The following is a journal entry from the wonderful blog Kadywords from a Hot Ozarks writer named Kathaleen McCrite and a letter I wrote in response. If you happen upon this please do yourself a favor and get to know Kathaleen through her blog and Twitter account @kdmccrite. You'll be glad you did. Reprinted with permission.
Kathaleen posted from the journal entries of Mae B., a most excellent writer. Here goes.
Several people have mentioned to me in the last few days about gaining wealth and fame as a writer, and what d’ya know, Mae B. wrote about that very subject.
Today I walked out of my job in the stock room of Cheap Stuff 4 U.
My foolish supervisor and all those silly co-workers tried to stop me. They said things like, “But Mae, how will you pay your bills?” “Mae, how will you buy food?” “Mae, your car has 226,975 miles on it. How will you be able afford to buy another if you have no job?” And the very worst remark of all: “Mae, you aren’t qualified to do anything else. Stocking sock monkeys and yo-yos is the perfect job for you!” That last bit was from the foolish supervisor. I believe he graduated from 6th grade last week. About the same time as my doctor, now that I think about it.
But, I brushed off their concerns and advice because, as I told them from the doorway leading to the outside world, I’m bound for great things. I will be rich and famous quite soon now.
On my way home in the middle of the day, I stopped at the Mercedes Benz dealership and test drove a white one, a tan one, a black one, and a red convertible. I’ll probably buy the black one, and the red convertible (so everyone can see my lovely hair as I drive and also see me and turn green with envy, saying “Oh, Mae. She’s gorgeous! And so rich and famous!”)
Then I went to Top Hat Real Estate and asked to see houses.
The agent, a blonde little wisp of a thing who also just graduated from 6th grade, had the nerve to get uppity with me when I told her I did not want to see those dinky houses on the south side of town. She said just because I’d written a story was no guarantee I would have enough assets to buy one of the houses on Upper Crust Hill. She kept throwing around the term “qualified buyer” and refused to take me up the hill. I’ll qualify her, if I ever catch her alone on a dark night in the parking lot of the Piggly Wiggly.
Money and fame. I can smell it now. Ahhhhh.
And a letter from me.
This one hit close to home. You told me once that Mae was a knothead and as I run my hand through my hair and feel the lumpy terrain of my skull I realize that she and I are related. Long ago I used to think I’d be a guest on David Letterman promoting my first novel. After a decade I realized that was not going to happen, and, because I couldn’t sing a lick or play any instruments, I kept on writing.
Three decades, several jobs, two unpublished novels and one screenplay later, I write for the pleasure of crafting a decent sentence and nailing a few of them into a passable paragraph. When there are enough paragraphs I try to arrange them into a chapter and then start a new one. In their own good time the stories inside of me come out and live on the page. I still want to be published but any illusions of fame and fortune are long gone.
My life and writing career are somewhere in the middle of the phrases, ‘You live and learn, or you don’t live long.’ and, ‘Nothing is said til the artist is dead.’ Jury’s still out. The good thing about sticking with it for this long is that I’m consistent in my delusion. I am a writer. For me that’s riches enough. I’m going to write some more tonight and in the morning drive home past the Mercede’s dealership without a sideways glance.
Keep tapping that vein with Mae B., Kady. She reminds me of me and at the same time shows me where I’ve grown. Thank you for that.