People (by that I mean two people, my wife and one friend) keep asking me if I would want to do this for a living, this writing thing. 12 hours a day. 7 days a week. My answer is always the same, provided that doing so will somehow pay the bills.
A resounding yes.
Despite the social isolation (lessened by things like Messenger and Facebook), I think I would be a much healthier person overall. All the weird creatures that populate my frontal lobe would finally have a place to play. All the bizarre scenarios would be played out to my satisfaction. I could build the imaginary kingdoms and run around in them somewhere other than in my fractured dreams. I could go to Chapters and see myself with the people that I have idolized for years, and I could say: “I do that too. I make people happy too. I take them to fantastic new places and give them a respite from normal life. I make them feel something new.”
Neil Gaiman, one of those above-mentioned idols, puts it wonderfully in the introduction to Smoke and Mirrors:
“This is the kind of thing you wonder about when you make things up for a living. I remain unconvinced that it is the kind of activity that is a fit occupation for an adult, but it’s too late now: I seem to have a career that I enjoy which doesn’t involve getting up too early in the morning.”
“I’ll keep taking her to Miss Inglewood’s,” Morris said, upset to see the defeat in his wife’s shoulders. “I’ll make sure that she keeps to her trade, I promise you I will. I was drawn to silly things when I was a lad, silly stupid things like painting and drawing, but I learned how to take my part, I did.”
Mary shook her head, then turned to face her husband. “Oh Morris, you daft fool. I loved you because of those silly stupid things.” She reached up to the top shelf of one of the cupboards and took down a wooden box that Morris did not recognize. She wiped her hands carefully on a rag before opening it, and she treated the sheets of paper that she drew from it as though they might crumble to dust in her hands.
“I kept every one that you ever gave me,” she said, “and even some that you didn’t give me, ones that I found after you threw them away. I kept them to remind you of the things you loved before we grew old and learned how to ‘take our part.’” Mary spread the sketches out on the table, handling them with reverent care. “You loved your art, just like you loved that kitten, just like you love everything else that you put your big soft heart into. And Emily is just like you, Morris. She loves so deep and so hard that she doesn’t know she’s walking on broken glass.”