Once upon a time I felt connected to fifty different things at once. I had dreams and schemes and projects and plans stretching to the horizon in every direction, but a funny thing happened on the way to the end of the rainbow: life.
Suddenly and without even realizing it, all those half-pursued dreams and unlaunched schemes were rolled up and stored away, tucked into odd dusty unvisited corners of my mind. Eventually, many of these odd dreams died natural deaths as time closed off doors which had once seemed so wide and inviting ("astronaut", anyone?). Other dreams were made irrelevant by changes in circumstance and interest. Others were simply misplaced, forgotten, lost in the clutter of a thousand other competing concerns. But some — that special few which were always the most heartfelt and closely held set of dreams — just waited.
Then a few years back I stubbed my psychic toe hard enough to wake me from my sleepwalking, and when I looked around and took stock of where I was and where I was headed and what I'd been up to, I initially depressed, but then I got angry. I mean, furiously violently raging mad, because time is too precious to waste doing nothing.
It would be easy (and disgustingly typical) to serve up a laundry list of the Usual Suspects to justify and rationalize this decade of distraction — kids, marriage, money, etc etc etc — but ultimately such a list would be just one more load of self-aggrandizing bullshit. "Living your life" is your primary duty as a human being, and either you do the job (and well), or you don't. Find a way — make a way. Period. Ducking blame for your inability to get the job done — your refusal to even try — seems one of the most despicable forms of cowardice available without prescription.
Fast forward to today, and I look around and realize that I have three huge writing projects at various stages of critical development: a very good completed screenplay that I need to buff one last final time and then start seriously marketing to managers and prodcos and such; another very good completed screenplay which needs a last tweak here and there before I start the same marketing push on its behalf; and a very exciting idea for a rom-com to be handed directly to a cool producer I met in Austin (and who I somehow managed to impress rather than piss off). Any one of the three seems potentially the one that will spark The Big Break, and when I look at all three lined up side by side, I can't help but feel pretty damned optimistic that surely something of diary-grade import is about to happen in the coming months.
So is everything in my life suddenly a boundless field of Pollyanna blossoms? Hardly, but there's nothing wrong with being objectively proud of your situation. Yeah, I could stand to make some more money, and Lord knows I could stand to drop a few pounds and get some exercise on a more consistent basis, but overall, what complaints I might make are laughably trivial. I have four beautiful healthy insanely cool kids. I have a wife whom I adore as much today as at any point in my life, and she still suffers from the same convenient dementia that lets her think I'm somehow a pleasant and useful guy with whom to grow old and decrepit. There's food on the table, milk in the fridge. We live in a nice home, in a nice area which prompts no complaints more serious than "things are often a little dull round here."
Things are pretty good right now, but what's exciting is the feeling — the creepily sure understanding — that things are going to get a whole lot better sometime not so far ahead. I know this, and I can see glimmers and hints of how this is going to go down, and all it takes is for me to stay one focused steely-eyed missile man.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage...
Or, to quote Saint Al of Bundy, "Let's rock."