Written by Tyler Anderson, Opinion Editor
Looking back on my role models growing up, they’re a far cry from what you’d expect from a cisgender male living in the south.
Oprah and Stefani Germanotta (we all know her as Lady Gaga) were pretty high on the list. But one person, or in this case, fictional character, has always held a special place in my heart: Carrie Bradshaw of “Sex and the City.”
Independent, quick on her feet and keenly aware of her faults, Carrie Bradshaw epitomized what it meant to be modern and successful.
Above all, she was a writer. And not just any writer, but one that worked for years to achieve the success she’d always dreamed of.
That a fictional character inspired so much of who I am today goes to show writers, authors and other creative talents inspire and move us more often than is acknowledged. As one of those aspiring trendsetters and opinion shakers, nothing is as frustrating as repeatedly being told my time spent bettering the talents I have is a waste.
Believe me, I came to terms with never becoming a millionaire long ago. Barring breakout successes, few authors ever see six-digit salaries, and that doesn’t bother me.
What does, however, is lack of respect for the painstakingly tedious writing process and just how much everyone relies on those who’ve taken up writing professionally as their career.
Chances are you’ve used a textbook in the past few days. Or maybe you’ve been putting together a new Target bookshelf and really needed the instruction manual to help piece it together. And if my Facebook feed is anything to go by, more than a few of you are “Game of Thrones” addicts.
Each of these is possible because of a writer.
Forbes recently published “The Least Valuable College Majors,” a list on which English sits at number ten, with history and the physical arts not far ahead. These articles aren’t rare, either.
Median salary and unemployment rates are often the criteria such articles go by. Each are important things to consider in a career, yes; however, my apprehension stems from the assumption that more money equates to more credibility or usefulness, a belief which is even shared by some lawmakers, such as Gov. Matt Bevin.
This simplistic attitude towards the influence and the importance of the arts certainly isn’t a new one. Earlier this year, The New York Times published “What if Trump Really Does End Money for the Arts?” Within is an in-depth discussion on funding and the importance of the arts, including the written word, and whether they are financially feasible endeavors.
What strikes me as most important is an included quote from the Association of Art Museum Directors: “It is the mark of a great democracy to support the arts, which are an expression of what makes us human.”
If I’ve learned nothing else as a student, it’s that most all writing stems from the need to explore the human condition. Not only that, but good writing leads us to think critically about the world around us.
This is what’s missing in the discussion about writing. I’m lucky to have parents who understand my future isn’t meant to be spent in a medical office or managing a construction crew (but they do hope I hit the writer’s jackpot one day so they can retire peacefully in the mountains).
When we stop focusing less on the almighty dollar and more on how to better serve ourselves and our communities, an appreciation for what writers do will come naturally.
Until that time, I’ll keep looking to Carrie Bradshaw for the inspiration I need. I might not be looking for love in the big city, but I’ll make it one day, on my own terms, and no financial analyst can convince me otherwise.