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I'm most recently a writer.  In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot.  As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades.  An unwilling transplant from the South,  twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US.  Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect.  When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do.  Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

What Gain. . .?

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:  Ecclesiates 3:1

You probably know the verses.  You've at least heard the song.  You know about a time to be born and a time to die, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time for war and a time for peace, and so on.  The final verse is a more practical question.  What gain has the worker from his toil?

Much like life itself, Ecclesiastes is filled with deep, mysterious and often rhetorical questions, ideas to ponder without any guarantee of a straight answer.  Something of a downer, right?

On the other hand, those questions leave open the opportunity to test first one and then the other possibility.  Is this my time to put down roots, or to pull up and start again somewhere else?  What if I'm close to tears tonight, there may be something to laugh about tomorrow, there usually is.  Even in the midst of mourning, there is cause to dance, to celebrate a life well-lived.  Heavy stuff, but then heavy happens, even in the best of times.

The question the song leaves out, that final point about gain, is the one on my mind just now.  We work for a variety of reasons.  First of all to survive, to provide the essentials.  With luck, we work at something we enjoy, something which brings satisfaction along with the paycheck.  We work for a sense of self-worth, for the knowledge that at the end of the day we contributed our share. Maybe we work to keep away boredom, to be in the company of others, or just because working is what we've always done.  Plenty of retirees go right on working at some kind of job, paid or otherwise, because it would seem unnatural to stop. 

As you know if you've been here before, I've tried my hand at a lot of different things. (Check out Career Option{al} in February's archive.) These days, I'm working at being the best writer I can be.  It's a sometimes lonely job, one with unreliable pay and intermittent gratification.  I get discouraged--the majority of writers are pretty easily discouraged, from what I hear.  Then something comes along to give me hope, to restore my faith in what I've done.  Not necessarily more sales, although those are nice.  What really does it for me is the realization that someone has finished one book in the series and come back to get another.  Or those magical moments when someone I'll never meet face to face takes the time to contact me, to let me know they've enjoyed my work.

I'm not hoping to get rich or become famous. That was never my goal.  If I had a goal at the beginning of this journey, it was to finish something I started all those years ago.  Just to put words on paper.  It grew into something bigger and much scarier when I put those words out where they might actually be read.  This seems to be my time to sow, but I'm still not sure what I hope to reap from this venture.  What do I hope to gain from my time as a writer?

The answer is pretty simple, now that I think about it.  I hope to touch someone, to make them think or feel something.  I hope to move them to laughter or tears, or leave them with a little sigh of satisfaction when they reach the final page.  I know what reading has done for me all my life, the places it's taken me and the ideas it's planted.  Some of the simplest stories have left me with the most profound impressions.  If I can do that for even a few readers with these little books, I should be satisfied, shouldn't I?  The other possibility, that eventually a lot of readers will find something to enjoy, is one I can always dream about.  In the meantime, I'll be content to thankfully accept whatever this season brings and look forward hopefully to the next.

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