Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Retired Writers: Do you know one?

Aside from the necessary financial planning, I have not given much thought to retirement. But with three friends beginning the journey into retirement this year, I wonder about the possibility of retiring from a career in writing.

It begs the question: Do writers “retire”? I don’t think they do. I don’t believe they can. Writing is a calling from which there is no rest.

I imagine that one day I will take my leave from the business of writing and editing for others to spend my days concentrating on the personal writing projects that have fallen victim to my need to make a living. There are novels, essays and poems that have yet to be written. They cannot be left for others to write. I am the custodian of a particular voice in time. I must be a good steward of the time and the gift.

My three retiring friends amuse me. Although they come from very different walks of life, the similarities of their retiring mindset are quite telling. Job-related conversations that were once spoken with high levels of enthusiasm and unyielding company loyalty have taken a frustrating turn. The grace for the work has lifted and my friends are now exposed; their nerves are raw and bare. They have done nothing wrong. The universe has simply spoken; it is time for them to release the reigns of their vocations. They have earned this next journey.

I have a vested interest in one particular retirement. I will live vicariously through and with my lover’s permanent sabbatical. I imagine that I will look upon him with laughable envy on those mornings when I must get up and write while he and the dog sleep in. Nevertheless, I want to be a witness and a partner in this well-earned and richly deserved time in his life. He has waited patiently for retirement to find him, while I have waited for him to find me.