Rob read my post on the whole class/teacher license thing the other day and said,
“It’s interesting that you didn’t once mention writing.”
And I hadn’t because I was grappling with the whole safety net thing – again – but also, I am not sure that a person can really make a living writing. It seems to me that there are mid-list genre writers who make decent livings and there are the sacred cows on the bestseller lists who get published regardless of the quality of their latest offering and then everyone else writes in addition to conducting workshops, running literary magazines, editing, being an agent, or teaching.
I have a writing gig at 50 Something and it pays me exactly nothing. I have an offer on the table for a slot on a new education blog which will also net me about nothing. Okay, there are bylines involved and a publishing credit isn’t nothing, but they don’t pay bills or buy stuff – not that I am much into the accumulation of stuff anymore, but you know what I mean.
Shaking the idea that marriage eventually leads all women to the food bank is difficult. Especially for me. I have never in my life not been the breadwinner. I believed all those feminists who said that a woman should always have a job because taking any time away from the workplace is the first step on the path to doom.
Now you’re thinking – how did we get from writing as a so-so career to a feminist manifesto on traditional marriages being the ruin of women?
I was reading a review of that new tv show The Good Wife and the reviewer insisted it was about the dangers women face when they buy into the idea that they can come and go from the workplace easily and without penalty. I am two years out of the workplace now. I am not accumulating points for Social Security. My pension is simply clocking interest rather than contributions from me and my former employer. I don’t have current references regarding my work ethic or ability. I don’t know anyone in the “business” here and so don’t have contacts. My logical mind tells me this is all bad. This is not what I was raised to do. I was taught better.
But, I like staying home. I am happier as just a housewife than I ever was teaching despite the fact that I am quite passionate about education and that I don’t much care for being the keeper of Dee’s schedule and the organizer of her social life. And I wonder just what I am giving up by accepting the fact that I will not attain the lofty pay heights I knew in my last years of teaching. Are feminists more concerned with the stuff of the standard of living than the living part of it? Life doesn’t lose meaning when shopping is needs rather than wants based, does it?
So, writing. I am working on the memoir. It is slow because the beginning chapters are all about Will and caretaking and how dementia kills a marriage and then it shifts to the even cheery dead husband stuff. I will finish the first half by Halloween and the second – more cheery meeting Rob and falling in love again stuff – by year’s end. Then query and look for agent and …. you know.
I don’t know if this book will make me a writer or just someone who wrote a book. I worry that it will change my life in a way I am not prepared for which is probably another reason why I focus on details like classes and licenses rather than think about being a writer.
Anyway, I am off to writing group. I finally found one that meets during the day.