Drunken Rambling: The Burden of My Staggering Genius
I think I've always been a bit wide eyed at the possibilities of life. When I was younger - say, teens to mid twenties - I had a pretty rich fantasy life about what I could do with myself - be a famous musician, be a comedian, be a published writer, be a great lover of women, etc. And while those pursuits didn't seem all that probable, they did seem possible. And even when I started becoming a bit more settled and on something of a "real" career path, I still had plenty of room in my head for these dreams.
What's always stopped me from really getting anywhere in these pursuits is time*. Ultimately all these things demand at least several hours of your day, and once you're working the 40-60 hour workweek, that time is hard to find. I'm constantly, during the day, writing down little notes to myself about ideas I have, be they stories, editorials or bits of music. (In fact, there is, on my hard drive right now, a wav file called "5/4 riff," which was a cool guitar bit I came up with and quickly recorded via the laptop's microphone. Don't know why I'm telling you this but it seems to reinforce my point.) The theory is that after I write them down, I can return to them later. But... when is later? I haven't had a later in fucking years. And the depressing realization is starting to dawn on me that maybe later will never come.
*Well, time and another element I lack: focus!
It reminds me of a conversation I had with some guy I met in the library in my early twenties. I was reading a guitar mag and this 40-ish dude started up a conversation with me about the big guitar heroes - Hendrix, Jimmy Page etc. I was full on in the throes of guitar playing back then, and could easily spend 6-8 hours a day on it. This older guy seemed like he too had been there, and I asked him the obligatory question, "Do you still play?" Well, you can kind of predict the answer. "No, I've got a wife/a kid/ a job blah blah..." And of course I thought, "Man, that'll never be me."
But the sad truth is, at 32 I'm not that far off from that guy. I mean, I do still play but nowhere near the amount that I did. And the world definitely doesn't revolve around guitar the way it used to.
On the other hand, I've thought a lot over the years about what motivated me to play so much back when I was younger. And some of the reasons probably weren't all that... shall we say "pure?" Why do most young men play guitar? To get pussy. Or to be "cool." For that intangible measurement of teenage respect. To be famous.
In fact, I went through a point a few years ago where I really had to look myself in the mirror and ask if I should bother to keep playing at all. Having come to the conclusion that none of the above criteria would be met, was there any point to keep it up? I never really answered the question. But, I also never stopped playing. Almost unconsciously, whenever I got home the guitar would call me over to pick it up and knock out some leads. I still got a great thrill out of putting on a blues tape and playing along. At the very least, I had to concede that part of the incentive I had for playing the guitar came from a genuine fondness for the instrument and music in general. I think, were I locked away in some prison somewhere, with no hope off gaining any social benefit from the act, I would still play guitar.
Now I got a bit off track there, but my point is, sure, I may still want to play guitar, I still gots the love, but what about the time? There's a seemingly unspoken truth that as you get older: your dreams get crushed by the onslaught of (mis)fortune. Whatever plain desire you may have possessed is overcome by the need to have food in your mouth, a roof over your head, and the occasional boy prostitute. And some would say, "Yes, Wil, you get it! This is why we must crush the wheels of capitalism and free the masses from the drudgery of the 40 hour work week." But I really don't care about the masses, I care about me. I'm an inherently selfish guy. In fact, I think when you dream as big as I seem cursed to, you HAVE to be selfish. You're mind is a constant buzz of thoughts and ideas that scream to get out. (But most of them don't... they get as far as being written down on a slip of paper or recorded into a wav file...and then the languish there, until they eventually die on the vine. I'll tell ya: my ideal heaven would be the opportunity to go back a revisit each of these ideas and bring them to their fruition. (An activity that would no doubt take me well into eternity.)
Now I'm not leading up to a downer here. It's true that we all at some point realize that the drudgery of day to day life - of a job or profession - eats up a lot of our "artistic" time. But you have to then step in and claim hours for that side of life. For myself, the goal has been to save up some money and take a year off that I can devote to the creative juices. (Granted, I'm pitifully behind in my money saving efforts (my recent car failure is of no help.) but maybe it won't be a year and maybe I'll eat even more top Ramen than originally planned, but I am committed to making this happen.) I'm also doing what I can to arrange my time more efficiently so I can make steady process in my various "projects." (Currently on the plate: at least two screenplays, continued Acid Logic articles, completion of my recent batch of musical recordings... down the line, maybe a novel.)Whether or not you feed your soul is your responsibility. Not because that's how it should be but because that's how it is.
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