lives of quiet desperation

Do you remember that Henry David Thoreau quote from Walden, “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation?”  

There are days when I feel like this, and I know that I have it pretty good.  Today I was reading an interview with a British author who has recently published his first nonfiction book–he has eight fiction books in print.

He was talking about how there wasn’t anything in his background that had given any hint of his being able to be a writer of such a calibre, except that his father, a government employee, had once responded on a form as to his occupation:  DRUDGERY.  Ah the pure simple poetry of it.

I love that response in the same kind of way that I love Thoreau’s quote.  So many of us are tied to jobs we loath for a variety of reasons:  can’t think of what else to do, money, kids, health insurance, lack of motivation, fear.  And while we might hate the job and hate our own inability to change, we just keep showing up day-after-day.  

I was thinking this morning that I’m a writer.  I was born to be a writer.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t have all these people and stories inside of me desperately wanting out.  Does it matter whether anyone ever reads what I write?  Do I have to be able to support myself with my writing to be a writer?  At the end of the day, I just want the people out of me and onto paper.  That sense of desperation disappears when I’m writing.  Mind you, it’s not when I’m published, although that’s nice, but when I’m writing.

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