When JP was first born, his mother and I used to discuss what he might do for a living when he grew up. We both agreed that he could do just about anything he wanted, with one exception: what I do.
Now, I’m not doing so badly. I work for a reputable magazine, and every once in a while someone will publish something that I write. No complaints. But I’m not a young writer/editor anymore (I’m 37, still young enough to be one of the 20 under 40, only I’m not), and it took a long time, a lot of effort, and a great deal of failure to reach my level of just-above-total-poverty-and obscurity. I’m a success by certain standards within my industry–but my industry is dying and they never did pay too good nohow.
Which is why we both would say that if JP ever indicated any creative talent, we’d do everything we could to stamp it out. Doctor, lawyer, evil financier–yes. Painter, art therapist, writer–hell, no.
This was a joke between my ex and me, and no mention was ever made as to how we’d stop him from going into the arts if he ever wanted to, but it reflected something genuine from our life together–namely, that making it as a writer is very difficult, especially if your initial goal, like mine, includes writing literary novels and short fiction. I didn’t make the move into full-time journalism until I was 30, and as a result, my twenties boasted no shortage of closed doors, rejection slips, and incidents of me not taking the hint.
Of course it sounds ridiculous in our permissive era to say that we would refuse to allow a child to go into a particular profession, and since my ex and I aren’t on speaking terms, I have no idea whether she still feels as she did when JP was a baby. But yes, I still would prefer if JP never had to endure the fifteen different flavors of rejection that comes with being a writer, and no, I’d rather not worry about his financial future until I die.
So sue me (which he could help with, if he decides to be a lawyer).