Maybe the best way to gauge the true importance of what you’re doing is The Bus Theory. You wake up in the morning. You get to your workspace. You carve. You chop. You create. And at the end of the workday – be it an hour, or a morning, or the whole livelong day – you walk out into the world. The traffic slides by in the street. The world is its ordinary self. You still carry your quiet sentences with you. A little distracted, you step off the curb. Suddenly there’s a whoosh of air, a blast of horn, a whack of diesel, a scream. The bus misses you by inches. Less than inches. A whisker away. It’s not so much that your life passes before your eyes, but your novel does, your poem does, your story does. You step back onto the street and catch your breath. You do not ever want to be hit by a bus, but if you are to be sideswiped – if the world is fated that way – then the bus must at the very least wait until your book is completed. If I have to go, Lord Conductor, please wait until I’ve finished this novel. This Bus Theory – which might also be called The Theory of Purpose – will get you out of bed in the morning. It proves the value of your struggle. The work matters. The story needs to be told. Death is a bore. At least for now.
Letters to Young Writers | Young Writers Archive