Bringing a Story to Life: Living the Dream?

DREAMSo, listening to The Prophet’s Song from Night at the Opera and realizing that I’ve been working on my dream of being a novelist a lot longer than I thought.

I’ll be honest – Not having a great day.  Didn’t start out well waking up from a nightmare at 5:30am only to go downhill from there.

I was thinking about how I’m coming to the end of the Metatron’s Army series and though I kind of dread the end, I’m looking forward to it as well.

After all, it’s taken up over 2 years of my life (just the writing part – not the 35 + in building it) and counting.

As I considered how I basically work seven days a week and all but eighteen hours a day – not counting dreams – it occurred to me.  This isn’t new.

My first declaration of being a writer came when I was three.

Those who laughed at me.  I wonder – was it that I was going to be a writer or because I was only three and already knew what I wanted to do when I grew up?

I did take a detour into math and science and Olympic dreams only to be yanked back to writing via a brain hemorrhage and NDE.

Since MA basically came from that I can’t help but wonder at the hairpin turn in the road and what it might mean in terms of destiny to be a writer. 

Even as I weaved back into the land of science, math, and engineering after the surgery, I never quit writing.

  • I filled high school notebooks with stories.

That will never see the light of day and have already been sacrificed to the fire gods.

  • I sat in boring college lectures and even more boring staff meetings and wrote stories in my head.

That I either wrote during the boredom or jotted down at the earliest opportunity to get my hands on paper napkin, plate, magazine edge, Styrofoam coffee cup, tea bag papers, etc

  • I filled boxes to the brim with typewritten stories – short stories – novellas – novels –
  • I wrote at night after putting in a full day of work followed by college classes at night, while a passenger in a car, as a guest at weddings of people I didn’t know, at boring family parties.

Writing on cups, plates, napkins, anything I could scribble on.

All those years spent writing, I now see I wasn’t only working on the craft, I was working toward my dream.

Practice makes perfect.

Even my time spent in a corporate black hole learning good business practices and etiquette were providing the foundation for my current career.

Writing is a business.

I once visited the San Francisco office of a friend who was just starting out on his own after parachuting from the corporate black hole.  He was a bit ambiguous about the small space.  Me?  I was thrilled!  Someone besides me was living their dream!

As an outsider, it was easy for me to see that he was living his dream in spite of the modest accoutrements.

I never saw this in my own struggles.  I only saw wall after wall of water coming at me while I paddled my little boogie board alongside others.

It occurred to me that many people may not realize they are actually already on the road to fulfilling their dreams because they may not recognize it for what it is.

Permission Slips?  Ha!  I recently attended a U of M alumni meeting for entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs.  At the end of the evening I realized a number of young passionate individuals seemed to be waiting for permission to pursue their dreams.

Forget it – ain’t happenin’  Only person who will give you that permission is the one looking back at you in the mirror.

One of the guys attending asked me what was the final straw that had me leaving the black hole for theoretically lighter pastures.

The answer was too complicated to go into and it would probably be different for everyone.

There’s a saying among writers that the day you are reading and think you can do it better is the day you should become a writer.  My own foray  into the field didn’t happen along those lines but I get the philosophy and it’s a good one that applies broadly.

Tap on the Shoulder…Pssst….I knew three months before I resigned that change was in the air.

  • I was putting the finishing touches on my doctoral thesis.
  • My company had just gone through a merger and I had court-side tickets to the insanity and stupidity.
  • The stars were lined up, pointing toward a writer’s conference in NY.
  • CHANGE was whispering through my soul

What I failed to recognize is that the point I was standing at wasn’t the head of the trail that led to a writing career – it was halfway in.

Pffffft!  When I’m feeling particularly frustrated because I don’t recognize the path – because I’m too busy clearing with a machete, I think of a quote I saw at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The chart-topping success of “Heart of Gold” “put me in the middle of the road.  Traveling there soon became a bore, so I headed for the ditch.  A rougher ride but I saw more interesting people there.”

And so it goes…

Are you living your dream but not recognizing it for what it is?

Back to Book 12…

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