Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Getting the Call

by Tracy Kiely

For an Irish Catholic like me, “A Calling” or “The Call” is when you realize that your vocation is to join the Church. If God’s plan was for you to become a nun or a priest, then God told you. The nuns who taught us this were never clear exactly how God would relay this information, but they were adamant that He would do it personally and we would know. In my head, I imagined it as getting a phone call, but while standing in the middle of a forest. However, despite Sally Field’s charming portrayal of cloistered life, I did not want to become a nun.  I liked boys – Sean Cassidy in particular – and I liked my bubble gum flavored lip-gloss. These were two things that I knew probably wouldn’t fly at a convent (unlike the aforementioned Sally Field). 
Holy and Aerodynamic
I worried about what I would do if I got The Call. I knew if I ignored it, I’d be miserable because according to the nuns I would have rejected God’s plan for me, but I also suspected that I’d be miserable anyway if I had to give up boys and lip gloss.
To play it safe, I decided to stay out of forests for a while. 
Deciding that I wanted to be a writer was a lot simpler. The hard part was deciding to do it as a career.
Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy writing (except for the times when my Muse takes off to wherever the hell it is that she goes. Then it’s annoyingly frustrating.) As a career choice, however, writing is a risky venture. Very few writers make enough money to support themselves let alone a family. Many writers I know hold down another full-time job. Writing is not a career for the faint-of-heart, the thin-skinned, or the insecure.  (And yet, our ranks are filled with these types. We tend to be gluttons for punishment.)
I wrote my first book while I worked at a medical association. (It went nowhere.) After our second child turned one, I decided to work part-time as a consultant from home. When our third child came along, I gave up trying to do anything remotely “professional.” It was a good day if I managed to empty the dishwasher and take a shower.
During this time writing still called to me but it was a faint whisper. It wasn’t until the older kids were in school and the youngest could be relied on to take a decent nap that I started writing again for real. I’d write whenever I could find a free moment (FYI: SpongeBob Square Pants is an excellent tool for creating free moments).
As the kids got older, it got easier to dedicate time to writing.  We just dropped my oldest off to college last week, so the house was a little quieter.  But in moment of weakness, we acquired a new puppy four days later. Yes, for those of you keeping score at home, I dropped off one baby and got another. So, now I’m back to writing during nap times and trying to find a TV show that he likes.
I’m not sure if this constitutes A Calling or A Career Choice. I suspect it just constitutes really bad judgment.
Finbar under my feet

1 comment:

Meredith Cole said...

Looks like Finbar at least naps occasionally! Hopefully he'll be a good writing companion and not demand too many walks...