For years, whenever anyone asked why I’m a writer, I’ve given the same answer: Because I can’t do anything else. And that’s mostly true. Everyone from my former teachers to the cashier at the bodega know I’m terrible at math. My memory isn’t worth the paper I write everything down on, so history and languages were never my strong suit either. I learned Italian solely because living in a city where English was sparsely spoken and never at the grocery meant I’d have starved otherwise. And the sciences? Well, I once set my sweater on fire in chemistry and my teacher let me retake an exam because I did so poorly the first time, he thought I must be sick. (I wasn’t).
So writing it was, and has been, for as long as I can remember. But it’s not just a profession of elimination. It’s a passion, and as cheesy and overused as that word has become, I don’t know any other for the thing that keeps me up at night and gets me up in the morning, and runs like a reel in the background of my mind all day long.
Tomorrow, I start a new job at The Cheat Sheet as a lifestyle writer. So tonight, I’m reflecting on how blessed I am to do for a living the same thing I do for fun – string words into sentences and those sentences into stories, hopefully for both my own and others’ amusement and edification.
I’ve been in love with stories since I was a kid, long before I could write my own. Even while language escaped me – and it did, for almost three years of remedial classes – I made up narratives in my head. As a kid, I drew comics that acted out the storylines running through my brain. The name is a misnomer; there usually wasn’t anything funny about the twisted, morbid stuff I came up with. I blame Disney. Bambi onward, my sense of justice and the nuclear family was never the same.
So many of my friends, family members, and even some former students either don’t know what they want to do for a living or haven’t found a way to do it. I’m in the lucky minority. I’ve always known, even before I understood what a career was, that this was it.
And so, I think it’s important to express some gratitude and a little awe that I’ve found a way to do what I’ve always wanted. We don’t stop and marvel enough, at how awesome it is that we have what we have sometimes. There’s so much wrong right now, in our country and our world, that I want to spend just a moment acknowledging what’s right. I’ve found a way to live in my passion, and that’s pretty darn cool.