Bob didn’t choose career ­ it chose him

Bob didn't choose career � it chose him by Bob Karolevitz Somebody once said that you don't choose a writing career. It chooses you!

Well, I've often wondered how that happened. Apparently I was chosen.

Actually that's not exactly true in my case. I was looking for a soft touch; something you could do indoors while sitting down; a job where you didn't get your hands dirty or you didn't have a boss peering over your shoulder all the time.

Then, when I was at the formative stage, my Uncle Ben � a hard-working carpenter � gave me a philosophy to live by. "Always keep the overalls on the other guy," he said.

Writing, I soon discovered, was not the yellow brick road I envisioned it to be. It had ruts and detours which I never expected.

Take the sitting-down part, for instance. It seemed comfortable to me, but Phyllis says I'm sedentary.

"Get up and walk around," she instructs. "Pull weeds. Clean out the barn. Don't just sit there all the time until you're pear-shaped."

Which takes me to the boss part.

Now I've got two. Deadlines keep coming up and have to be met. Sometimes I think they are worse than having a foreman. And there there is Phyllis.

She really keeps the pressure on me. Thank goodness she doesn't stand over me while I'm working, but she coaxes and cajoles while I dawdle and dilly dally.

"The reason those deadlines are always giving you fits is because you like to put off till tomorrow what you should be doing today," she insists.

As for the money, I'd probably be better off taking a 9 to 5 job some place. Sure, I'd like to be making big bucks like John Grisham and Stephen King, but I guess I'm more of a three or four cents an hour guy.

Maybe that's why Phyllis coaxes and cajoles so much!

The trouble with writing is that it's always there. You can't get away from it. Ideas keep swirling around in your head even when you're pulling weeds or cleaning the barn. Writers, it seems, are born inquisitive.

And you can't retire!

I envy guys who quit at age 65 and go to the golf course. For me there's always one more column to do or a story to write. Shucks, if I ever make it to the Pearly Gates, they'll probably give me a Smith-Corona instead of a harp.

Maybe the person who said that writing chooses you might have had something there. It could be that I didn't have any choice in the matter, when all I was doing was looking for the easy way out.

No doubt I was chosen, but that's all right. I could have been something else, like a mountain-climber or a deep sea diver.

© 2002 Robert F. Karolevitz

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