|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
SCHEHERAZADE WAS THE ONLY ONE FORCED INTO IT
WHY WRITING IS AND ISN'T LIKE HOOKING FOR A LIVING.
350 years ago, Jean Baptiste Moliere said, "Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love. Then you do it for a few friends. Finally you do it for money." Of course, in light of what we know about human trafficking in the modern world, there are probably more people forced into the world's oldest profession then there are willing volunteers. It is the storytellers who freely prostrate themselves before the mass and offer up their hearts and souls for the slenderest of remittance. The only one we might forgive is the above mentioned Scheherazade who became the legendary teller of the tales of the Arabian Nights in a bid to keep her head attached to her comely neck.
The profession of writer isn't one we have any choice in. There is no such thing as, "I would like to be a writer." You either are or aren't. That simple. You were one before you could form the letters and sentences. You concocted your first stories in the oral tradition that existed long before the written word was crafted.
Your first stories were probably made up to impress the adults in your life with your precocious abilities. Oh, bathing in their kudos was heady. Later you became the weaver of imaginary worlds in which you and your friends conducted your games and make believe. None of this made you a "writer" but it laid the foundation.
Then one day you decide to submit your work to the broader, far less assured world of publications. You are more than likely stunned and shaken by the knowledge so many others vie for the attention of so few. It's even worse when your naked soul is rejected out of hand with a form letter. Not even a hand written, "Piss off!"
You might find yourself staring for a while at the dreaded WHITE ABYSS of the blank page or monitor, wondering if you can ever try this again. If you're a writer, you do. Over, and over, and over until someone says, "yes". And like the last girl on the corner in the middle of a rainy night, you say, "of course", no matter how paltry the payment. You've done it! You've broken into the trade.
Unlike the real world of hooking where a virginal shine is a sought after commodity, you soon discover that this market values the slightly frumpier patina of experience. So, you write more, hoping to drive your value higher. Even in those times when things seem to slip backwards, you can't help yourself. You're addicted.
Just like that other world of dreams for a price, there are the well compensated stars. These aren't necessarily the best performers, but they have learned where to climb in bed. If even this hasn't stopped you, sending you sobbing to some convent or monastery to spend the rest of your life in rigorous penance, then you are truly to be pitied, for you will indeed live the wastrel's role and undoubtedly be laid to rest beneath the epigraph, "Here lies one who wrote until the end. Take heed, lest you fall to writer's ways."
Meanwhile...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis