Tonight, I had one of those toxic writing friends moments. As I have probably mentioned elsewhere in this blog, there are some people that you do not talk about your writing or the things that you are doing to grow your writing business; simply because after talking to them, you end up feeling depressed or blocked. Toxic writing friends (not neccessarily a friend; it is just a generic label for the type of person I am talking about) are the wet blankets that drown out the muse and your will to get up and type in the morning.
In this case, it wasn't even my conversation. I was just an innocent bystander. My mother-in-law called about the monetary difficulties that my brother-in-law is having. I got involved because the wife kept asking me about my opinion about the situation. Honestly, I would rather soak my head in gasoline and set myself on fire; that is how toxic the conversation was in my opinion; plus I really didn't want to get involved. My brother-in-law is still going to school, but needs to take out a large private student loan to survive. He is unemployed at the moment, as so many other people are, and needs a co-signer. I would go into more detail, but the finer points are not important.
Now, I understand being unemployed (ignoring my freelance and internet writing) and going to college. I also understand needing a co-signer. In my case, I am unemployed because restaurants can hire someone else for less than they would have to pay me (ten years of restaurant management is not necessarily a plus in today's or yestersday's job market). Fortunately, I have my wife (an elementary art teacher) who is willing to co-sign for me. As she notes, we are in this together.
What got me thinking was that he is trying to borrow much more money than I am. We are both working on bachelor's degrees; he is aiming for something to do with computers (programming or something like that, I think) while I am aiming for literature. He is going to ITT or Devrey, or some school like that (can you tell I don't play much attention to his life?). I went to the Community College of Denver for my Associates (ok, I need to back-transfer a science class for the piece of paper) before moving on to the University of Colorado at Denver.
Now, I am not sure that his degree is actually going to be worth the price he is paying to get it. In theory, the type of job that it will allow him to get will pay far more than the job that I am going to qualify for ("Would you like fries with that?"), even with an advanced degree. But will his degree be worth the investment? Will he actually use it?
For that matter, will what I am doing (college and writing) be worth the investment that I am putting in? I am not sure. The happy little cynic in me says no, or is that the voice of my mother? Either way, I am not completely happy with the seed of doubt in my head. Ahh, the toxicity of it all.
Fortunately, it should be a short bout of writing block. After all, I have a completed article that I wrote in long-hand today that I need to type up tommorrow, then I got finals all next week. It should keep me from thinking about the possibility that I am just wasting my time and energy chasing a set of impossible worthless dreams. By the time the dust clears, I should have forgotten this toxic conversation which is the trick when dealing with toxic writing friends.