A Writer’s Plea for Reading

They say a woman’s job is never done. There’s the whole inherent sexism of our society, followed by marriage (or spinsterhood, I’m not one to judge) and then usually children (or many many cats if the spinsterhood thing is still an option) and then watching the kids grow up and run off. It’s a valid sentiment. Sure, it sounds a little condescending, but you get the gist.

What do they say about writers? Well, nothing really… the age of print is dying so we don’t get much credit here or there. Still, look how many movies people are watching. Of the three new releases coming out tomorrow, Charlie St. Cloud is based on a book and Dinner for Schmucks, which is based on The Diner Game is based on a play. The third? Well, Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore doesn’t look like it was based on anything but the inane ramblings of a three year old hopped up on cough syrup locked up in the same kennel as their dog, so I’m not sure if we’ll even count that one.

My point, after all that rambling, is that writers are too frequently discounted. The life of a writer isn’t easy and it’s damn near impossible to survive. I mean, forget the lousy pay and the plethora of rejection, let’s look at some of our best writers, shall we?

Ernest Hemingway? Killed himself and an alcoholic. Edgar Allan Poe? Drunkard, gambler, and still no one really knows how he died, although theories range from rabies (seriously?) to liver failure. Jack Keruouac? Inspired the beat movement and died penniless from alcoholism. Catch my drift?

Now I’m not saying that all of us writers are alcoholics and gamblers. I’m just saying that the writer’s lifestyle allows for plenty of stressors, but not much relief. I mean, sure there are those bestseller authors, but eventually it becomes more about the money than the craving to put pen to paper. Writers who are so firmly committed to their craft (and mind you, I’m not claiming to be one of them) frequently suffer for it.

Now I’m not saying this because it’s National Library Month or anything. Do we even have one of those? Anyways, I’m just saying this because writing day in and day out can be tiring. I love what I do otherwise I wouldn’t do it, but it’s pretty much a constant blow to the ego. You do it because you have to get it out of you, but there’s also this desire to be read, to be affirmed by the faceless, nameless readers of the internet. God knows I won’t get that validation any time soon, but hell, do it for yourself. Look around (and I’m not just saying my blog, it could be anyone’s) and who knows, you might find something worth reading.

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