Tonight I saw Alice Peacock perform. She’s a Chicago singer/songwriter who’s done pretty well for herself. From her performance I understand why.
As I was watching her I thought “this is what she’s meant to do.” Her pitch was perfect. She was a natural. I couldn’t imagine her doing anything else. And I doubt she can either.
It got me to thinking: am I doing what I’m meant to do? Do I even know what that is?
When I was ten I knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I’d already become quite the little bookworm and had burrowed my way through stories and tales and was working my way up to tomes. I loved how words organized in a certain way could transport you to another time or place. It wasn’t that I didn’t like my life. My parents were loving; my brother was annoying; all was the way it should be. But the printed word opened a whole new world. A world that I learned was fake. It wasn’t real. Somebody made it up.
Somebody made it up.
“I can do that!” I thought. “I can make a world that’s like mine but better. Or wait – I can make a world that’s completely different from mine, but better. Or, I can make a world that’s completely different from mine but worse, and that will make my own world seem so much better.” And on and on.
What a fascinating world of possibilities I’d opened up. What an exciting world I’d discovered. And it was all mine!
The trick was to put it in writing, and at ten years old that’s a daunting task. So, it went the way of the lunch box and the hand-me-downs and the crush on the cute guy in the second row, three seats back. I learned how to make an electric current flow through a potato. I learned cosigns and tangents. I learned vini vidi vici and how to spell ennui and drum majored the band and practiced Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto until Indiana University thought I’d make a good addition to their clarinet section.
Fast forward to now. I’m a publisher. My first instinct was to say “of sorts” because it’s online, but that’s a load of crap. I AM a publisher. I write I post and people read it, and not just my aunt or my cousin or my brother. I have contributors who write posts and people read them, and not just their aunts or their cousins or their siblings. I am a publisher.
But am I doing what I’m meant do do?
Good question. Over the years the definition has morphed. I’ve learned that I love making people happy and I love helping them figure out where to go. Part of the way I do that is through writing.
But I want to do more with my writing. I want to pay attention to people and how they interact with each other and document humanity. I’m no longer so concerned with being able to “make it up”. I know enough people who do that on a regular basis that it doesn’t hold any appeal. Instead, I find the reality so intriguing and interesting that it’s more than worthy of being captured in prose.
Is this what I’m supposed to do?