I was recently in St. Louis and went to church with a long time friend. As we were coming out, a mother, father and little boy were just ahead of us. The boy was about three, dressed nattily in a tie and crisp trousers, and over his mother’s shoulder, he was reaching for the church and crying. My friend said, “Must want somebody back there pretty bad.”
His mother gave a weary smile. “The drums,” she said.
Marcia said, “That’s a passion right there.”
Yes. Maybe even a vocation. That’s the thing about vocation, whether it’s a calling toward the church or the drums or to write—it’s something we love. Love, love, love. As a child, the budding scientist will spend every day all summer long out in the woods, examining bark or looking for insect specimens. The budding artist will paint and draw and collect paper and techniques with full-throated joy, delighted to have her work displayed everywhere in the house. The writer-to-be spins stories in whatever ways he can. I know a boy who has “written” an entire library of tales about one of his toy animals, because his mother was wise enough to help him transcribe the words as he drew the pictures. Is he going to be a writer? I don’t know. But he has the story jones, and the passion, that’s for sure.
What happens to that when we grow up? What happens when we are rewarded with doing the work we’ve dreamed of doing all of our lives?
Most of the working writers I know—me included—spend a lot of time complaining. How hard we work! How challenging it is to get the words on the page, the stories right, the words in the right order! Woeful are we, so engaged in the mighty struggle!