a part time thing

when you’re a writer
you’re one some of the time. when it’s dark
mostly, a kind of clark kent
to whoever your superman is:
house painter, teacher, boxer
delivery man, cleaner

usually you aren’t one at parties
or for casual encounters
and extended family
or on house boats
where you’ve no idea what
convinced you to board in the first place,
it’s easier to describe yourself
by the music you’re into
or even, god-forbid, some dubious
connection to a sporting team
where watching it on tv
counts as participation,
and it’s then that you think shit
fuck this
if I was actually some lucky Rowling-type
or just last week appeared on Oprah’s book club
I’d say, yeah, I’m a writer.

but you probably won’t.  it saves so much
in the way of explanation
and relieves you from saying
that no, it’s not for the money, I actually love
what I do, and it’s really more of an addiction
than a part time thing,
and to hell with it anyway.
you don’t have to prove a thing
just have to go home to your desk
where you squeeze into the role
like a tight pair of jeans that you’re slowing
wearing in, switch on the lamp
and let your words do all the talking.

Any suggestions for tweaking / fixing / altering would be great!

13 thoughts on “a part time thing

  1. (from “west side story”) “when you’re a jet you’re a jet all the way from your first cigarette to your last dying day” substitute ‘poet’ for ‘jet’ ha ha. iow, it’s like you have to do it, you have no choice and the passion overrides everything else – you just ARE a writer and nothing could be finer (than to be in caroliner in the mo-o-o-o-or-ning! oops got carried awaytotally enjoyed this! thanks!

  2. All, sadly, too true; if you say you’re a writer most people see you as a pretentious wanker, much better to say you’re a drug dealer, people know how to relate to them better, and when people ask ‘so do you make money from drug dealing?’ you can hold your head up proudly and say ‘no, I do it for the love!’

  3. Ashley – at least you have some books to your name! I think it’s easier to say you’re a writer than a poet – there are so many associations to the word poet; but easier not to talk about it at all. I find people are usually more interested in the sound of their own voices. Changes – none really, maybe ‘delivery driver’ instead of man. I love ‘extended family especially’ – you gotta watch them don’tcha?

    • True, Gabrielle, I’m lucky enough to have that to mention in conversation, good back up, and I think you’re right. Easier to say writer, it’s a little broader.

      I know, extended family can be tricky indeed! Delivery driver might be better, has that ‘d’ sound repeated which I like.

  4. Hi Ashley, great poem, although just curious about you asking for feedback, I’ve never seen that before. What a great idea! Do you submit poems you’ve published on your blog to anthologies/journals etc?

    • Hi Koraly, thank you!

      Yep, I do ask for feedback at times, I like to make the writing process fairly transparent, and of course, there’s always,always something I miss. So it’s nice to have extra eyes looking over my work!

      Sometimes I do, I always ask if it’s ok with the publication, then offer to take the piece down while it’s under consideration. Most mags etc simply won’t consider something that’s already been on a blog, but I understand that, so it’s pretty rare that I get a chance to send something out that has appeared here.

      Have you subbed anything that’s been on your blog?

  5. Yes, I have, but I always ask first. I think it’s fair that if a piece has been accepted you take it down, but some places don’t even get back to you when you ask. It seems a little fuzzy at the moment what the rules are about this.

    • I agree, there’s much less uniformity across publications in regards to their attitudes and processes around blog-posted work. And folks not bothering to reply at all, poor form indeed.

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