Cruel Profession

Writing can be a joy; a splendid way to fill the writer’s needs and give him a sense of satisfaction and purpose. But it can also be a cruel profession: it can crawl under the skin like venom, slowly attacking the brain and the senses. One’s life becomes dependent on it; the moment it stops, the person ceases to exist and his soul drops dead.

Writing is special that way: it can make or break a person. It can raise a man’s soul from the ashes and place him among the stars, or it can serve him the cruelest of fates and erase his name from the light.

But writing is a necessity. Such is its power and influence over man that it has become simply essential to his well-being.

As I write these lines I can’t help but think about it; writing is one of the two most important things in my life. I look over my shoulder and see the other: a half-empty bottle of beer lying there on the table, waiting for me to suck on it.

Alcohol and writing are all a man needs to survive. They complement each other nicely. One of them is bitter, addicting and can drive a man crazy. The other is booze that can ease the tensions caused by its counterpart.

But there is much more to writing than this. Above all, it is an oath, a sacrificial rite that one must bear for the rest of his life. It sentences a man to uselessness and robs him of every shred of greatness he possesses.

It becomes an addiction, a folly that man cannot live with or without.

Whenever I sit there and drink I feel there is something missing – I feel a uselessness upon not writing. Writing has become synonymous to productivity in my eyes.

But it is a cruel profession, yes. For whenever I write I cannot help but feel the same uselessness; I cannot help myself but ask how far my writing will make it. Will it go beyond these white pages sitting on my laptop screen? I hardly think so. Will it go on to be renowned, quoted, published and make me a famous man or at least enable me to make a living? I doubt it.

That is the true conundrum of writing. The inescapable route one ventures on every time he enters in contact with the profession. And by the time man realizes his place in this vicious cycle, it is already too late to turn back and abandon this dark road.

I cannot help it. After all, my only solace is my interaction with my art, with myself.

Creativity is what keeps man alive.

The soul has a certain thirst that only art can quench, certain wishes writing alone can grant.

I finish my beer. I look outside my room window. It is that time of day again, that hour when I must reluctantly type my lines, delicately, carefully, so as to contribute my share of art for the day.

I take pleasure in doing it. You don’t believe me? But I am speaking to you through my art at this very moment. And you, reader, take pleasure in reading it. It takes a great deal of effort and desire to come thus far in writing a page or two – ask all the great writers if you don’t take my word for it.

But how do they all do it? How do the greats produce and keep on producing without ever uttering a single cry of despair, agony or complaint?

It is beyond me.

But then again, so is writing as a whole. As a profession, an art, a lifestyle.

I open another bottle. How sweet and delightful the taste of booze, that which does not cheat me or trick me or fill me with false aspirations! Just a succession of drops that inflate my dreams of big-time writing! The rest of my misery – the rest of my sorrow, pain and ecstasy – I owe it to writing.

Sweet, bitter writing. I chase you like a fair maiden running wild in the prairie. I know I will never catch you but there is beauty and hope in the attempt. You make me want to put in the effort, the extra hours, the extra booze, the insomnia, the cynicism, the solitude, the deprivation of life.

And how then will I ever repay thee? By signing my name in gold, of course! By honoring your craft and being worthy of your gift!

But even that is up to you.

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