I am neck deep in writing a trio of novels right now. (No, it’s not a series.)
However, I haven’t always had the desire to write. I don’t know what that says about me in general, but I do take note of so many writers, both young and old who say they caught the writing bug early on in life and haven’t stopped since. I had no desire nor drive to write a novel when I was younger, and why would I? I had bigger dreams, higher aspirations, and I was going to be rich and famous. What would I be rich and famous for? Well that depends on what stage of life we are talking about.
Plan #1 – Become a famous musician
When I was a young boy of eleven years old, the plan was to be a famous singer/songwriter. I even went so far as to record myself singing into my little tape recorder the somber and forlorn lyrics of an prepubescent boy. I do not know where this tape is. However, I do remember a snippet of the lyrics, because genius never forgets genius. This was an actual line from the song that was to make me famous:
Because I’m lost!
Lost in a twisted maze.
Without anyone to hold me.
Or to love meeee!
At this point I think it’s best to play it safe and tell the women in the reading audience to refrain from mailing me their undergarments along with proposals for marriage. This isn’t me anymore. And eleven-year-old boys still think that girls are mysterious cootie factories, so if someone had tried to hold me or love me, I’d have ran as far and as fast as my scrawny boy body could take me. Needless to say, despite my best efforts to write the quintessential love ballad, my musical career never took off. This was due in large part to it never leaving my bedroom. I would revisit this plan again in my late teen years, as I sung lead in a basement band who covered mostly Green Day and The Clash; once again destined to fail as we never left the basement.
Plan #2 – Become a famous movie director.
When you think about ultra-famous people who have more money than many small countries, it’s hard to not think about celebrities in general and for me, directors specifically. Some would lump my #1 plan and #2 plans together, but no. Those people are wrong. Becoming a famous director is an entirely different animal. Not only do you get to showcase your vision and tell stories (either your own or those of others) you get to tell those spoiled primadonna actresses and pompous actors what to do every day all day. Heh... and get paid literal truckloads of money to do so. Where’s the downside, right?
With those thoughts of grandeur in mind, I set out to film my first indie film on my parent’s Hi-8 camcorder. Somewhere in a shoebox at my parent’s home exists footage of me recording while driving in my parent’s car, recording nothing more than the streets in my hometown. That’s it. First-person shakycam view of the quiet suburban streets clipping by at 35-45 MPH. I don’t even think there are any people on the streets I filmed, because who walks in the Phoenix area? No one, that’s who. Next, I took to my ancient computer and overlaid ridiculously crude credits over the riveting passing-street scene. Yes, in my teenage mind, my first thought for my epic movie was to do the credit roll. Given, this may have been yet another exercise in vanity, as every single credit had my name by it, but that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise if you’ve known me for very long.
Again, this avenue would not yield the fruits I so desperately wanted.
Plan #3 – Become a doctor
Clearly my attempts at fame were not going so well. It was at this point I decided that becoming a medical doctor was the way to go. If I couldn’t have fortune and fame then I would settle for fortune. It’s no secret that medical doctors in the U.S. are highly paid, particularly if they are in a specialized field. This plan differed from the previous two in that it would rely more on learning and acquiring a certain skill set and applying knowledge to achieve the desired goal. I’m a smart guy, that much I know. So my thought process was that as long as I apply myself, I could make it. There would be no need for luck or waiting for my “big break” because I would create my own opportunity. At the same time I would be enabling myself to help others in the most fundamental of ways: improving their health.
Those who know me for any length of time know that I am always looking to help others. Whether it be by being there for someone emotionally or lending a physical hand, I try to find opportunities to do so. I love helping others in any way I can, so this method of making a name for myself would allow me to become relatively rich (not small-country rich, but not-wanting-for-money rich) while sating my need to help others. As I went through the required coursework to prepare for the MCAT and continue on to medical school, I would find this road to success would not come to fruition either for a number of reasons I won't delve into now.
Plan #4 – Just write
Until I started this blog post today, I didn’t think my past aspirations held any bearing on where I am right now. Right now I want to write. I truly enjoy writing and the sense of accomplishment it provides, and I also enjoy entertaining others even if I am not aware of everyone that sees or will see my work. I love creating characters, places, and stories to transport myself along with the reader to a different time and place. Come to find out those are not too different from the other three goals I had.
For Plan #1 and Plan #2 one of the goals was of course to have mountains of money; however, the underlying theme was one in which I could entertain and provide something memorable for others. Even though I wouldn’t get to yell at actors and actresses, I found that I could position my story’s characters to do what I want and say what I want them to say. Do they do it all the time? No. There’s definitely some improv going on in my writing, just as there would have been had my Hollywood dreams been realized. Sometimes my stories veer off course, but as the writer, director, set designer, and producer of the whole show, I can correct if needed. It’s not so different it seems.
For plan #3, the underlying goal of being well-to-do was secondary to helping people once again. Making people happier, helping them to enjoy life more, and being a force for good in their lives is what a good medical professional does.
In my mind, this is also the same goal I am striving for now (minus the fame and riches) when it comes to writing. I should have caught the idea sooner, because others were more than encouraging when it came to my literary skills, but my fame-seeking self wasn’t having any of it at the time. I’m now older and relatively wiser, and here I am, in the middle of three books and trying to make a name for myself in the world of books. I’m a late-comer, but I’ve never felt like an outcast, and for that I say thank you.