Monday, June 25, 2007

Never Give Up

Stick with your dreams. That's what they say. Keep plugging away, because you can't win if you quit the game.

Can't argue with that. But you might have to grub for twenty or thirty years before you see a way forward. Or you might never see one. That kind of determination takes a certain kind of stubbornness. Some might call it stupidity.

Hard to say if it goes anywhere from here. But it went here, and "things," as they say, are happening.

I have called attention to myself. It's not a quiet matter between me and an editor and a bunch of magazine or newspaper readers I'll never meet. I can feel detached from celebrity judges looking at my work. It's too unreal, even when they pick me. When I have to bother people I know and people I barely know to try to generate enough votes to win, that's when it gets real. I'm making a fuss, pick me, pick me. I hope they'll think it was worth it.

In all the years since I got over myself, after the unfounded arrogance of young adulthood, I have been happy to toil anonymously, helpfully, competently. But I kept drawing pictures. It wasn't like a hard-fought battle or a master plan. It was just a habit. In the end, making a habit of your dreams and desires may be the best you can do. Just don't quit. The strongest force against the creative soul is not opposition, it is indifference. By making a habit of your creation, you make yourself indifferent to indifference.

You have to be ready to amount to nothing for the sake of doing what you want to do. It's a risk. Every course of action brings its hazards and drawbacks. You only hope you get to choose what you risk and why you risk it. And then hope you have the strength to follow all the way through. It may not be a dramatic, heroic struggle. It might just be a long journey on a low budget. But that doesn't mean it isn't worth taking.

This moment could be the high point, a flash of light near the sunny surface before sinking back into the green depths. Or it could be the start of things more exciting and lucrative. Either way, the cat box needs to be scooped.

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