Just past the two year mark graduating with a Master’s degree in Creative Writing. Let’s see how things are going:
-Living with parents: check
-Reproducing with no viable and immediate means to take care of new family (now consisting of two children): check
-Writing at a minimal pace and not completing any stories: check
-Still waiting to publish a book: check
-Friends doing better than I am (financially): check
-Not using degree that took many years and lots of money to get: check
Sounds like the last two years have been quite the positive adventure for me and my family.
Now, I know I usually focus on the dismal aspects of living, because it’s easy and I find it more interesting to write about. However, even though these last two years have been extremely difficult and frustrating, there has been some good since graduating (I think) in the last six months or so:
-The wife and I have finally given ourselves the time to work on our Etsy store, which is awesome I might add
-We have two children, The Chubbs and Little Sir who are healthy and so far, well behaved
-Without putting any effort into it at all, our photography business still brings in a little cash now and then
-Finally I am part of a writing group that meets often, gets work done, and wants to do amazing projects, which encourages me to write more and do more and be more
-First issue of From Sac went well, and we are currently working on the second issue, and we have great stories that we are publishing (still accepting more if you haven’t submitted)
Those are just a few parts of my life that are starting to go well, even though I tend to not see them. Because the last two years have been hard. Not just hard work, which is good, hard work makes you strong, makes you better, makes you beastly; but hard in the sense that even with all the hard work, it just hasn’t really worked out most of the time. The teaching job that I kind of had ended six months before it was supposed. The 20 some odd teaching job applications I’ve sent out have all turned up fruitless (not counting the other dozens and dozens of job applications that I’ve sent out for other non-degree related jobs). Publishing has been almost at a standstill for the past eight months. Rejection after rejection, and for a few contests that I thought for certain I had a chance at least getting third place in. And all this happening under the scrutinizing eyes of my parents, who watch every parenting choice, every marital choice, every personal choice that I make, critiquing, offering unsolicited advice, and yet unable to understand why I get frustrated.
Now, I know there are some out there who would say: “Well, why didn’t you major in engineering, or business, or science?” “You should be grateful you have a family that helps you.” “Just because you have a Master’s doesn’t mean you’re entitled to anything, and you should just work anywhere doing anything,” etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. But here’s the thing: I didn’t major in engineering or business or science, I majored in Creative Writing; I am grateful for the help of my parents, but does that mean they won’t drive me crazy?; I was told by my parents and society that if I went to college and got a degree, I would be guaranteed a job after graduating, especially with a Master’s, and yet there are no jobs; I have a family to take care of, and not just any job can take care of them, it won’t be enough to put food in their mouths and shelter over their heads (even crappy food and rundown housing).
Life now is hard. For everyone. I suppose it’s always been hard. Since the dawning of time humans have struggled. That’s great, good for them. Go humans of the past. I’m not them. All I know is now. My life. And it’s difficult. For me. Maybe not for someone else, or you, but for me, these last two years have been . . . devastating. As a person I have never had the greatest self-esteem. Call it personality, genetics, societal pressures, religious self-loathing, whatever. Sine a child, I have not really liked myself, or expected anything good to happen in my life. But overall, through elementary school and high school, and even college, I had an okay time. In these last two years, though, I have never felt lower, never been more sick to see my face staring back at me in the mirror. To know that face is nothing. A nobody. A flesh sack drifting through life as over seven billion other flesh sacks try to figure out what it means to live, and most never really seeing anything beside the backs of people’s heads as they queue up for the slaughter house. There are the few who become what they want to be: some idols for the lost and hopeless, others recluses and despisers of the animals human beings really are, others sheep caught in the hustle and bustle of trying to figure things out and they are trapped moving the wrong direction but they can’t see anything except what’s right in front of them and since they are moving they think it must be forward until they are falling off the cliff into oblivion and it’s too late to change course. Others, they pretend none of this exist, reality, humanity, time, space, the whole experience is just a dream, a time between times where consciousness has grown into some uncontrollable malice pretending at some philosophical evaluation we have titled “Life”. Others drink until all they feel nothing. Or do drugs. Or whatever.
Me? I just want to be an artist. I want to write and publish. I want to make beauty with my hands. I want to be happy with my wife and children. I want to feel good about what I do with my time and the people I spend giving my time to. I want to live. Without voices. Without 1984 growing ever stronger. Without the worry of being. It’s not a lot. I don’t need to be rich (but I would take it if it was offered), I don’t need to be famous (although that would be awesome, I think), I don’t need fancy cars (I hate cars), or a big house (I plan on building my own mini house some day). I don’t need the worldly commodities I’m told I should want. I just want a few acres with trees and meadows and streams, a tiny house with laughing children and a beautiful wife and no TV, where we can just do what we want when we want to do it. It’s not a lot, but it’s what I want.