And Of Course Mom Was Right!
In my essay about my Mom’s advice (“Beyond Clean Underwear”), I quoted my Mother’s career advice:
“Be as creative as you want, but also develop a skill to fall back on. I’ve never seen a want-ad for a poet.”
She said this to me in my junior year of college. I had just received a third place award in the Wallace Stevens poetry contest at the University of Connecticut.
It was a crazy irony that she should say that. Wallace Stevens, the deservedly celebrated poet, never gave up his day job. He was a Hartford insurance executive.
I knew I was a writer. But Mom (and Wally) were no dummies. So after I finished my English degree – which I stretched for almost six years, being in no hurry to enter the real world – I got a bookkeeping job and eventually an M.B.A.
And Accounting (to quote SNL’s Chico Escuela) has been berry berry good to me.
But now I’m just a few years from retirement. And I plan to do a lot of writing. (And fishing.)
If I want to actually make money with my writing, or even have a prayer to get published, I’ll have to reconsider poetry, though.
Because I just spent a few hours at Barnes and Noble.
Oh, the books!
Row after row of Biography, Mysteries, Romance, Cookbooks, Children’s Picture Books, Sports, Religion.
Take your choice. Whatever you want.
Most especially if what you want are teenage vampires.
And I went through all these aisles looking for what certainly would be the equally enormous and extraordinary collection of Poetry.
And twelve minutes into my search I found it: