Nonfiction | Publish or Perish

Why are you writing?

A sense of reassurance

So this is the first time I walked up to Gary’s door. I was nervous. I mean who wouldn’t be. I asked this guy if he would help me out and I could’ve done it on my own. I didn’t know what to expect. Well, anyway, I wrapped my hand on the door. His wife pulled the door back, ushering me into what appeared to be their living room, though it looked a lot more like a library or den.

“I’ll get Gary.”

I smiled. I didn’t say anything I felt stupid. Here I was in my late 30’s and I acted like a teenager. I waited for a few minutes. It was very long until Gary slinked into the room. I stood waiting to shake his hand. He loosely cupped my hand before he sat down.

I remember the first thing he said to me.

He said. “What can I do for you?”

No harm no foul, right. That may be true but it put me on the spot. I suppose I was imposing on his time but did he need to say it like that? It made me question, why I came. I was already insecure enough about this whole asking someone to help me thing.

I pulled from my folder a story I had just written and handed it to Gary. He scanned the pages. Being that it was only eight pages in length, he finished browsing through it in a minute before he flopped it on the end table.

And then he rubbed the top of his balding head like he had been through this a thousand times. Then he rested his chin on the palm of his hand.

“Why do you want to write?” he asked.

I stopped and didn’t say anything. I mean I wasn’t ready to answer the question. I didn’t know why other people wrote coursework help, and for some reason it mattered. I didn’t want to sound, I don’t know, ridiculous. I had to come up with something and it was an important question that needed an answer.

“To play ideas from my daydreaming.” I blurted out.

Gary plopped back in his chair. Then the goofiest grin filled his face.

“What?” I said, being self-conscious I couldn’t stop myself from looking defensive.

“That’s a good answer. I didn’t want to hear anything about seeing your name in a bookstore, or the worst one yet: To get rich” Gary almost spit out the words like he had some type of disdain for money or making money from writing books.

“I thought that for the longest time. Making money would be nice.” Now I had a grin starting to etch on my face. I did the best I could to conceal it. “But I always had a problem with comparing myself to famous well-off writers.”

“Somehow the making money aspect always takes care of itself.” Gary slouched himself forward in the chair. “I don’t think we’re going to look at your writing today. Maybe next time. I really wanted to get an answer from that question. You know, to see if I should work with you.”

I have to say I was happy he liked my answer. It wasn’t where I was always at but time got me there.

“I think we’ll make this a short night.”


He put a hand on my shoulder. “Come back next week.”

“I will.”

Leaving his place, I felt like I passed the test or something. I looked back at his house before I drove away. I think I came away with something tonight. A sense of reassurance.