Got an exciting (okay, I'm easily excited by these things - sue me) e-mail from my lovely agent a few days ago. I know I should be calm because it isn't a commitment, just 'some interest' so far, but a publisher wants to see my non-fiction gift book for writers. I'm crossing my fingers, toes, eyes, tongue...
This path I've chosen is so precarious. I haven't seen a red cent from anything I've written thus far. The (very, very small) advance for Café au Lait is somewhere out there, wending its way toward me, I hope, and I've been told that the advances for the type of gift book I've compiled are likewise very small, but the books continue earning over a long period. So - I live in hope!
I've decided, though, that whether or not I'm ever able to turn my books into money that I can actually live on, or that can merely contribute in a meaningful way to my subsistence, I won't regret any of this. Not the years spent learning, writing, researching and polishing, not the friends I've made along the way, not the roller coaster of hope and despair, waiting and wondering, depression and euphoria. I love this life. I love not having a beaten path laid out with well worn ruts, not knowing exactly where any of my efforts will take me, not knowing if they'll take me anywhere at all.
I could've stuck with my old job. I would have had a secure income, though not one decent enough to afford me the things I'd like - like my own home, for instance. I would've had a secure pension, which would have kept me in a state of non-genteel poverty in later years. I could have had the boring predictability of knowing exactly where I'd be and what I'd be doing in any given year until I retired, tired and worn, drained and disillusioned, knowing that I'd lived my life by default.
The writing road has no guarantees. I work at a day job to support my writing, because the writing doesn't support me - yet. I could end up in a worse state financially than if I'd stuck with my teaching career.
So what's the big deal? This way, I'm doing what I love. I'm doing it the way I love to: my way. And my spirit? It has good days, and bad days, and in-between days. But it's free.