Sometime in the first grade our teacher, Ms. Christianson, asked us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Mine were easy. I wanted to be an astronaut, an architect, a basketball player, and a writer. Someone told me I’d be too tall to be an astronaut. It also involved a lot of math. Even then I think I knew I’d be a tall guy.
A basketball player then? Basketball players are tall, right? Not quite tall enough though. You’ll be over six feet, Chris, but not SO over six feet that you’d be a lock for basketball. Plus, there was that other attribute–athleticism–where I was lacking.
I remember the first thing Steven Meyer told me about architects: “They don’t make any money.” Somehow, as a kid that rang true. Plus, architects needed to know math as well.
That left me with writer. Of course, writers don’t really make money. At least not the writer I imagined myself being. But it seemed the most doable option. It also had perks. Writers get to create. And not just create, but hound and prod and poke and best of all, watch. I like to watch. I can call myself a voyeur can’t I without it coming off too strangely? I like to watch. Spy. Peek behind curtains. See what I’m not supposed to see. Writing gives me that.
Wait, what? No. I still want to be a writer. I want to be the published author and novelist I dreamed about as a kid. But a funny thing happened between then and now. Actually it’s not funny at all. Actually it just sort of stinks. The funny thing was that I forgot to get to the writing part.
Don’t get me wrong, I write all the time. I’ve got some books I’ve written–never published of course–some stories I’ve written–never published of course, and I’ve got one novel right now I’m just about done with that I don’t think is half bad. Still though. It’s not enough. How often do I submit? How often do I actually put myself out there?
Not that often if I’m being honest.
I don’t know if it’s fear or laziness or what? One or all of those is the answer. Either way, I’m left now with a choice: do I push on and go for what I’ve always wanted? Or do I accept that I might not be as driven as I need to be and apply to some job where I can just relax? I know the answer seems simple: go for the dream. The pragmatic side of me says otherwise. The pragmatic side is a smart guy. He’s steered me from drug abuse and many a job firing. He’s also sort of an asshole. He doesn’t think much of the dreamer side. In fact the two don’t get along well at all.
So what are we going to do? Who would you kill?
© 2014 Christopher Dart