A Friend’s Question

I encountered a friend during my walk yesterday after I finished writing. We met at an intersection as I came up a hill. We were going the same way after that, so we walked together and talked.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“Decomposing. Just finished my writing. I like to walk for thirty minutes after writing to think about what I wrote and what I’m going to write next, and get some exercise after sitting for so long. You? Where are you heading?”

“I’m going to the store to buy a lottery ticket.”

That surprised me, and I said so. I didn’t think he was the lottery ticket-buying kind, if you understand. He laughed and agreed, telling me that he wasn’t, but an aunt had called and told him that she’d dreamed he’d win some money in the lottery, so he was doing as she bid because he told her that he would. He didn’t believe that he’d win, but he’d made a promise. He’s seventy and ended up telling me that his aunt is twelve years younger than him.

“Tell me,” he said. “If you don’t mind. You write every day, right? If you won the lottery, would you quit writing? I assume some pursuit of money or income is involved in your quest, but it seems like you write for something else, from all of our conversations.”

No, I wouldn’t quit writing. I write for me and my entertainment. Yes, I want others to read and enjoy what I write — I don’t want to keep this a private party. But writing, imagining situations, experiencing characters, finding the words, etc., is a pursuit that provides tangible satisfaction with the joy of discovering the story, exploring it, and putting it on some medium where others can enjoy it.

That’s what I told him, but in less words. The short answer is, it’s not about money.

It’s about writing.

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