(Please note that once again I’ll be away from my computer and won’t be able to respond to comments. I’ll trust my fellow MWers to comment on my behalf.)
I was thinking the other day that in half my posts here at MW, I wax rhapsodic about how much I love my job and how great it is being able to make up stories for a living. And in the other half I bitch and moan about how hard writing is and what a hard, crazy way this is to make a living.
Both are true. That much should be obvious by now. I really do love what I do for a living. And it really is hard. And this business is truly screwed up. Ultimately I guess all of it goes together, congealing into this nutty thing called the Writer’s Life.
But I have to admit that at times I fantasize about making my living another way, namely as a professional photographer. I’m not good enough to do it. And I’m not about to make the attempt. I’m also not so naïve as to believe that such a career would be hassle free. I have a friend who makes his living doing photo shoots for National Geographic. To me that is THE perfect career. And yet, he deals with many of the same problems that I face in writing — the struggles with the creative process, the crazy incoherence of his business world, the uncertain financial prospects. Still I envy him just a little.
While I know that I will never make the jump to another career, I still do dream. And I’d like to share one of those dreams with you today.
At some point I would like to take a year off and travel across the country camping and chronicling my travels through photography. I would start in the dead of winter in, say, the Everglades, taking photos of wading birds and alligators. From there, I would head north and west. Early spring wildflowers in Tennessee and Kentucky; late spring in the hard wilderness of South Dakota’s Badlands; summer in the high country of Wyoming and Montana and Idaho; early fall in Denali National Park, Alaska; late fall in the Cascades of Washington; and the coming of winter in Yosemite. Or I’d start the whole trip in the hills of Southern California, move north to Yosemite and the Cascades for late winter and early spring and make my way eastward, timing things so that I would be in New England for autumn before heading south.
That’s my dream anyway — some version of that. It would take a bit of money and a lot of time, and I couldn’t really think about it until the girls go off to college and it’s just Nancy and me.
How about you? People sometimes ask, “What would you do with a million dollars?” I’ve come to realize though that the money is secondary; the true treasure is time. So, what would you do with a free year? No obligations, no need to work — just you and your dreams. Where would they take you?David B. Coe