Last week, our class had the wonderful opportunity of meeting Garth Graeper, a writer and editor who worked for the small publishing company called Ugly Duck Press. The experience was quite entertaining and eye-opening for me, personally and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.
Each of the students, including myself, took turns asking Garth questions and he answered each with a respectful tone and a sense of humor that us English majors were drawn to right away. I remember one question that Clair had asked was quite heartwarming in regards to how does a writer balance work and a family. I feel like this is a question many of us wannabe writers have wondered, but never thought to ask and I thought it was nice of her to do so. Garth’s response provided a great sense of hope – yes, it would quite manageable for us to be able to write in our free time, go to work, and spend time with our future families. Garth was able to do the same and it seems to be working just fine for him. Aside from waking up really early in the morning – I detest a wake-up time before noon – to write for leisure I suppose Garth’s balancing act doesn’t sound too bad at all. All anyone wants is to have a job that provides for and gives us time for our kids.
When it came time for me to ask Garth my two questions – I’m *quite* the rebel – I found it almost too easy to determine his answers. First, I asked whether he considered himself a writer, an editor, or a combination of both. He said he considered himself a writer, to which I felt really pleased by this answer. If he had said he was more of an editor, then the answer to my next question might not have hit him to close to home; might not have felt as concrete in my own eyes. I wanted an acclaimed writer’s answer to the one thing all writers want to know: What’s some general advice that you have for aspiring writers? Garth said something along the lines of what I already knew, which is that writers don’t make very much money. If I let this stop me from becoming a writer, then I wouldn’t even be in that room talking to him, so it’s a good thing I’m really stubborn. The part that did break my heart was hearing Garth say that writers are able to do their day jobs and still continue to write on the side. I wish I could explain that this was not how I wanted my future to turn out. All I ever want to do is turn my writing on the side into a full-fledged career.
After ending the interview that day I wondered if this dream was still in the cards for me and I don’t think I was very sure at the time. When I ask myself this question right now as I type this I know my answer is clear: I can do anything I set my mind to and so can you!
*Garth, if you ever read this I want you to know that the title was meant to be a clever pun and not a knock on you in any way. Thank you for the interview 🙂