I graduate college in less than one year. That in itself is terrifying beyond belief, since that is when I will have to start “adult-ing” for real. I’m not too worried about it, really, except for the whole “what are you going to do with the rest of your life,” question. This inquiry follows me everywhere like an annoying small child. It follows me to work, to dinner, to my favorite coffee shop… and then it comes home with me and nestles up to stay for a while.
From the beginning, when I saw the possibility of this awkward and uncomfortable question (with an answer people would almost positively not approve of) lurking around the corner, I promised myself I would not back down. I would not say what they wanted to hear (even though I’m not really sure what that is), but I would be completely honest. I would answer, “I want to be an author.” For the most part, I have kept to this promise. There have been a few days I didn’t want to deal with this conversation, so I just shrugged, said “good question,” and moved on, acting like I have no plans and no idea what I’m doing with my life. But I strive to not fall into a habit of that.
I am a writer. I am not magically going to become one when I graduate because I am a writer now. Hopefully, I will start making writing my career by the time I graduate, but that does not change the fact that I am writing currently. That does not change the fact that I am on the slow, anxious, and painstakingly windy road to publication, or the fact that I do, in fact, have a plan. I’m not sure how well some people understand that, yes, I do have back up plans if writing does not make me a sustainable wage at the start (they are, admittedly, shaky back up plans, but they exist nonetheless) and I will use them if I need to. I hope to not need to, since first and foremost, my end goal is to be an author for a living. And if that gets me reactions of suppressed laughter, half-hearted reassurances of “follow your dreams,” or a forced smile-and-nod, I’ll take it and run with it.
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Check out my poetry in Kentucky’s Best Emerging Poets and America’s Best Emerging Poets: