There were maybe five full minutes in my MFA studies, when I imagined myself as a full-time writer. We, all of us writers and poets, spend some time with that day dream. But for some of us the possibility of that lifestyle (because it is a lifestyle) is quickly interrupted by real life: the bills, the debt, the lack of time, the lack of discipline, and the desire for real-life relationships. Whatever the reasons are, many of us will never be those people (icons, martyrs, saints) with coffee mugs and oak desks watching the sun rise as they craft sentences. And of those folks, even fewer will be able to earn a living. The odds are ever not in our favor. My graduate mentor, Chris Howell, offered a solution to this problem of writing versus living called the Muffin Man. Basically, you found a job that only required you to work really early or really late, a job that paid the bills (barely) but didn’t require much mental strain or consume your every waking minute, so you could dedicate that free time to your writing. He never offered any advice on how to maintain relationships with your partners or family or how to be sociable, probably because he wasn’t one to speak about something he wasn’t an expert at himself.
Any of my true friends can tell you one thing about me: I do not have a Facebook. From both friends and random people alike, this declaration has been met with a variety of reactions: surprise being the first, followed closely by admiration. In rare cases, there is indifference, but the first two definitely trump all others. The responses of admiration always make me laugh the hardest internally, and typically go something like this:
“Oh, that’s so good!” “That’s not something you hear everyday!” “I can understand why!”
These responses are then met with reasons why it’s good NOT to have a Facebook, as if I need the reassurance that I am making a wise decision. I always want to say, “No likes necessary,” because that’s the type of person I’ve always been; however, it has not always been the case that I have been Facebook-less.
Rewind to that fateful day in tenth grade, when my mother busts into the house to declare that she must, I mean MUST, see my Myspace.
“Jumaane, you could be doing drugs. You could have guns in this house. I don’t know WHAT you’re doing. I was listening to the radio, and I need to see your Myspace.” Continue reading