When I first started studying science I viewed it as my calling, proclaiming my passion from the rooftops; but, as time passed, I found that no amount of verbal assurance could manifest an interest I didn’t actually possess. As my attention waned, I expressed my commitment to my self-‘identity’ in ever increasing displays of passion. It was as if, by turning from this course and changing myself, I would lose what made me “me”. In fear I surrounded myself with icons from my desired identity, little idols I paid homage to. One particular golden-calf was Carl Sagan, a man for whom I still have a great deal of respect, but who taught me that all it took to be a scientist was a profound respect for nature and a careful rational mind; sufficiently vague qualities that I could convince myself that I possessed them. As the reality became apparent, that being a scientist took a massive amount of work, I began throwing myself into this illusion with increasing gusto- even to the point of watching Cosmos instead of doing homework. I preferred the illusion to reality, and when it came time to put up or shut up, I ran. I mention this because I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among some of the writing communities I’ve been a part of; that is the referring to writing as their ‘craft’. The word ‘craft’ implies some kind of higher calling, as if the artist was commissioned, by god, to create this work, and it is them and only them who can put pen to paper to create such universal turns of phrase that they shine light on our collective human experience. Their sole purpose in life is the creation of their ‘art’, all else is secondary, as it should be for an artisan working on his ‘craft’. The lady doth protest too much, methinks. The word creates distance between the writer and his subject, and, though I’m aware of the danger of sweeping generalities, I’ve found writing to be about closeness. All the great writers I’ve read had interesting experiences, led unique lives, and their publications were merely a take on the world around them. They were immersed in their subject, and they never sat down to write the next great American novel. They were just some guy (or girl), who had a story to tell. Well, except for Mark Twain- but he’s an asshole, so let’s not talk about him.