Here I am, living the dream.
I’m all alone, in a perfectly adequate hotel room, having just finished a modest dinner (perfectly adequate) in the hotel bar and now sitting at the desk in my room, typing away on whatever subject I see fit to commit to newsprint.
But it’s all a lie. I’m not really a writer, not anymore, though I like to think I can still arrange the alphabet in a pleasing enough way that it’s worth reading. The truth is that I don’t write that much anymore; I spend much more of my time planning, pontificating, coaching and doing math than that one thing I wanted to do more than anything else when I was first making my way.
I still write stuff, mind you. I write scripts for presentations and marketing plans and so many emails with so many exclamation points — not too many! But I don’t get to write the kinds of things that scratch the itch I’ve had since I was very young, the kinds of things that knock you on your ass when you take it in all at once.
I had it once, you know: I was just a writer, with a weekly column and a bunch of editors who took my pitches, years of knitting stories from string I gathered myself and innumerable hotel-room nights with nothing but me and my laptop and a pot of free coffee, typing my way through to the end.
I would say I didn’t know how good I had it, but that would also be a lie. I had dreamed of being just a writer since I was a kid. It took me 10 years to be able to earn enough through my journalism to quit the restaurant business, and another two to bring my freelance career to life. Professionally, it was everything I had ever wanted. Until I wanted more.
And now I dream of less.
Next month I’ll be doing some real reporting — the sports desk, not the consequential stuff, the stuff that forever changes everyone who reads it. But it’s enough, for now.
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