If I Had More Time I Might Be a Plumber

What compels the non writer to approach the writer and say things like “I’d write a book, too, if I had more time”? or “I should be a writer, but I don’t have the time.” What a flippant statement. It’s as though all writers work at dream jobs where they make oodles of money for dreaming.

When the plumber visits my home and lies on his back beneath my sink with tools I barely recognize, and twists pipes, pulls out hoses and gets dirty, I don’t say, “I would do that myself, but I’m too busy.”

A good friend of mine was taking a creating writing course as part of his political degree. He’s actually a great writer, especially memoir. He asked me to proofread and edit his personal essay. I was pleasantly envious of his piece called “Redwood Paddle.” He asked, “Why would you ever choose this as your career? It’s so hard.” I laughed, and said, “I didn’t. It chose me.”

Recently, a man I met kept inviting to his house. I said No repeatedly because I’m trying to finish my childhood memoir for a book contest. I told him, Writing is a matter of life and death for me. He said, “I wouldn’t say it’s a matter of life of death for me. I do it for work.” I wanted to say, “No shit.”

Writing is not a matter of life and death for the non writer. I don’t mean to sound snarky or elitist. But whatever your passion, whatever you do to get you through this thing called life–whether it be painting, farming, working with kids, quilting, cooking, social work, nursing, gardening, leather crafting, bead work, etc., Only you understand that love, that drive, that devotion, that calling, and why you desperately need to do it. I’ve been a writer since I was able to put letters on paper. Often I wish I was a plumber. But I just don’t have the time.


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