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14 June 2017

A Doctorate of Writing

by Andrew

I've seen it, that to become a master at something you must put-into it 10,000 hours. Two hours a day for a year gives you 730 hours, for example. So this 10,000 hours takes a bit. And some days you put-in 10 hours, some days 8 hours, some days only one hour, some days none. So, about 10 years or so it takes of studying something steadily and intently to become an expert at it, I would say, a master.

A doctorate degree takes about that long to complete, I think I'd say—more or less. That's what I had in mind when I attended university, a doctorate degree in Classics, to become a professor. That all changed however, my desire to become a professor, once I arrived at universtiy and saw what it was a professor really is—I'd not be included in that. But that is a different story. Studying Classics, however, was at least a part of that study for writing.

But before I even went to university, I was studying my writing. A bit before university it was actually. Some years before it was.

I don't even remember what it was that made me say to myself, that that is what I want to do, to write, to become a writer. I think it was that I was just one day reading the sports section of the newspaper about a baseball game, and saying, that I could do that, write a summary of the game—and much better too. So then I tried, and it was shit of course. But it opened Pandora's box.

If I had read Henry Miller then too, at that time, I'm sure I would have been persuaded to write. But it wasn't till 3 or 4 years down the road already, so to speak, that I read Henry Miller. Which was good, that I read him a bit later in life. I think, that the later in life you read him, the better he is—though I can't say for sure, because I only read him when I read him. But you must have some experience with life—if you can call it that, life—with work, and all that that comes along it, money and bosses and cars and homes and kids and dogs and groceries and all that—to really feel his words I think. And I still read him here and there, to be sure, but the seeds have been already long planted and germinated. If I read him now, it's just for a dance, so to speak. And he is a fine dancer, I must say.

And then that Rudius Media, Tucker Max buzz came-along. But I was scornful of it, I remember—all the writers it was creating overnight it seemed. Because I had already been working-on that writing. But that Rudius Media sure was nice, I do admit, thousands and thousands of people just all excited about writing. And I was about 20 years old then, about to turn 21.

But I had only just began to make that conscience effort to write. I was writing journals, and re-reading, and cringing, and correcting, and improving my spelling—which remains horrible to this day, my spelling. So, it was when I was 20, I'd say, that I began writing seriously.

And I'm about 3 months now into 30. And that makes 10 years since I was 20. So I have a doctorate in writing I'd say.

And doctors are rewarded nicely for the most part. Ten years of school is expensive. It's taxing on an individual. It takes dedication, determination, all that,—work—especially with this, being prescribed to no formal, recognized program, having to cut that path your own. Doctors should be rewarded nicely.

But with writing, it's been its own reward. I write to give myself something to read. I know what I like to read, so I write that—or I try to. And like Bob Burton, I write to fight the melancholy that is my natural disposition. I practice art for the sake of art alone, because it makes life for me more bearable. And that is enough really.


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