…the poets are at their windows
because it is their job for which
they are paid nothing every Friday afternoon.
“Monday” by Billy Collins
When my teacher friends found out I was quitting my job to write, they left their classrooms in droves to come and congratulate me. I think we all have a bit of vicarious wanderlust in us: a love of new jobs, new marriages, new babies, new cities, new experiences of all kinds.
“Oh, I am so excited that you get to write! What a luxury!” someone gushed.
This rubbed me a tiny bit wrong. Don’t misunderstand; I am incredibly grateful to the Lord (and my husband) for nudging me off this ledge. However, “Don’t get too excited. I still have bills to pay,” I said.
“No, don’t think that way!” my friend replied. “Just do your art for art’s sake.”
I have to reconcile myself with this issue, daily: I don’t want to sell out. But I am married to a teacher, and we have two kids. This is the reality of many artists.
Here’s where I’ve landed: my job is to diligently write and persistently market my work. All the rest — whether I get published, whether I get paid — is God’s job.
This seems like a fair division of labor. I am sure the poets at their windows understand perfectly.