Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I have heard and read some version of this story so many times and in so many places that it can only be apocryphal. 

A famous author is invited to speak to a class of aspiring writers.  As the students hunch over their notebooks, breathlessly waiting to record every word of wisdom and advice, the author saunters to the rostrum (half drunk in most versions I have heard, a la Hemingway or Faulkner), fixes the audience in his steely stare, and asks, "How many of you want to be writers?"

Eager faces all nod and every hand shoots up to the sky.

"Then why aren't you home writing?"

At which point the author walks out of the room.

I don't know if this ever happened, just like I don't know whether some philosophy major was ever given a final exam that consisted only of the simple question, "Why?" wrote, "Why not?" and turned in his two word blue book to great acclaim.

Apocryphal or not, urban legend or not, the story speaks to me.  I have not been writing, quite simply, because I have been selling.  And selling.  And selling some more.  (And by the way, let me take this opportunity to apologize to every customer who has called simply to order some tree tubes and has spent the next half hour talking about oaks - whether they wanted to or not.)

My absence from writing also coincides with the winning streak of Northfield U10 soccer, proving what I have always said:  at this age it's all about coaching.

But it's time to get back to writing.  I have a huge back log of topics to cover.

Besides, if you can't trust career advice from a drunken, fictional author, whose advice can you trust?

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