You were a jerk before…

Today in a conversation circle with my students, one of them asked me what I wanted to be doing with my life in two or three years. Typically my students ask me what my favorite food is and what my husband does, so I was surprised and pleased with the question. Usually I don’t say anything at all about my own writing to my students–heaven forbid they might ask what it’s about or something crazy.

But in the spirit of things I told them I wanted to be a published author. They were quite surprised, especially since most of them don’t know anyone who’s ever even thought of writing a book, muchless actually writing one. And I joked and said, “Maybe in a couple years you can go into Barnes & Noble and one of my books will be there.” I laughed and they all said they hoped so and we moved on to the next question.

But as I answered the question, I also thought–well, so what? I mean, I’m not giving up the dream. If we’re only going to strive for thigns that will radically improve our lives, then we might all just as well stop striving for anything right now. Not only does life go on after someone dies, life goes on after the big win too. Somewhere I read a similar idea–if you were a jerk before winning the gold, you’ll still be a jerk after.

So, a former student may very pick up my book, maybe buy it and show it to a few friends and say, “She was my English teacher. She was very tall.” (My students readily admit that my height is the first thing they tell their family back home about their English teacher when asked.) They might even read the book…and that will be that. Obviously, writing a novel has got to be about more than getting someone to buy the book.

How many novels are on your shelf that you’ve forgotten all about? Somebody may very well have poured their soul into that book, and now it’s collecting dust.

With that in mind, I’m off to work on the ending to my latest novel. If my purpose in life is to make dust-collectors–so be it.

4 thoughts on “You were a jerk before…

  1. I’d say that with most of the books I’ve read, they recur in my mind every now and then even if they weren’t among my favourites. I often have just a character or a scene pop up in my thoughts, and I remember the book fondly because of it.

  2. I actually cherish all my books no matter what, but I realize this is not true for everyone. Really, I’m trying to understand the desire to publish and the idea that it may not happen. Or it might. Then what?

  3. Wow! Existential! Pensive! I feel like I want to buy you a milkshake! People pour their souls into lots of things that other people discount or ignore. Businesses, novels, backyard landscapings. Other people just hoard up their souls, what little they have, and don’t do anything. Better to do.

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