Politics Magazine

Support Roles

Posted on the 30 November 2023 by Steveawiggins @stawiggins

It seems to me that many people who strive for a particular life—say writer, actor, rock star—and don’t break through often end up in supporting roles.  I’ve looked for agents for three of my books (unsuccessfully, of course) and have noticed that many agents list themselves as authors as well.  I’ve not heard of any of their books, but then again, there are thousands of new books (likely closer to two million) published each year.  Nobody can keep up.  Since I can’t break through, I work as an editor.  A support role.  Many colleagues who haven’t made it to tenured professorships settle for the better paying but less rewarding job of being administrators.  Artists become gallery owners, guitar players sound engineers, actors coaches.  You get the picture.  We can’t all succeed at what we set out to do.

There is, however, always hope.  For the past several months I have begun each day seeking out quotes about hope.  Those who struggle, sometimes against great odds, must never give up.  I continue to write books even if they don’t sell or even get published.  Some of the writers I admire most never achieved fame until after they died.  The drive to do something noteworthy with life is strong, even if we don’t know what that is yet.  When we give up hope we become mere drones.  Automatons doing our pre-programmed work.  That is, we identify with our support roles and that becomes our life.

Support Roles
Photo by Faris Mohammed on Unsplash

I read about movies quite a lot.  There are many people involved, often in roles that most of us simply don’t comprehend.  Some of the more versatile people in the industry shift from role to role—director, writer, technician, producer, actor.  Those who break through are the few upon whom society smiles.  I recall learning about the Communist ideal of assigning people roles based on their early aptitudes.  I have no way of knowing if this really happened, but the idea is both scary and promising.  Scary because some of us are late bloomers.  Promising because some of us showed early talents that have been undervalued in our careers.  I don’t give up hope.  Daily, even on vacation, I awake early to work on what I hope to accomplish.  I may never break through—finding success as a writer is elusive, especially if you didn’t major in a subject others expect will lead to a writing career.  A support role gets you close enough, perhaps, to see how it’s done.  And to hope.

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