Julie Seedorf: There is art in every aspect of a career

Published 9:30 pm Sunday, November 12, 2017

Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf

“I can hardly wait to become an adult.” These words were part of a conversation I had with a teenager this week. I laughed and answered, “Believe me, it is not all it is cracked up to be.”

I remember speaking those same words quite a few times as I was growing up. I would like to take them back. There are days I want to go back in time, a time which was more carefree and I didn’t have to worry about having money to pay bills, having to take care of someone else and be entirely in charge of cleaning house and of course those are just a few parts of becoming an adult. And we can’t forget about the adult worries of having a job, but I am somewhat past that stage now and enjoying semi-retirement along with churning out a few books.

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I did have a day or two during this past week where I wanted to drop out of the world entirely and become a reclusive writer, not interacting with the world as it is today. I like my fictional world of Fuchsia and Brilliant, Minnesota. There are no mass shootings or arguments about gun control. There are no corrupt governments. Yes, there are corrupt people but good always wins over evil. We have rules in these fictional cities, but they are for the benefit of the people and the people don’t take life so seriously; they care about one another and do the right thing. The more I ventured out into the news of the day, the more the word reclusive sounded better and better. I wanted to opt out of the real world and live in my fictional fun communities with my quirky characters.

The teenager who spoke those words to me was someone who wanted to job shadow an author. After all, being an author sounds like a dream job, and actually, it is my dream job, but I wanted to realistically portray the joy along with the pitfalls of writing to this intelligent young person.

I have a new book coming out Nov. 21, so it was the perfect time for someone to see what my day is like. When asked why I wanted to be a writer, the reclusive thought came to mind, and I shared with this young person that writing was a way to escape from the world for a few hours a day and refresh my spirit. Writing does that for me.

However, when I explained my daily schedule, I got tired. Writing is the easy part of a book; it is the editing and the editing and the editing, plus promotion and promotion and promotion, that take up a writer’s time, and the outside world has to factor into the equation. Entering into the real world for research and all these activities — sometimes it ain’t pretty. I wanted this young person to know even dream jobs do not always feel like a dream job, and as a writer you have to have thick skin for all the critics who definitely are alive and well in the book world.

Spending time with a young person was a wonderful experience. I saw the world through new eyes and a new perspective on my career. She came into our day with a sensible attitude about a career she has already started. She just doesn’t know it yet. The words she puts on paper today will grow and improve, and perhaps one day the words born in her imagination might change another’s life.

Growing up in the ’60s, encouragement for a career in the arts was not a valued, sensible career. I have to say it — there is nothing sensible about what I do now. Perhaps they were right.

I was glad I haven’t sink into being the reclusive writer yet and took the chance to meet someone young and energetic.  Maybe I gave her inspiration for her career, but I must admit I was inspired by her new ideas and energy. I hope I can take that into the world we live in today and make it a better place.

At a time when I felt I wanted to drop out of the real world, taking the chance and accepting to have this teenager job shadow me made me see the good in the world again. We let the media shape our minds about young people who may dress different, color their hair different and see life in a new way and choose careers that we don’t always approve of. Going out of my comfort zone (what could I teach someone about being an author) refreshed my spirit.

We all need to keep some of that child alive inside of us and not become so grown up we lose the wonder of the dream. For a time in my life, I quit dreaming, and when dreams die so do our spirits. It is in dreams magnificent ideas are born. There is art in every aspect of a career if we look for it and room in this world for those children and their dreams.

Pablo Picasso said it best when he said:

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at hermionyvidaliabooks@gmail.com.