Tuesday, July 8, 2008

One More Hopeful Beginning, God Help Me

I mean, come on. Law? Suit and tie? Seriously?

It would seem so. Up until a few weeks before Christmas, I hadn’t even known the word existed in bold, much less that Law could graduate to fourteen font, and so quickly.

Then came the ambush: in November, void of warning, law crept up from scant shadows within me, crouched with all that plaque behind my teeth for the opportune time, and WHAM – wildly clawed its way out of my mouth like a genie from some B-grade bottle. And try though I might, no amount of wishes made it go back home again.

And so, for the last eight long months, said genie has pulled up a chair to every dinner, played with the cactus on my desk while I worked, heckled me in my sleep, tangled my sheets.

I was going to be a lawyer. “Do law.” "Try cases," or whatever the hell it is that lawyers do. And for $35k a year (average salary of a starting public interest lawyer), I wouldn’t be one of those lawyers. Not a shiny black BMW lawyer. Not a soul-seller. Nay, I’d be one of those rare gray-ponytailed types who litigated on behalf of God’s Green Earth or refugee kittens. I’d litigate for truth, peace and understanding. I’d litigate that some iconic white person and some iconic black person would hold hands for a photo-shoot, and then I would litigate the photographer into cropping the image down to just the hands and wrists, which, finally on the cover of Reader’s Digest, would shock the world into serenity. This was the kind of lawyer I would be. Granted, what that would look like – you know, on the ground – was fuzzy.

But now, has law too run its course?

It wouldn’t be the first time – it’s most certainly not the first genie. After fifteen years of calm certainty that I was to be, unquestionably, a writer, my twenties have been one carpetbagging genie after another. First I was a writer/folk musician. Then a folk musician/writer. Just a musician. Or maybe a travel writer. No, an English professor. Theologian. Episcopal priest. Grubby activist. …. Public interest Lawyer.

And that brings us back to doe. Or, well, almost.

Four days ago, Jen and her hubby, the lawyer-hero of the underprivileged himself, relaxed in the grass of the newly minted Forrest Rose Park, listening to the Carolina Chocolate Drops and making quick work of barbecue chicken. The only thing that could've ruined this 4th of July was fireworks; all was perfect, good and right. But then, staring into town, Jen lazily asked the bombshell question: “If you could do anything here in Columbiaanything – what would you do?”

My left-field answer surprised us both, but shouldn’t have. “I’d write.”

My dream since I was six years old keeps hanging on. But am I still too chicken to live it out in fourteen font?

4 comments:

jen said...

i say live it out in 20 font... helvetica style

thewhethergirl said...

seriously. you two are PERFECT (wingdings to the nth font) for each other.

gotcha both bookmarked.lovin' it!

see you soon!

Jarrod said...

I don't understand what a deer, a female deer, has to do with it, but write on, man!

We've enough lawyers - we need more warrior poets.

justthischris said...

Welcome to the blog world Nathan.