Short-Changed

Time often feels short.  When we back it up against the pencil marks on the doorpost we find it seems to shrink with its own passing.  It is nevertheless relentless.  This shows especially with daily tasks, such as the posts on this blog, which leave enormous piles of writing behind.  I used to print every entry I wrote but I had to stop because there were too many.  There are now well over 4,500 of them and yet time keeps going and each day demands its sacrifice.  It’s that way with other daily tasks too.  It’s staggering, for example, to think of just how much food you eat in a lifetime.  It makes sense of why we struggle against that middle-age bulge.  Little bits add up.  I suspect that’s why the news can feel overwhelming at times.  It just keeps piling on.

If I’d chosen to study journalism—I really didn’t know what it was, despite being co-editor of my high school newspaper—I might’ve reached the point of being paid for my writing by now.  Even with my published fiction stories (and two of my nonfiction books) no money has ever changed hands.  I know from editorial board meetings that journalists expect pay for what many of us give away for free.  Writing is funny that way.  The best way to improve is to practice, and so I spend time each day writing blog posts, as well as content for books and articles and fiction stories.  As I said, there’s quite a pile.

Time is relentless.  It’s also in short supply.  The marking of each passing day with writing is a reminder of just how quickly the sand slips through the glass.  Other tasks go neglected for writers, which is, I expect, why we appreciate being paid for our work.  But just imagine if we were paid for reading.  What if every book read brought in say, in today’s economy, $1,000.  Would we be a more literate society then, valuing the work of writing?  For nonfiction editorial boards note the difference between professors, who are paid to do other things (and paid pretty well, considering), and journalists who live by the pen.  I have another job, helping other writers get published.  I suppose that means I have less time to do my own writing.  Time and writing are engaged in a complex dance which, when viewed from a distance, may look beautiful.  And when the dance is done you’ll find another piece of paper to add to the pile, regardless of whether it has monetary value or not.

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