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Last week, when I went

Last week, when I went to see David Sedaris, someone in the audience asked him if he always knew he was a writer and if he had been doing it his whole life. He responded by saying that he hadn't grown up with it at all, but for a while he had a job picking apples or something like that, and as a result was travelling all the time. He liked writing letters to friends, but since he didn't have an address, they couldn't reply. So one day, at a restaurant, he flipped over the plastic placemat and started writing what was essentially a letter to himself. He kept this up for a while and eventually bought himself a notebook and has been writing every day since. He described the discovery as being like that of an alcoholic who spends his whole life never drinking. Then, one day, he has a drink...and everything makes sense. It's like, "Oh yeah...this is what I'm supposed to be doing. Of course, in true Sedaris fashion this statement is both sick and funny. Like life.

So you're asking yourself, "Self, what's her point?"

Here's my point: I think maybe I'm supposed to write. Like for a living or something. It just feels right; it's this thing I can just do. Of course, some may argue over how well I do it, but that's another argument altogether. Actually, no it's not. It's an argument for right now. It's actually not an argument at all, because if you think my writing sucks then you can either give me some constructive criticism, or you can stop reading it. In response, I can either take the criticism, or ignore it. It's really that simple.

When I write I just do it. It's completely and totally ordinary. What blows my mind is that people respond to it in an extraordinary way: they seem to like it. Either that, or they're blowing smoke up my ass. Frankly, I appreciate it either way. The dilemma (Come on...this is me! Of course there has to be a dilemma involved.) is that I think I've been avoiding the writing thing for two major reasons:

1) I'm scared to use something I enjoy as a way to make money, fearing that the capitalist aspect of the activity will cause me to like it less.

2) I'm a Capricorn, and the oldest child, so I want to be the boss of you. I keep thinking I want to run the show, when in reality I think I just want the task of writing.

These are obviously shortened and simplified versions of my self-doubts, but the point is that I think I've been going up one mountain and now that I've gotten to a certain height I realize I'm on the wrong peak.

Ready to bring this full-circle? Let's go: starting this blog has been the equivalent of David Sedaris' story about the alcoholic. Now that I've started writing almost every day, I feel like this is something I'm supposed to do.

*This post in no way supports the abuse of alcoholic beverages by minors or the Irish.

Posted May 1, 2002 12:27 AM | On This Day: 2003