"I want to be a published writer," I tell them.
"I want to write fiction," I say to them.
The response I usually get are some raised eyebrows, and an indifferent "oh" followed by a pause, a look beyond my shoulder, and then, "tell me if you publish something". Then they walk off.
If they don't walk off, then they say something to the effect of: "But there's no money in writing!" Then they give me a look like I've just told them I've invested in a get-rich-quick scam. "Have you thought of this carefully? Are you sure?"
"They" are the sort of people who think bookstores are only good for purchasing a copy of Azizi Ali's How to Become a Property Millionaire or mXe! Five Keys to Become an Extreme Millionaire. Forgive my naivete, but it never fails to amaze me that money seems to be the only impulse that fuels them on. Attempts of explaining to them that I'm pursuing writing because that's what I like to do (rather than what I need to do, e.g., get a proper job) seems to fall on incomprehension, resulting in fear and misunderstanding and panic.
Look. I'm not in this for the money. It's not like I'm quitting my job to write full-time (which is a bit weird because my current job involves me writing full-time anyway). I write stories to get them published because knowing other people will likely read them gets me high. Like how young boys write silly love poems to impress girls they have a crush on but aren't really interested in making the girls like them, rather, to show off their art. But on a vastly larger scale. You know?
Er, no? Um, okay. Bad example. Try this. Remember that kid in class who always drew comic books for his friends to read? Yeah? Well, my writing's in that same spirit. The joy of entertaining others by creating something of your own. Taken to another level (sorta).
What? Still don't geddit? Fine, fine! It's nice getting an honorarium once in a while. Happy now?