Be A Prodigy

"I don't recommend the writing life—at least not the one in which you move around a lot, live alone, and work odd jobs. Swing a gig where you hit the big time quick. Be a prodigy, if your agent can arrange it, and then get yourself banned in Boston. I arrived at the discipline late, at the age of twenty-nine, in part because I needed material, but mostly because I boarded a train called the Romantic Debauchery in the mistaken assumption that it would somehow get me to my destination quicker than the ones marked Hard Work and Paying Attention. Hundreds of wrong trains and many lost years later, I have learned that, despite the jovial public legends, inebriation and lucid expression are at odds with each other. If I am to write with spiritual integrity, I cannnot be a drunken butterfly."

- Poe Ballantine, "501 Minutes to Christ" (The Sun, The Best American Essays 2006)