Manic Monday: A Writer’s Life

I am calling this blog “Manic Monday” for two reasons. One is that it was my sister’s favorite song when I was a kid. She is thirteen years older than me, and I guess she liked the weekends around the house better than working at Hallmark. The other reason is that it is the perfect song to express the ordinary worker’s angst about her having a job to pay the bills and doing the things she truly loves. Most people, alas, tend to work jobs where the primary incentive is the money. Feminists talking about how great jobs are forget that while it is liberating to have your own income, having to juggle work with a home life is a heavy work load for most women. Don’t get me wrong. Women do it. Yet it is not really all glamor and glitz to work an ordinary job.

That is why I guess I have a person’s dream job: I am a writer. It involves creativity, whether in the actual process of writing and typing and editing or research for a work I am going to produce later on. These are the basics of writing: you write down ideas when you have them, and then you find a time to work on your “best” idea. After you have a story or poem (or book), you go to the computer and type it up, editing it as you write. I never go to the computer–except for blogging or writing journal entries–without something already hand-written, usually a felt tip pen on a yellow tablet of paper. The point is, I am doing what I love. It is more than “getting the bills paid.”

Alas, I have not gotten the bills paid well. I live with my mom. Yet I have one book published (The Bible According to Eve) and am waiting for another publisher to put out the three sequels. Will I make my fortune? Who knows. Yet this is not a 9-to-5 job. It is more hectic, more dangerous (what if I never make enough money to live?), and more exciting.

There are writers who need a cushion of a steady income to write. T.S. Eliot literally worked as a vacuum salesman, and–strangely–never wrote about his feelings about his work in any fictional thing he wrote. Other writers say they need the structure of work even while they write. They can’t just get up in the morning and start writing.

I am the other kind of writer: I need regular writing time, and if I come home tired from work I will only get so much writing done. This sounds selfish. Yet I remember when I was a kid, my Mom told my stepdad that she wanted to stay home to write. She worked as an English teacher at South High, and people rarely appreciate this: it is a lot of work to teach school, involving grading papers after coming home from rambunctious kids.

“Real writers write,” he said. “If you really wanted to write you could get up at 5:30 AM in the morning to write and then go to school to work afterwards.”

My theory is he just wanted the money from her job to pay off the mortgage.

So Mom didn’t get to write her book and Jim got his bills paid.

After that I am prepared to be selfish. Writing is a full time occupation for me, and I spend the bulk of my time either writing or doing research for it. The only exceptions are the weekends, when on Shabbat (Saturday) I go to shul (my synagogue) and loaf the rest of the day, and on Sundays, which I spend doing pleasure reading. My concession to niceness to Mom is grocery shopping online and fixing the food. Still, I am not a great housekeeper, and I spend the bulk of my time doing things I consider “creative.” My life is what I want it to be; I am never sorry when Monday comes.

Published by hadassahalderson

I am a professional author who lives in Wichita, KS. I went to Friends University and spent one year at Claremont Graduate University. My published work includes: The Bible According to Eve I-IV and Faust in Love.

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