Sunday, October 10, 2010

What Have I Done?

I stated at the beginning of these blog entries that I would write about everything. Things that excited me, and things that made me cry. It’s been building these last weeks with a couple of boring entries, but the dam just broke. I cried today. Big time. On my way home from my writers group meeting. I wondered all the way home whether I had it. Whether I’ve been spinning my wheels all of my life.

At fifty-three years of age, and decades of working from my imagination, which Einstein said was more important than knowledge, I wondered on that trip home whether my life has been worthless. I thought for a time that it just might have been, folks. And, let me tell you that at my age, that’s a debilitating thought.

Makes you feel your life has been worthless.

And, maybe mine has been.

It’s possible that I’ve been walking day to day from the light of the living world into oblivion. I have to look into the mirror and decide that. And I’m scared. Oh, my God! To look into my heart and mind and through my eyes into my soul? Do I have to? Really? To see the gray in my beard and in what’s left of my hair? Can’t I turn the other cheek and pretend that I’m just beginning my life instead of being ... oh, let’s face it ... more than half way through. Maybe even two-thirds. Heaven help me, I could die tonight. Do I have to face that having accomplished NOTHING worthwhile in my life?

People like me. I know that. But the question is, if I died today, how many would attend my funeral and drop a tear or two rather than just sending flowers and feel like they’ve done their part? Hmm? I’d say six people, including my estranged brother who would carry on quite a bit and focus the attention on his loss rather than my demise.

Hemingway swallowed the pipe. I have no such intention. So no one should concern themselves about my immediate health.

And ultimately, maybe this is a good thing. It just doesn’t feel like that now. When you read new material from a novel and you’re told that it doesn’t belong in your book, whoa! Even when someone tries their damndest to tell you how to fit it into your book and fails valiantly ... you just have to ask those deep, dark questions.

When you write a short story and are told it isn’t a short story, whoa!

You have to look into your eyes and ask. Has it been worth it? Or perhaps the better question would be ...

Will it be worth it?

I don’t know. I have to see how it plays out, but right now, I just feel like I’ve sacrificed everything for a single lottery ticket that, if I win, will result in a stoning. “The Lottery” you see, was a short story about the secret society of small town America. I think we can expand that. Look at corporations. Look at the various industries, including the entertainment industry and the publishing industry. So, if I succeed, it might just kill me. Thank you, Shirley Jackson (pictured), who herself died at the age of 48. At least she was married. Created a partnership with a person she spent the rest of her life with.

She suffered, I know. Untold issues. But she didn’t die alone.

Tonight, I suffer.

What do I do? Where do I go?

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Probably not. This is quite an intense blog entry. But I did promise to report the good and the bad.

All of this, and I’ve still managed to hold a skeleton or two in my closet.

I guess the bottom line here is, can I tell good stories? I’ve said a thousand times that I’d rather be a mediocre writer telling great stories than a great writer telling mediocre stories. It appears that I’m doing neither.

And I’m doing neither while desperately alone.

Call this an extra entry. And it’s beddy bye time.

As always, I’ll let you know how I did next Sunday, even if I feel differently about this entry.


  1. Hang in there, old friend. We're both going through rough times, you with your writing and me with my health. But I will recover and you will get published. Count on it!

  2. I think everyone certainly goes through these moments and days of doubt and uncertainty about both writing and life. I don't know if it was Ariel in her "How to Become a Famous Writer" book or someone else, but you are not your writing. Sounds anyway from your class introduction that you are feeling better. Looking forward to writing with you & everyone else.

  3. Thanks, Food Czar! Thanks, Yasmin!

  4. Pretty much how I often feel...glad you wrote it down instead of me; saved me a lot of suffering and introspection, therefore many, many thanks, Rocky. We are always deeply alone. Together.