It’s more than work. More than sacrifice. It is like dedication, but with a prayer. It’s something spiritual. I don’t think you can be devoted to quantifiable things. Like, you can’t be devoted to grad school. Because how grad school works is you pay money, take tests and then you get a degree. But I think you could be devoted to learning. You can be devoted to people. People are non-quantifiable and mysterious and I think anything you’re devoted to must be that. In fact, maybe devotion implies a relationship. A symbiosis.
I was devoted to writing a book. I wrote every day before work. If I was working at Egg I got there early to write at the bar before my shift started. I took two writing classes and hired an editor and did a professional residency at Kimmel Harding Nelson in Nebraska and did an informal residency at an airbnb in Vermont. I dreamed about it. I cried when I decided to delete entire chapters, characters. I gave it my mornings, my evenings, my money, my vacation days.
Since I moved to Denver I can’t say that I am still devoted to this book. Maybe because what is left is the editing and the publishing and perhaps by my own definition those are not things to which you can devote yourself. (Maybe I need to trade my devotion for dedication.) Anyway, I don’t visit the book every day anymore. It doesn’t feel like a prayer, the way it used to. But I noticed something strange this year. It kept happening that on my most miserable days I would wake up early, hopefully when it was still dark out, and I would get out the manuscript and I would sit with it. And it brought me peace. So it seems, that somewhere along the way, this book became devoted to me.