Important things are happening. Important changes are being made. Roadblocks knocked through at 2 am, light breaking at 7, coffee spilled at 8.
I just sat through my last class where my favorite professor did his routine lesson of breaking down a piece into fragments, dissecting every decision, transition, every element of craft. This last time it was Didion, Marrying Absurd, and I couldn’t stop smiling. The way he explains it. The way he gets so excited. This man, all 6 foot 4 of him, writer of historical fiction, disciple of Kafka, enemy of the exclamation mark, swinging out his arms, his exaltations, imploring us to understand, to care, to pay attention, to give a shit. To get fucking excited about the art of language or to get the hell out of this profession.
It was the very last time I got to sit through it, and feel it, and listen to him speak and let it pull me up to the highest places of hope, and I sat there, and I felt it. But today, I knew, this was the last time I was going to need it.
I know that the world of writing isn’t all romance and beautiful language. I know there’s so much more of an underbelly than that. An indifferent industry, no one is special, you pitch your own name and you wait and you wait and edit and you wait. I’m not delusional, I’m going to be working in social media professionally, and probably for a long time, but right now, today, this morning, I felt like I was finally ready to do writing on my own. To make something on the side, on the weekends, in some ray of light laying on a wood floor that I really care about. The real work. To tread through this tangle of craft by myself. Successful or not, I’m prepared to take it on, alone.
I’ve been helped. I’ve been blessed. I’ve been in the right place at the right time, but god damn, I’ve also worked so fucking hard to get to where I am.
I’ve always felt like a baby in metaphorical adult clothing, looking at all the kids around me who sit in these same tiny grey school desks that fold over us like seatbelts, barely large enough for a laptop. I looked around today at all of it and couldn’t help thinking with every second that this is almost over. It’s almost all over.
And so the rest of it must be self perpetuated. It must be learned alone. But I’ve come so far in the last four years. Pared down the mess of flowers in my head to something streamlined and vital. To something more pointed, crafted, economic.
I can do this on my own now. I can rely on my head and my hands and my ear. But never will I forget the people in my life that taught me how.