Twenty years

Sometimes a single conversation can rattle around in my head for hours after the talking is done. Today I talked to my friend Dean about how artists need 10 years to learn their craft and another 10 to get good at it. If this is true, and I’m almost 27, I will be nearly 50 years old before I’m good at writing. On the one hand, all right, sounds like a plan — I can wait until I’m 50. On the other hand, people tell you that you should live like you’re dying. So in that case, why bother? I’ll suck until I’m 50 and might not even make it to that age. Then I stop and think that this sounds like pointless whining and the point is to get better at what you do. People who know about MFA programs generally tell you that you can’t expect much, career-wise, from an MFA. You can just expect to get better at your art. Then after I think about that, I think — why be better at something if it doesn’t impact others, leave a dent somewhere, or a carving — in the bark of an imagined oak tree or in the door of a bathroom stall, maybe in Winnetka? I am not sure.

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