Monday, July 06, 2009

A Career Change

So I have decided that I am just going to do it. I am changing my profession. From this point on, when somebody asks So..what do you do? I am no longer going to say "I'm a teacher." Instead...I am going to say "I'm a writer." Here's three reasons why:

(1) The Farrelly Brothers

The first reason I am doing this is because of one of my life mantras that I picked up from Dumb and Dumber, clearly, a deeply philosophical movie. While discussing the rules of a game of tag, Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) have the following conversation:

Lloyd: [nudges Harry] You're it.
Harry: [nudges Lloyd] You're it.
Lloyd: [nudges Harry] You're it, quitsies!
Harry: Anti-quitsies. [nudges Lloyd] You're it! Quitsies, no anti-quitsies, no startsies!
Lloyd: You can't do that!
Harry: Can too!
Lloyd: Cannot, stamped it!
Harry: Can too, double stamped it, no erasies!
Lloyd: Cannot, triple stamped it, no erasies, touch blue make it true. [puts his hands over his ears and sings]
Harry: No! No! You can't triple stamp a double stamp! You can't triple stamp a double stamp, Lloyd! You can't triple stamp a double stamp! LLOYD! LLOYD! You c--

What we learn here is that while this argument SEEMS childish and absurd, Lloyd is actually taking a powerful stand for what he believes in. He goes so far as to decree to his interlocutor "[You]Cannot, triple stamped it, no erasies, touch blue make it true. [puts his hands over his ears and sings]"

In sum, I don't care what you say. You have your truth. This is MY truth. I will not, in fact, cannot listen to your disagreement any longer.

I have touched blue, people. There is no going back now.

(2) I Don't Need to Show You the Money, Jerry.

I have asked and re-asked many, many people about this possible "change in employment" for the past week or so, and you know what? Congrats! Most responded as a good American should. They wanted me to show them the money. Or, more specifically, they asked:

What have you published?

Although the answer to that is a big, whopping nothing, that does not mean that writing cannot be my profession. One person in particular noted "It wasn't like Vincent Van Gogh made money while he was alive...but he was clearly an artist." And while I'm not 100% happy about being compared to a nut job, the sentiment is definitely there.

The difference in me now compared to let's say, a week ago when I started thinking about this "career change" is that I had only tried to publish one time in my life before last week. And you know why I previously tried? I was taking a creative writing class in college, and the "final" was to try and publish something.

So my nothing has been a very special nothing because I never tried. But I'm trying now...and money or not, that makes me a writer.

(3) Heart of Darkness

Like all people, I'm probably not 100% sane, but that's ok, right? What is sanity, anyway? Maybe it is pretending to be something you're not for the sake of others. I'm a writer because I'm looking for something. I haven't found it...yet.

I'm not a "literary quote" kind of guy, but this about sums it up:

I don't like work--no man does--but I like what is in the work--the chance to find yourself. Your own reality--for yourself not for others--what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means. -- Joseph Conrad.

I guess I just couldn't say it any more clearly than that.


Shasta said...

I give props to any use of the word "interlocutor." If I was a superhero, that would be my name: The Interlocutor. The Interlocutor kills with words. The Interlocutor doesn't do it for the money. The Interlocutor has a calling. If you want, you can be an Interlocutor too!

Manasse said...

I'm more of a lover.

ann marie said...

wait . . . now you're a lover? I thought the whole point of the blog was to serve as your inauguration as a writer. . .

Manasse said...

In order, this is what I am:

(1) Writer
(2) Lover
(3) Interlocutor
(4) Damn Sexy

Michelle Panik said...

Woo hoo! Good for you!

Ben Sherwood once told me that he used to go to readings, and when he was getting his book signed would say that he, too, was a writer. The writer would invariably look at him a little strangely, then smile and move on to the next customer.

Sherwood kept doing it, and advised me to do the same. And in all social situations, not just book signings. Now, I have the pleasure of advising you to take this same path that will surely solicit some funny looks.