Consider this: what if all choices in the world are equal? That is, what if there is no difference between choosing to be a pantry cook or the President of the United States? What if, in fact, one is no more difficult to attain than the other?
Sounds preposterous, I know, but ask yourself: would you want to be the president? Would you want to do all the things required to be the president, the glad-handing and baby-kissing, the fundraisers, the speech-making, the televised debates, only to be certain that approximately half the country is going think you are ruining their children’s future?
Many of you, I am sure, have wondered what you might do if you were president, but very, very few of you, perhaps none of you, would tolerate what is required to become and then be president. It’s not so much that you can’t, but that, when you get down to the actual experience of being president, you wouldn’t want it. There is a difference between saying you can’t do something and saying you don’t want to do something, and I would suggest that the only reason you can’t do anything is because you don’t want to.
This is true of everything including writing. I do not think it is quantifiably harder to be a writer than a bartender. The only difference is that the process of becoming a bartender is usually quicker—but that does not actually mean easier. The length of time something takes is only hard if we call it hard. You never get to live anytime but Right Now, after all, so adding up all the Right Nows that have come or might come before something happens is just a game an impatient mind likes to play.
It is an important distinction to make with yourself from time to time. Nowhere is it written in the sky what you can or cannot be, what you can or cannot do. Life is an absolute parity of choices. When we look out at the world, we see all these choices at once and instantly reduce our options to the few that actually interest us. In our minds, the parity is over, for we have assigned value to those possible choices. But this was our choice and no one else’s. The good and the bad, the hard and the easy, are just other ways of saying, “I like this and I don’t like that.”