2017-11-28

Moby Ryan

I need to write more.

I need to write more because I want to be a writer. I met a role model of mine recently, and he suggested that I consider writing. It was an inspirational suggestion, but I hasten to add that I have long wanted to be a writer. Indeed, I've been writing this blog and contributing contributions here and there for a long time. But I've never been a writer.

When people think about becoming writers, I think their minds subconsciously vector toward that image of a bearded, greying alcoholic with a brown sport coat and crippling depression. Also, someone who is poor and hard-lived. I don't want to be that kind of writer.

I also don't want to be a professional writer. I already make money doing something well enough that I can pay my bills doing it. I don't need a new job. That's not why I want to be a writer.

I also don't want to be a writer to turn myself into the next J.K. Rowling, nor even into the next Kurt Vonnegut, or the next whoever-is-supposed-to-be-the-writer-we-all-aspire-to-be. I don't want to write the Great American Anything.

I started re-reading Moby Dick. I'm reading it with my daughter at night, before she goes to sleep. She's too young to understand it, but where else is she going to hear that kind of prose? She shouldn't have to wait until her teens to hear beautiful language like that. Anyway, she sometimes resists her bedtime, and so long as I'm coaxing her back into bed, I may as well get something out of it myself. I want to read Moby Dick. It's a wonderful book.

I read on Wikipedia that Herman Melville made practically no money from writing, and that he eventually retired from it once someone had secured for him a good, steady job doing something else. I don't want to overly romanticize it, but I find it encouraging that such a brilliant writer could create his masterpiece mostly for the love of it. It must have hurt that nobody loved it while he was still alive, but it's still a masterpiece.

I want to be that kind of writer. I want to be the kind of writer who produces a masterpiece, whether anyone reads it or not. I want to write for me.

So I'll start by writing some more blog posts. I'll practice. I'll practice covering economic topics, like I used to. I'll practice my prose. I'll practice my story-telling. And I'll keep writing my book outlines, which currently number in the dozen or so and are stowed safely in a private place.

One day, with practice, I might actually succeed in becoming a writer, and that will be an accomplishment.