My son is an aspiring actor and was complaining yesterday about having to make fifty copies of resumes and headshots for an upcoming “cattle call” audition. “The art is easy,” he said. “It’s all this crap I hate.” I felt the same way at his age. Submitting work to agents and journals, formatting manuscripts, and even “networking” require, it seems to me, very different parts of the brain from writing, and they are not parts to which I have easy access. Liam is a chip off the old block. But I find that as I get older I become fonder of those sorts of actitvities. No, they are not the wonderful rush and wallowing of the creative act, but I feel good when I have performed them. For me, it’s like the experience of being a mother. All sorts of formerly repulsive things, from changing diapers to filling out financial aid forms, become more welcome parts of life than one would have thought possible. Also, just as introspective mothers tend to form groups and socialize more when they have children, so I have found that a writing group is a wonderful way to connect with people who are, like me, performing this difficult-to-describe balancing act, and who think it is worth doing. “It’s like having a child,” I tried to explain to Liam, but of course he hasn’t had one, and it’s one of those things you really have to experience to understand. I hope he comes to appreciate the pleasures of legwork earlier than I did, but there’s no way I can really bring that about. I’ll have to settle for trying to be a good example. So, off to get the novel manuscript ready to send of to a contest. Onward.