves with! That should be outlawed!

spyscribbler 2/05/2009 12:13:00 PM  

Jon, wow, great to hear you say that. You know, I came very close to deleting this post, LOL!

I get your wish, for sure! Me too!

spyscribbler 2/05/2009 12:15:00 PM  

Hah! Melanie, you were being funny, right? "Just?" LOL! Having your normal life taken away does have a way of making you figure out what's important, you know?

Edie 2/05/2009 01:16:00 PM  

Spy, I googled your old illness. I'm so glad you're functioning and enjoying life now.

I'd like to say my sacred duty is writing, but if it was sacred I'd have to write profound things, wouldn't I? That's not what I do, though a few whispers of profundity might sneak into my pages.

Maybe my sacred duty is to learn how to learn what's important and to be a good person.

spyscribbler 2/05/2009 01:33:00 PM  

Oooh, Edie, I hope it doesn't meant I have to write profound things, LOL!

Oh that's beautiful. Yours is definitely a sacred duty. I need to make that mine. :-)

Zoe Winters 2/05/2009 04:21:00 PM  

I believe I'm meant to write too.

I believe Tom and I have shared lives before this one.

And I too, cannot work for other people. I have had 33 jobs in my life (I know you find that amusing, lol), but the major lesson it taught me was, I am not LAZY (every time I've worked for myself and pushed myself has proven that to me), but, I can't work for other people. Not unless the other option is living under a bridge.

Anonymous,  2/05/2009 07:02:00 PM  

I write because it beats sitting around watching TV while my brain turns to mush. Oh, there are also the stories I want to get out of my head, too. Seriously.

As for what I believe, I think everyone has the ability to accomplish anything they set their mind to. Whether it's the write a book or become a brain surgeon. I honestly believe that power lies within us. So, who are we to tell each other what we should or shouldn't be doing with our lives? Everyone is as different as the choices we make. In the end, WE need to feel good about them. The hell what others might think.

So, that's my philosophy for the day. ;-)

spyscribbler 2/05/2009 08:29:00 PM  

Zoe, it totally tickles me to death that you've worked 33 jobs! LOL!

I love you and Tom's story, too! :-)

spyscribbler 2/05/2009 08:34:00 PM  

It's a great philosophy, Marcia. I believe so, too. Have you been to Erica's blog today? You have to read her post today!

I have to get my stories out of my head, too. They'd drive me crazy! I am dead serious: before I started writing, I had insomnia EVERY NIGHT. It would take me hours to get to sleep. Once I finished my first story, I was shocked that my brain was quiet when I went to bed! It was wonderful! That alone is half the reason I write, LOL.

Jude Hardin 2/05/2009 10:16:00 PM  

I abandoned writing for many years, and now I'm trying to play catch-up. It feels right, though. It feels like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

Excellent post, Natasha.

Barbara Martin 2/05/2009 10:38:00 PM  

Spy, then use your intuition for your guide. You're doing well in getting the message out.

spyscribbler 2/06/2009 11:20:00 AM  

Jude, I feel like I'm always playing catch-up, even when I haven't abandoned it! But your story brings to mind that quote about setting a bird free, and if it comes back to you, it's truly yours, but if it doesn't, it was never yours to begin with.

spyscribbler 2/06/2009 11:20:00 AM  

Barbara, I'm big on intuition, LOL!

Anonymous,  2/06/2009 11:49:00 AM  


(on the subject of cats. the above phrase is from one of the kittens we just adopted from the shelter. they have really terrible spelling skills - we are working on it.)

Anonymous,  2/06/2009 11:54:00 AM  

oh, spy, I just try to protect my kidlings online - email me? And I'll tell you his name for Goodreads - and, are you on Facebook??

aerinblogs AT aol DOT com