It’s become a regular habit of mine to write on my lunch break at the day job. Almost every weekday (aside from Wednesdays because that’s new comic book day), I take my hour in one of the empty conference rooms at the office and put pen to paper. I write until my fingers hurt. I write until the big clock on the wall tells me it’s 1:59 pm. I write until my brain’s burnt out from the adrenaline rush of cramming creativity into a one-hour block during the day when I’m not managing an email marketing campaign, polishing off some freelance project, making dinner, spending time with the wife, going through submissions for Literary Orphans, putting together the next issue of Literary Orphans, preparing lunch for tomorrow, or running an errand to keep the homestead in order.
No one says being an adult is easy, and I’m not complaining that it isn’t. If anything, trying to build a career and a family, all while holding on to that dream of writing for an audience of more than one, has taught me some much-needed respect. When I go into one of those empty conference rooms each day for my lunch break, I don’t go in alone. There are a handful of others I occupy a creative space with. These others include aspiring authors and writers, all of whom are looking to breathe life into something creative and wholly their own during the humdrum of 9-to-5 living. They’re my support group, and together, we charge each other to find that creative spirit within ourselves.
This is one of the things I adore about the indie lit community. No matter what genre any writer or poet in the community takes a liking to, we’re all locking arms together, marching in step, to get that sense of fulfillment from digging deep within ourselves and creating something that hadn’t existed yesterday. Many of the people within the indie lit community, like those in my lunch support group (we call it “Creative [Insert Day-of-the-Week]”), also have full-time jobs, families, loved ones, and other extracurricular activities that eat away at their time. Yet day after day, week after week, they still scrounge up time to create.
I admire that. I respect it. In a world where it’s so easy to simply turn on the tube and zone out to hours and hours of your favorite show on Netflix, there are those who get confrontational with the easy road. They want something more. They want to answer a calling that’s echoing from the dark recesses of the mind, near-starved and gnawing away at the brain for some sort of satisfaction. It’s what makes us human, and it’s a quality that feels like a rare trait in our social media-induced coma of a world.
If you’ve seen the latest issue of Literary Orphans, I paid tribute to the fantastic Shirley Jackson. The respect I have for people who can juggle work, family, and writing was a big reason why. Despite all of her day-to-day activities, she still found time to write a minimum of 1,000 words each day. That’s extraordinary, and it’s a feat that feels further and further away with each new iPhone release.
For those of us who still grasp at it, we do it because we can. We do it because we’ve found that support group, the one that picks us up when we fall and expects us to do the same when others fall. I typically end my bi-monthly “Letter From the Editor” column in Literary Orphans with, “We’re all in this together.” It’s a line Robert De Niro says to Jonathan Price in the satirical techno-nightmare world of Brazil. Brazil‘s a great movie (one of my all-time favorites), but that line, for whatever reason, reached out and grabbed me. It echoed around in the back of my skull for days, weeks, months after I’d watched that film for the first time.