Things that every poet is tired of hearing

That’s right, I’m going on a rant again – because everybody should do what they’re good at. Which brings me to today’s topic: Things that I as a creative writing student am absolutely tired of hearing.
There are these lines, repeated over and over again, sometimes by friends, often by family, mostly by acquaintances, always tedious. And, by the way: never funny.

Here’s what I mean:

North American Friend: So, how’s your studies going?

Me (refraining from correcting their English): Very stressful, there’s only two weeks left in the semester, and…

North American Friend: Ahh, c’mon, it can’t be that hard, it’s only writing, right? Don’t you mostly sit around and get drunk? That’s what being a writer is all about, I don’t think you’re doing it right!
One-sided laughter follows.
Maybe you should’ve went with a more challenging programme!

Me (now pissed and no longer seeing any reason to control my non-native grammatical arrogance): First of all, not your most original moment. Secondly, it’s “should have gone”. And lastly and FYI, we are all working our asses off!

North American Friend: Yeah, right. Why are you doing this anyways? You know, in order to be successful as a writer, you’d have to be, like, so lucky…

Me: Not lucky. Just good.

North American Friend: It’s so unlikely though, I mean, to make a living of it, you’d have to become a star or something!

Me: Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. At least I know I won’t ever have to get up in the morning thinking that I didn’t try. Or that I’m stuck in mediocrity doing something I loathe. How’s life as a nine-to-fiver?

North American silence.



Grandmother (translated from German): How are you doing with your studies, sweetheart?

Me: Well, it’s a lot of fun and very enriching, but there is also a lot of pressure.

Grandmother: Really? Do you have so many exams?

Me: Oma, I don’t have exams, I’m becoming a writer. I write.

Grandmother: Oh, well that doesn’t sound too bad…

Me: It’s not bad, it’s just very demanding.

Grandmother: And what exactly will you do with this degree when you’re done?

Me (after a deep, calming breath): I don’t need to know that yet, Oma, what matters is that this is what I want to do with my life. I have always wanted to write, you know that. I am doing it because I have no other choice if I want to be happy. I am doing it for very good reasons. Everything that I’ve done up until this point has been leading me here. There’s no turning back. I’m all in.

Grandmother: But you have such a good, useful degree, you could make more money in…

Me (interrupting, as I have heard this many too many times before): I’m not in it for the money, Oma, I’m in it for the challenge of my life. And for fulfilment.

German silence.



Acquaintance: So what do you study?

Me: Creative Writing. Postgrad.

Scottish silence.

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