The Need For Adversity

Sometimes when I walk into my comic book store, I’m asked if I have a ‘pull list’ with them. For those who are unaware, a pull list is a list of comics you want set aside so you can just pick them up when you arrive. Now I see the logic behind this. People want to come in, get their stuff and go. That’s fine and if that’s your thing, God bless. As for me, I usually turn down the offer. I tell them I like the hunt, and I do. I love to search through the titles and find my prey. Sometimes I even discover something new or find something unexpected. The randomness o f the unknown is too much of a temptation for me.

This got me to thinking about society in general. When I was growing up, we had to wait until the next week to see the following episode of our favorite shows. Now we can binge the entire season in an afternoon. We would have to wait days, sometimes weeks, for items we ordered through a catalog. Now you get your Amazon order the next day. Same day in some cases. We have grown to resenting a wait. We’re always looking for ways to make things come faster. We want it now and we want it perfect. Why the rush? What happened to the joy of anticipation? I know it seems like torture to have to wait, but that’s when you truly savor the experience and that makes getting what you want even sweeter and more fulfilling. Being able to get whatever you want on demand is like empty calories and the satisfaction fades away so quickly.

I think, as a species, we require adversity. We honestly crave it and by trying to eliminate it, we’re losing a basic part of ourselves and I also see how this can affect the real world. Look at what eBooks have done. It’s easier, cheaper and faster to buy a digital book, but where have all the bookstores gone? I don’t see any new ones opening. Those jobs are gone and are never coming back. I’m not saying digital books are alone to blame, but you can’t say they weren’t a component of the situation. I mean, look at the music industry. Now that we can buy music digitally, music stores have gone extinct as well. Even some stores l like Best Buy and Target are shrinking their music selections or eliminating them all together. We need to be challenged, even in these urban environs. Our hunting instinct still exists, but it has no outlet. I think that’s why some people are ‘shoppers’. They enjoy the hunt, but instead of food, they’re hunting for bargains. I believe this because I know when I am out for something, I will not stop until I get it. I have spent entire days tracking down my treasures not intending to go to such lengths. It’s a drive in me that goes beyond rational thought. It’s instinct. A hunger for some kind of satisfaction and when I find my ‘prey’ I am happy. I feel as though I have accomplished something. I’ve been know to collect those Pop Vinyl figures and while I do purchase many of them online, there are times I go out and seek out some of the harder to find ones and when I do find them, the satisfaction is noticeably higher for me. I could have stayed home and ordered them online, but being out in the world and finding it myself was a  much richer experience. Quicker and faster is not exactly better. I know many would disagree, but it’s true.

Picture a world where everything is yours the second you want it. You don’t have to wait until that new movie comes out, you can just watch it online now. You can shop for your groceries online and have them delivered. You don’t have to wait for anything or go out for any reason. You get to just sit on your ass all day long while people bring you things and you download whatever you want online. This is not how we were designed to live. I’m not saying innovation is evil, but I think it needs to be restrained. It may seem archaic in some cases, but I don’t think we should be trying to make EVERYTHING so easy. We have to work for it a little bit. Someday we’ll have robots making all of our cars, serving us food and movie theaters will be a thing of the past, and that will pretty much deep six the entire entertainment industry, believe me, it will. All we’ll be left with is YouTube videos and whatever homemade crap people are still uploading. I don’t know about you, but I see the way things are going and I don’t want it. I long for the days before the internet and before same day delivery. I honestly believe having to wait and learning to be patient made better people. Kids are now growing up in a world where they get what they want right away and look at them. Over-privileged douchebags who spend their days developing apps so they can sell them to Google for a billion dollars before they graduate high school. Life is getting so mushed up and warped around. We’re losing the foundation and it’s all falling apart.

I know this isn’t going to change anything, but hopefully if someone actually reads this, they’ll at least walk away with something to think about.

Settling? No Way!

This weekend is exciting for me because I am a finalist in a short  play competition in Ohio. My play is being performed in front of audiences and I could conceivably win first place. I of course told my family and today when I was leaving from this week’s visit, I was saying something about how I was fired up to earn first place, and if not that honor, I’d be happy with second or third; However my father mentioned about how I should ‘take what they give me’ and that off the cuff remark triggered something in me. I was thinking about it and after a lot of soul searching I decided that I did NOT want to just take what was given to me.

I realized that I am sick and tired of that attitude. I hate the concept of gratefully taking whatever crumbs fall off the plate. I don’t want to live my life like that. I deserve first place damn it! I deserve to walk away with the gold once in a while. I don’t want to live a life that was built by submission and surrender. I work hard at what I do and I aim for the best results for my efforts. I refuse to just accept runner up as my destiny. I know we all can’t be Stephen King or James Patterson, but if you don’t at least believe you can achieve that, you never will. I may fail, but I’d rather fail trying than survive by giving up.

I can see now I grew up in a household that pretty much encouraged me to just accept the bare minimum as the goal. No fault being pinned. I’m a dreamer who came from non-dreamers. It happens. I just don’t subscribe to the ‘keep your head down and don’t make waves’ school of life; although I certainly have lived that way, but I’m also tired of that. I need to start holding myself to a higher standard in my own life. It’s a new philosophy I’m finally coming ’round to. This applies to all aspects of my life, both personal and professional. I’m tired of being rolled over because I question my worth. It feels like trying to reboot the hard drive, but every day I am going to try to make better choices for myself. One step at a time.

Back Again

Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been away lately because I’ve had my hands full. I had a job. I wanted to write, but after a day of sitting in front of a computer screen, the last thing I wanted to do was sit in front of another one. That has changed I’m afraid. Today I was informed that I have been fired. I have three days left and then it’s over.
I realize that life isn’t fair. I understand that, I do, but I have to say that this is almost criminally unfair to me. I spend 4 years looking for full time employment, I finally find something. The pays no good, but it was close to where I live and it was a very relaxed atmosphere. It was actually not a bad job and 5 months later it’s ripped away from me just like that. Of course in those 5 months, my car insurance has gone up. My phone bill has also increased and I have no idea if my length of employment will qualify me for benefits. Maybe some, but not enough I’m sure. I actually have to re-learn how to live as a jobless person. I forgot what it was like not to have income. I became so used to that bi-weekly paycheck. I was looking forward to this year’s holiday season. I was going to have money to buy gifts. I was going to get into Halloween. I was enjoying being able to splurge a little at the comic book store once in a while. I liked knowing I was able to like a shirt in a store, see that it was maybe ten bucks or so and I could just buy it, guilt free. Now I’m back to worrying over every last dollar. I have to wrestle over a five dollar purchase.
At this point I should say that I am aware there are people out there who are far worse off than myself and if put into perspective, my problems may not be so big. Be that as it may, it makes my pain no less valid. I’ve struggled and fought in ways few could understand just to keep my head above water. How many times do I have to drag myself up only to be slammed back down? How many times do I have to fight this same battle? When will it ever be enough? When will I finally move forward in this world? I’m tired. I’m just so tired struggling just to maintain this Hell I find myself in, and in some cases actually making it worse. Anyone else putting this much into it would be in a very good place by now. I feel like a car stuck in the mud. The wheel spins faster and faster, but I only sink in deeper. If I stop, I go nowhere. There doesn’t seem to be any way to win at this game, but I can’t stop playing. I can’t quit. I wish I could, to be honest, but I can’t. I just think in the universe, effort at some point should be rewarded. I want to cash in now. I don’t know if I can keep doing this over and over. It’s getting tiresome.
Sorry for the downer post, but my head’s in that place. I’ll try to think of something better to write about next time. Promise.

I Hate February

That seems a bit harsh, I realize, but so far, it’s true. I mean, I know technically it’s still January, but in these final two days of the month, things are getting kind of shitty. First, no job leads all month. Lots of resumes, just no responses. Still no UI benefits. No big surprise there, but it still annoys me. I just got a 2 star review of Spectrum which  called it ‘slow’ and again the review claimed the main character was dim, but I’m still not seeing it. I don’t know where he comes off dumb, but whatever. I’m just upset that the 2 star thing brings my average rating down from a solid four stars to 3 and a quarter. That does not make me happy. My checking account is dwindling to nothing and the financial help I have secured will barely be enough because I’m getting slammed with my phone bill, car registration and rent all in one weekend, and after all that is done I have no idea what I’m going to do. My book sales have dried up and I’m still not figuring out how to crack into the mainstream media. I just can’t seem to get that door to open. The roofing  people who were doing work in the unit below me left a couple large pieces of equipment in my living room and it’s been a week and they still haven’t come to take them back. I’m trying not to let these things bug me because I believe in positivity attracting more positivity and I refuse to fall into the negativity net trap of the universe, but it’s hard not to when there’s just nothing good going on. No money. No job. No love. Just nothing. If my life were a movie, this would be the point just before the first big twist, but life isn’t a movie and my life seems to be an endless first act of a rom com. I’m wondering how long I have to suffer in this sphere of hell until I am granted passage up to the next level. You know, where I get to have the life I want. Here’s how I see it. I either have a great job I love or my writing takes off and is generating a good source of income so every morning I get up and get dressed up in some nice little ensemble and head out to either the office or a series of meetings with agents and publishers or movie execs. People respect me and I feel assured that my work is looked upon with value. I’m also seeing a great guy who loves to spend time with me. No games. No hang ups. We’re just two people who just enjoy each others company whether we’re going to a museum opening or just catching a cheesy horror film at the multiplex. Someone I can go to a fancy restaurant with as easily as a simple burger joint. When I go out shopping and I see something I want, I don’t have to soul search and pull up all my financials to see if I can afford to blow twenty bucks. I want to be where it seems everyone else is at. I want to start living my life instead of sitting here waiting for it to get started. I feel like I’ve been stuck on the bench for too long already and any longer it will be too late. There are people just out of college with more on their resume than I will ever have. I’m not prepared to be put out to pasture already. I don’t think I ever got my time in the meadow to begin with, and that’s not fair.

I believe everyone has a shot at that big win, but whether they take it or not decides their fate. All the sad unhappy people who drag themselves through their lives are the ones who blew it. The happy ones are the ones who saw the chance, took it and milked it for all it was worth. I’m just afraid my chance has already come, but I didn’t see it and now I’m just marking time with the foolish idea that I can rise above all of this, but instead I seem to just keep sinking lower and lower. I’m just going to keep sinking until I’m some stooped over old man, alone in some low income apartment building on the bad side of town who takes the bus everyday just to go to the grocery store and back just to do something. I am afraid of my future because I have no idea what it’s going to be, but if you asked me where it was headed and based on the evidence of my life so far, it’s not shaping up too great. I don’t want this. I reject all of this. I don’t want this life anymore. I just need the wind to change direction and I know it can all turn around, but it just won’t do it.

Wow. I really went off topic there, didn’t I? Ah, blogging. The next best thing to therapy. If you have read this and feel like helping out a little, I guess it would be nice if you could all run on over to Amazon.com and look up Spectrum by Jason K Melby and leave a good review. Lie if you have to. I’m not so  proud. Just a few five or four stars would be great.

thanks.

Why?

Why do I do this? Why the seemingly insane quest for success in my writing? I really don’t know. There are some times I think it’s because I know I’m supposed to be somewhere that I’m not. Many years ago, I won a screenwriting contest. That’s right, I actually won. The problem was I wasn’t notified for about three months after the fact. In fact, I found out by googling the title of my winning script (which in all honesty, wasn’t my best work). I talked to them and I got the screenwriting software that was one part of the prize, but I didn’t get the meeting with the Hollywood insiders, which had been the other.

I hadn’t thought about that incident for a long time until one day I was wondering why I feel so desperate to publish something or produce something. To do something that becomes recognized by the world at large. I began to think about what might have happened if I had gotten that meeting. A chance to finally touch that world and be acknowledged for my talents at long last. Nothing but dreams now. What ifs and might have beens.

It becomes more frustrating these days especially when it seems like the lives of nearly everyone around me seem to be improving and getting better, while mine remains stagnant. One friend gets a raise while another has success with his mail order business. Meanwhile I’m sitting on my ass day after day looking for a job and writing books and scripts no one will ever read. Languishing in this little corner of hell for who knows how long. Now, for the record, I’m not complaining. I’m venting. (Don’t you love how we can complain and call it ‘venting’?)

I just wish I had some other talent. If I were an actor, I could go out and audition. If I were a painter, I could paint. As a photographer I could take pictures and display them online. If I were a singer I could make videos for Youtube. Any other profession, I could go out and do something proactive and make this dream come true. As a writer I spend months, sometimes years, writing something and then I spend even longer trying to get it seen. No one reads anymore so books are almost pointless these days, and everyone and their nephew  is a screenwriter and it seems the older you get, the less people want to read what you have. The world thinks you’re not edgy or smart enough. I just can’t take feeling trapped like this. I have nothing to do but wait until November when my book comes out and then pray that a door is opened. If it comes out at all. I haven’t heard from the publisher in months so I’m going completely on faith that everything is still on track, but I have a very bad feeling I’m in for a nasty surprise four months from now. Praying I’m wrong, but it’s not the first time I’ve been led down the primrose path of accomplishment. I have gotten so close so many times and something always manages to sneak in and queer the deal.

Sorry this post is so down. I’m just feeling the need to unburden this negativity out of my mind. Sometimes it helps to share the pain. If only to find a sympathetic ear at the very least.