I wouldn’t say my library is in a high-crime area.
I would say that in the two years I’ve worked here, we’ve had several assaults (including one of a staff member), several petty thefts (including box of truffles I got for Christmas, darn it, that is just low), quite a bit of vandalism, and one startlingly audacious car theft by a man wearing a vest made of license plates.
Did I also mention the cop that came by, looked around at our regulars, and said in an awe-struck whisper to the reference librarian, “You’ve sure got a lot of sex offenders in here”?
Oh! And the attempted kidnapping of a toddler in the children’s section, foiled by a coworker just weeks before I was hired!
So it’s a great thing we have a security guard at all times, right?
If by ‘all times’ you mean most afternoons and sometimes the weekend. And that there’s only one to cover a large-ish two-story building, and if you need them you call their cell number because the walkie-talkies aren’t worth the air it takes to speak into them. And that the weekend guy is half my height, twice my age, wheezes when he walks and has trouble leaning over. If there were ever a serious emergency in the building, I have a plan for how to get him and my other most vulnerable patrons to safety.
I just feel so secure in my workplace.
But you know, I talk a lot about my job, but I try not to think of myself as a librarian first and foremost. (Library assistant, rather. I aspire to laurels I hath not earned.) Working here is something I do to support my eating habit while I climb the long, arduous and by-no-means-guaranteed ladder to success as a writer. I’ve never wanted a career as such. I’ve only wanted a way to support myself so I can write. Can’t my writing support me? Um… eventually, maybe, if I’m extremely good and extremely lucky? Thus far, absolutely no freaking way, and I’m not really banking on it ever happening. If you’re getting into writing to make money, you are an idiot and you will starve. The one and only reason to become a writer is because you want to write, bad enough that you’d do it for free, because you mostly will.
I say this, of course, as someone at the very beginning of my writing career. I’m not exactly a fount of experience. But the fact that my writing career is only just now kinda-sorta taking off, when I’ve been writing feverishly for twenty years (so, since the age of 9), should probably tell you I’m right.
But where was I going with this? Because this post ought to have a higher purpose than “my day job’s going to get me knifed and a writing career is generally a joke.” I promise I’m more optimistic than that.
How about this: Even though my day job might get me knifed and I doubt I’ll ever make serious money as a writer, I’m going to keep writing anyway. Always. Until I’m dictating plot twists in a creaky old voice to whippersnappers who convert it to text in whatever magical way we might have in the future. Because I love writing, more than anything except possibly eating, and doing what you love is worth putting up with dismal pay and having Wheezy the Penguin for a security guard.