Monday, July 19, 2010

And Now The Payoff

By Joseph Kellard

I got a check in the mail today. It came just a few days after I got my hands on the summer issue of The Objective Standard, a quarterly publication for an intellectually curious general audience that analyzes political and cultural issues from Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. The check was for a book review I wrote that was printed in that same issue.

My review of John Eisenberg’s “That First Season,” a book about Vince Lombardi’s rookie year coaching the Green Bay Packers, was my first publication in an established, respected outlet — one that I know has high standards. On top of this, later this year, my letter to another football great, Dan Marino, will be printed in a high school textbook published by Pearson Education. I expect a check for this notch on my resume sometime in November.

While it’s certainly gratifying getting money for my work, what’s most important in these two instances is that my writing will reach a wider audience. Why is this important? Well, it means my ideas are reaching and potentially influencing more people. And outside of the absolute selfish joy I get from writing alone, this is the most important goal of my writing. It means I’m introducing more people to the ideas that I think are true, have shaped my life for the better and hopefully more of the world that I live in.

I’m immensely grateful, mainly to myself and those who have recognized my value, that my countless hours, days and years of writing have paid off enough to allow me to make my living at what I love to do. I’ve earned my keep as a journalist now for the past decade, and I’ve greatly enjoyed this line of work. But while I’ve come across and written stories about people that have helped to convey my sense of life and broader philosophy through these subjects, since in some of their qualities they have reflected both, more often journalism is far from the best vehicle to promote your worldview.

If I had my way, I would make my living as an Objectivist commentator, writing my opinions, and thus conveying my idea, on many important issues of the day. I’d also like to go on to write a few non-fiction books. Until then, I’ll stick with journalism to keep earning my keep, while on the side I will continue to write in other mediums as a way to promote my worldview, whether through essays in Objectivist publications, opinion pieces in non-Objectivists newspapers and website, and books.

I recently completed a 6,000 word essay on the fundamental ideas of Christianity and Catholicism, and how I believe these have played a fundamental role in the Catholic Church’s ongoing sex scandals. Again, what’s most important is the great pleasure and satisfaction I get from writing such a thought-provoking piece, and those emotions will turn to joy if my essay is published and thus read more widely than it otherwise would be on this blog or similar, limited outlets. I believe that wider, general audience desperately needs to know my ideas on this issue, and I expect that my ideas would then have an impact in shaping my world for the better, even if only on a small scale. Ultimately, it would mean a better world for me and the people I value to live in. And, who knows, this issue may become the subject of one of the books I would like to write one day, thereby gaining a potentially larger audience and impact. Lord knows the world needs such a book.

For now, though, I want the momentum of my publishing success to continue. So even as I prepare for a new journalism job that’s taking up a lot of time and effort, I’m making the time and finding the effort to work on revising a poem about romantic love and sex that I believe has the potential for print in a reputable poetry publication. And this foray into poetry just might lead me back to writing short stories, a genre that, in part, is where my writing began as a teenager.

Here’s the bottom line: I set out at a young age to become a professional and published writer, and those goals have become, slowly but surely, a reality.

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