Sunday, October 08, 2006

229. these dreams

Call it the unbridled optimism of one who finds himself in a new land (I imagine the gold rush settlers felt the same), but as I look to begin my job search in earnest next week, I feel like I'm embarking on an adventure where the outcome is as limitless as it is unknown. A part of me sees this as an opportunity to reinvent myself, to take on the grand challenges that God has created me to tackle, to become who I was always meant to be.

I just wish I knew what that looked like.

"What would you want it to look like?"

Well first of all, I'd like my band to be a success and to me that means, at the very least, the ability to support ourselves through playing music alone. Basically, that means making enough through the band that I don't need to have a "regular" job to pay the bills. At the extreme end of the dream is global musical domination where we get to tour the world playing for sold out audiences.

This dream, in its most sublime expression, would include an episode where I go out on a date with Paris Hilton. On this date, I would point out how sad and shallow her public persona is. She is so taken by this critique that she renounces her Hilton inheritance, moves to Calcutta and takes up where Mother Theresa left off.

"Uh huh. Anything else?"

Yeah, I'd also like to be a bestselling short story writer.

I've actually taken my first baby steps in this direction (see blog 221), and to add to this, I just purchased a very simple book about how to break into the publishing industry. It's just a primer on the very basics (like those ____ for Dummies books) but since I have absolutely no knowledge of the industry whatsoever, I'm finding it fascinating. Once I make it through this book, I plan on picking up the 2007 Novel and Short Story Writer's Market (if it's out).

"So you picked up a book on publishing. Big deal."

Yeah, maybe, but there's more to it than that. See, I'm not big on confidence. I was talking with an artist friend of mine recently and he talked about how on the surface he's full of bravado and daring when it comes to his work but deep down inside, there's a part of him that wonders if he has what it takes to follow through.

I told him I was the complete opposite of that.

On the surface, I think my writing is only worth reading for free on blogs like this one (see blog 206). Why would anyone pay to read my prosaic rants or my meandering short stories? But buried deep beneath this self-effacement is a tiny brain cell that thinks I actually have something to say - that the powerful play goes on, and I will contribute a verse (apologies to Walt Whitman).

Normally, buying even a simple book on publishing would be impossible for me because the surface insecurity would tell me it was futile. But today, that tiny brain cell asserted itself and I brought that book home with me.

Funny thing about the brain. It's always making new connections. Computer engineers working in the field of artificial intelligence might say that the neural networks in our brains are massively parallel - that we process things simultaneously rather than sequentially. Our brain can operate this way because of the new connections that are created (and which multiply geometrically) when we learn something new.

Now that my little brain cell of literary belief is firing away, who knows where that will take me.

Another case in point. Today I made my final shopping decisions at IKEA. Turns out I'm going to be spending almost twice as much on my desk and my chair (where I plan to do most of my writing) as I will on my bed frame and mattress. This was a deliberate move on my part - a way to tell myself that I'm serious about giving this writing thing a go.

There are some people out there who compensate for their insecurities by talking themselves up, by overselling themselves. These are the kinds of people who end up as incompetent upper management types. In contrast, I acquiesce to my insecurities by not putting myself out there.

But not any more.

I'm not saying that I'm going to turn into Jack Nicholas' character in the (excellent) movie "As Good As It Gets," but I am dipping my little toe into the pool of possibilities. And the water seems nice and warm.

"Yeah, and teeming with sharks."

Well then I'll be sure to bring along some tartar sauce.

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