On Becoming a Professional Writer…

Today I begin a new career.  As of 3:01 PM, I will no longer be at the front desk of a local hotel, greeting the guest as they ebb and flow in the normal work routine of their lives; lives that I have become a part of.  If any of you have worked in the extended-stay hospitality industry, you already know this, and for those of you who haven’t, you become very close to some of your guests.  You see some of these travellers more than they see their own families.  You become their surrogate friends and family.

Over the last few weeks since I announced my resignation, I’ve had to tell my favorites that I won’t be there anymore.  Of course, the first question I receive is, “Where are you going?”  To which I generally reply, “Home.”  Which, in turn, generates a long discussion of how my wife’s new job has afforded us the opportunity for me to stay home and clean and fix our house that has fallen into a state of disrepair, and allows me to concentrate on completing my first novel.  Then, I get the obligatory, ‘congratulations,’ and how much they are going to miss me.  But, I can see this idea in the eyes of everyone talk to about this, and especially from family, that I’m going to sit on my butt at home while my wife goes to work and slaves away all day.  And all I can say to those people is nothing could be further from the truth.

First of all, for those of you who know my wife; do you actually believe she would agree to such an asinine idea as that?  If you do, I don’t think you know her as well as you think you do.  Truth be told, she’ll actually be the toughest “boss” I’ve had in, well, maybe ever.  If this house isn’t spotless, and projects completed on her time table, then my booty will be slammed back into the workforce harder than a Spinebuster from The Rock. Can you smell what I’m cooking!?!

Listen, in all seriousness, I understand that even in 2011 the idea of a house-husband is still unorthodox, but in the end this is a decision that we have made within the confines of our marriage, and we believe that it is the best for both of us at this time.  It may not be the most popular decision we’ve ever made, but it is our decision to make nonetheless.  We feel that the risk/reward ratio is totally in our favor.  Even if nothing comes from my efforts in writing, I’ll head back to work with a house in pristine condition.  But, if  we are successful in our endeavor, the road we are following could have a big payoff ahead.

In the movie American History X, the main character Derek gave his little brother some advice when it came to writing; “someone else has already said it best. So if you can’t top it, steal from them and go out strong.”  I can’t top this…

The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~Robert Frost


About Richard Howk

Fiction author with my first novel, Pariah, available December 2nd.
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