I just returned from a run over a bridge and back in the rain and I’m thinking about three things: The job I just started, the neighborhood I just moved to, and the essay that’s been haunting me since I started writing it in Ellen Litman’s creative writing class last fall.
The job is at a publishing company I interned at last summer. Someone resigned and I got a call. I got the internship because I knew someone. I got the job because I did a decent job of being an intern. I took the job because I want to work in publishing. I want to work in publishing because I want to work with books everyday. Specifically, I want to write books, but until I write my own, working with others’ will suffice. I pay 11 dollars to take two trains to and from work everyday. The first train is packed.
It is called the L Train and, unlike the G Train, it does not sound like a football player or a male porn star. Four schoolgirls squeeze into the train behind me (I now realize the end of the previous sentence and the beginning of this one come together in an unfortunate manner) and leave their fifth solemn friend on the platform. I get out, walk a block and get on the second train. It is nearly empty, so I pull out my book and read for 15 minutes, as I shoot under the Hudson River. It is strange to consider travelling under rivers.
The neighborhood I just moved to is supposed to be the most expensive place to live in the United States, but I found a closet to live in so I pay considerably less each month than the average person here. This is good because I make a very small amount of money. The reason this neighborhood is so expensive is that it’s a popular place to live. It’s a popular place to live because a bunch of artists moved here in the 90s and made it a fashionable place to live. That idea seeped into the minds of thousands of kids at liberal arts schools in subsequent years and the neighborhood became what it is now: overpriced but still pretty cool. There is a popular TV show on HBO about it. It is raining here. The show is about four 20 something year old girls who live here in this neighborhood.
The essay I’ve been writing for a year now is about my brothers. And it’s about wars, both physical and mental. And writing it is teaching my how to write again. I have never completely known how to write. I don’t think it is something that can be definitively learned. It is trial and error, though mostly error. Sometimes it is luck. When it is good, it is luck. You write shit for hours and hours, and then one line bursts out and turns your night into a success. But you must give yourself a chance to experience that luck. I’ve realized this rule of thumb applies to other things too, making writing a nice little metaphor for life.
After graduating it took me almost five months to find a job (I am not counting the job at a real estate company that is run out of a driving range shack). And the job I got is a good one. But I wouldn’t have gotten it without luck and I wouldn’t have had luck without giving myself a chance for it. So start writing and let yourself get lucky. And start working as soon as possible, because even though you probably don’t want to work once you graduate, you should give yourself a chance to get lucky and land a job so you can write on the side.