Clocking In written by Dan Leicht at

Clocking In

Clocking In

written by: Dan Leicht



Resting for the first day in months,
without much to worry about
other than when the next rejection letter will arrive,
in the park on a Winter day, sits the writer. It’s freezing,
his hands tucked into the pockets of his jacket.
The fountain,
the one with the small child
shooting water out of a trumpet, is dormant.
He’s thinking to himself, this is it, this is what life is.
He’s been getting up two hours earlier
for work
every day for five years
in order to arrive an hour early,
get his overtime,
the time that when applied to his paycheck actually makes the job worth it.
He’s been sending out manuscripts of stories, novels, for years,
with nothing but “unfortunately this isn’t what we’re looking for” filling his inbox.
The themes, the characters, it’s what they all claim to be looking for,
but his name, his arranging of the words, they’re looking for someone else.
This must be what life is,
the constant sending of hard work into the void only to continue it forever,
saving a little bit each day until someday,
it’s enough for groceries. He’s drifting,
until water splashes him in the face and alerts him to the world again.
“Do you really think you’ve figured it out?” asks the child holding the trumpet.
“Get back to work,” says the child, “keep at it and someday you’ll be like me.”
“Like you?” he asks, “what do you mean?”
“I love playing the trumpet,
I get to play it every day of my life and people come to admire me.
Do you think this happened on accident?
I had to chisel my way into this world.
Sitting there, feeling the world owes you something, you’re wrong.
Maybe you’re not the writer those editors are looking for,
but you’ve certainly not sent your work to every single one.
The world isn’t going to come to you unless you put in the work.”
He got up and wiped his face,
removed his gloves
and scribbled into his notebook during the walk home.

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