I used to want to be a zoologist. My dream was to study animals out on the Serengeti, which perhaps accounts for ongoing-though in varying degrees-love affair with Africa. I still hope to someday make it there, even if just for a visit.
When I was fourteen, a man in a pet store told me it was all gay and fine to be zoologist if I wanted, but there's no money in it. Up until her death, my mother blamed that man for me apparently losing interest in the subject. Of course, at fourteen, I was looking at other pursuits. More artistic ones. I thought I could draw, and although I have no musical talent, well, that didn't stop the guys in the Sex Pistols or Kiss, so maybe I could be in a band. There was the matter of stories I would tell, and how I had taken to actually writing some down.
None of these other pursuits were known for making one a great deal of money, unless one was exceedingly lucky. But, like zoology, they held my interest in some form or fashion. Besides, I don't care much for money. As John and Paul-the Beatles, not the biblical prophets-pointed out; money can't buy me love.
Aside from zoology, astronomy and archeology held fascination for me. To this day, they still do. I can watch documentaries on those subjects with rapt attention. On an armchair level, I am multi-disciplined in those respective sciences. I think a friend of mine recently explained it best when he talked about how he enjoyed Earth-science back in university...but;
"It was great, but then it got too...scientific. That's when I discovered I was an artist."
Now, there have been very few I've encountered over the years and lifetimes that really are an artist when they say they are. Others have been those try-too-hard posers. Like a great deal of monikers, they cling to them like security blankets of end all and be all. I despise the limitations of labels for just that reason.
But my friend had a point, I realized; I love those sciences...but. Astronomy and archeology require a bit of math, and that's my worst subject. I like watching animals, I like to watch in general, but some of the other minutiae holds no interest whatsoever. Being on an armchair and getting my vicarious geek on through documentaries is enough.
When I was sixteen and impetuous, I decided I wanted to be a writer. Not as glamorous as them thar punk and rock and/or roll musicians, but, even and especially back then, I wasn't gregarious enough for that sort of madness. If I was going to do one of these other pursuits, I figured I'd do the one I felt most comfortable with.
When I was eighteen, immortal, and omniscient, I made up my mind I'd be published and live with the monoliths of the greater metroplex. I would tell girls I was going to be a writer if I grew up, and sometimes it even impressed them. Well, if they read. Of course, despite my adolescent omniscience of being a writer when I grew up I failed to know of the two fatal flaws in this scheme; the first, my hatred of labels, and the the second, I fucking hate grown-ups.
At nearly forty years old, neither of those hates have changed much, if at all. And I do realize that might sound just a little sad. Perhaps bordering upon pathetic.
I do not do well with the social construct of reality, or the expectations contained therein. Be that as it may, I was hoodwinked by one of the social expectations if one aimed for being a writer; composing a book. Short stories were masturbation before getting to work, and poetry was, well, poetry. So, I set about to write a book, and somewhere around the ripe age of twenty-seven finished my first one. It was supposed to be a series. Looking back on it now, I see how cliché it was, dime a dozen, as the saying goes, no matter how original some cats who read it thought my approach was.
It is not within my nature to compete. This has caused me more than one problem in arena of romance and just plain getting by with the things I've done for money, even and especially during my penance in corporate America. Still, there was this one contest in which by self-publishing, one might actually land a gig with a real-life publishing house. I stayed up late one night with a bottle of wine and meditated on the subject.
Okay, it was pretty fucking cool to get a copy of the book I wrote in the post. To open it and see it was my words on the page. Even though it wasn't through a house I'd actually got published.
I did this. This is mine. No one can take this away from me.
I celebrated for days. This was back when I was dancing with the dead for money. During a meeting, one of the overseers held up a copy of my book and pointed at me, calling me a published author. Sabina would later tell me how the look of mortification on my face was terrifying as I attempted to crawl under a table and burrow into the carpet to escape. It was in that moment of being put on the spot I realized I could never be a rock and/or roll star, just in case I had any doubts.
"That would be so cool!" Sabina's musician x said to me when I told him that story.
I tried not to notice he was all but groping an erection. He was a musician, after all. He wanted to be Gene Simmons and Nikki Sixx. He wanted that sort of adoration and attention. Me, being an aberration, I found that sort of thing awkward. Being too tall, too skinny, with eyes too big for the rest of my face, I get too much attention as it is.
Although, I finished the manuscript for the second book, I never got around to the revisions and self-publication. Dime a dozen not withstanding, I found I didn't possess the same angst as the twenty-five year old that started the series. I wanted to move on.
It was Lee who first suggested I might have something else. Something better, germinating within the walls of my skull. He was the one who suggested I shelve the series I'd not touched in a few years since publication.
I got into arguments with the gypsy and Madam Lung about it. They felt I should finish the series. I remember being a little resentful toward them. See, I do not do well with being told what to do, whether that's where I go or who I hang out with. And most assuredly don't go ordering me about with the words I purge from my skull. End of chat.
It's been seven years since I self-published, and eight since I worked on that series. I don't know if I've ever come up with something better like Lee postulated or if it's still germinating away within the walls of my skull. Maybe I hit my dinger way back then and what I do is but a shade of that. I do not think of myself as a writer, and take umbrage when someone tries to pin that label on me.
That neurosis of mine, see?
Yet, since the completion of my latest story arc, I have caught myself contemplating madness. The idea of self-publication has once more entered into the mathematics of my thoughts. A compilation of stories. Like my two arcs with Lazarus Lankin and perhaps the one with Joshua Storm, for example. There would probably be a few others, of which I've put here, but, then again, the whole endeavor might just be cheating, and perhaps I should do something new before I even joke about such idiocy.
I cannot find a reason why I consider this. If I was into telling stories for money, I'd be sorely disappointed. The royalties from my book paid a bar tab one night, that's it. I know how I deal with being noticed in any context. Growling is usually involved.
But there it is; me thinking of doing a book again. Perhaps it's just a phase. It could be in a few months I'll not even remember why I thought it might at least be an interesting idea. Then again, I might stay up late one night with a bottle of wine or some whiskey and catch myself marveling over something I created arriving for me in the post.