Retirement. Where does that come from? Some sort of hangover from the World War II generation. Certainly the people who grew up in the last Great Depression never thought about retirement. Something companies and stock brokers came up with so people would invest their money. Whole generations working based on the dream or the promise that one day they could hang it up like Mr. Jet Blue and just say screw it, I'm done and now I am going to kick back. Asta La Vista baby. Then again, maybe not.
New York Times says people are really frightened now they won't be able to retire. The massive unemployment is draining savings and 401Ks and the houses aren't worth half their value anymore and the stock market crashed. Bottom line, people who assumed they were going to retire are thinking they may work until the day they die. Grim reality and very frightening for many, but for writers, it is something we have always known, because writers never retire.
It is write until you drop. That is the writer credo, if there is one. Once you commit to the road of the writer then security goes right out the window. You make peace early on with the fact you will never retire, in fact you don't even recognize the concept. What? Sit around and do nothing? If retirement is doing what you want then writers are already retired. The road of the writer is constant struggle. And if you aren't down with that in the beginning then pick something else.
So in a way the writer is recession proof. No one becomes a writer because they crave financial security. They crave something else. A walk on the wild side, a life less certain perhaps. But the promise of a nirvana at the end of years and years of writing. I don't think so. The only promise for the writer is that he will get up the next morning, sit down, and begin again.
William Hazelgrove's latest novel Rocket Man is due out this month.