Far apart

So I dropped screenwriting.

Before you jump to conclusions, let me first say that my decision had nothing to do with the professor. Contrary to popular assumption, he is not a soulless dictator who takes pleasure in torturing small children (see An Extremely Goofy Movie… or my last post), and I’m 100% sure that Jesus loves him. But ultimately, I came to a very important realization:

The class wasn’t going to give me credit toward either of my majors (Theatre and English). What do I say to that? I say too much freakin’ work for a two-unit elective that doesn’t even help earn me my degree.

Basically, it all comes down to my overpowering sense of self-indulgence.

It’s honestly not that I didn’t want to write for the class. I love writing, but I already do it on my own.

Sometimes, I wish I had a normal dream. When you’re a kid, you’re constantly thinking about what you want to be when you grow up. Not what you want to do, because that’s something totally different. You want to be a firefighter/astronaut/doctor/lawyer, and you’re proud of it. That’s normal. You don’t understand until later that people don’t ask you who you are, they ask you what you do.

You don’t learn until later that your new dreams can be equated with poverty and rejection letters, and therefore, you shouldn’t be proud of saying, “Yes, I am a writer.

Maybe I’m being dramatic… I am a theatre major, after all. I guess I’m having one of those seasons where I go back and read the things I’ve written lately, and think that there is absolutely no way that I am going to make it in this world. I can dream all I want of being the next Theresa Rebeck or Nora Ephron or Shannon Hale or Jennifer Donnelly, but if what if I don’t have the talent or the voice or the motivation to get there? What’s the point of dreaming?

Dude. That sounded so Gothic. Okay, let me ‘splain… no, there is too much. Let me sum up: I’m in the midst of the same crisis that every writer/artist encounters. To top it off, I read a Langston Hughes poem the other day called “Plaint”:

Money and art
Are far apart

Thanks a lot, you bastard. As if I wasn’t already worried.

So what now? I guess it’s the same with everything… you suck it up, you go back to writing, you  revise until you despise everything, and then you chuck it and start over. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to be a normal person with normal hobbies, normal ambitions. I wonder how those people spend their time. I have every intention of spending the rest of my life with words, and I don’t know what it’s like to be certain of my future in some hospital or skyscraper. But who knows… maybe I’ll end up happier than the millions of people who are.

Because I love what I do. I love who I am. I love being a writer, even if I never amount to anything by the standards of this world, and I should stop judging myself so harshly. As far as I know, nobody else is. Right?


—Samantha Chaffin


2 thoughts on “Far apart

  1. musicalchik says:

    I can SOOOOOO relate to this. Story of my life. I can’t tell you how many times I have thunk these thoughts. haha please don’t shoot me for my poor use of grammar. 😉 I often wonder what it’s like for a normal person to not sing every day or not worry about throwing away their career because they yelled and screamed and hollered at a game. And I also sometimes wish I was born with normal dreams! Out of all the things to be, WHY THE HELL DO I WANT TO BE AN OPERA SINGER. haha it’s ok Samantha…we are soul sisters to the end and we will be starving artists together! And we will be happy. 🙂

  2. deshipley says:

    Confession: I, too, have sometimes found myself wishing for “normal” dreams. Why, oh *why* don’t I want to be an accountant, when math is so straightforward and objective, and taxes are as certain as death?
    Well, I don’t know why, but that’s just not the passion I was dealt. Writing is. And as long as that holds true, I’m sticking with it, and will continue to hope that the money will follow. Because money can’t buy happiness, but doing what makes me happy might yet pay!

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