My friend Judy Warner sends a story that nicely illustrates the nature of vocation or calling, which came up in Reading Good Writing:
Your description of what a writer does when reading made me laugh, because it made me realize what I had done that was comparable. When in my late 30s I decided I wanted to write, I didn’t know exactly what or how, but didn’t want to write fiction. Then when I was talking to someone at Vermont Castings about an unrelated job, he said they were planning to start an owners’ newspaper and did I think I could do that?
I immediately know exactly what it would be like and how I would do it. I set about making a mockup right away even though I didn’t know what a mockup was. Then when I got the chance to actually do it, I learned about every piece of the process and did it, and wrote, edited, supervised art, and produced a nice and much-admired tabloid-type newsletter. It was the most fun I ever had in a job.
So thinking about that, I realize that I had always looked at the structure of the books and magazines I read since I was very young — things like page numbers, copyrights, tables of contents, typefaces, columns and features, and so on. I made all the birthday and other cards for my family and put a little “Kaplan Press” logo on the back of each. I created newsletters all the time. What a funny thing to have developed a knowledge of.