1000 words a day. Back in 2005 I challenged myself to begin writing a thousand words a day. This is a journal entry from January 30th 2005.
Should I have taken my own advice? It was a perplexing question. It can be frightening, even dangerous. Being truly honest can be a hard thing. I suppose it all depends on how you think about it. This calls for a time of true confessions. I can imagine this as an adventure, a challenge, a great task, a story to be told, a tale to unfold. It is above all things the adventure of my life.
If life is like a story waiting to be written, then it is up to me to write the letters large. To be bold, be daring, throw caution to the wind and speak my mind. So cliché, so common, so droll this story of mine, but still, it must be written. The story must be told. The story must be lived.
If I could leave my ordinary life and live an extraordinary life, what would I be, what would I do? I’d definitely leave behind the grind and start working or doing what I really want to do, and on my own time schedule. Let’s just look at this writing business. What I’m talking about here is setting aside a small amount of time everyday to put some words on paper, electronic words, pixels etc. and into some form of order or sense of order. Really it sounds so easy. Of course, to have something that I could feel good about, or feel proud of would be the real goal. Of course the ultimate end would be to have my writing published and actually be able to make some profit. I’m enamored like every would-be writer with the idea of seeing my books in the bookstores around the country, the world.
I’m just like so many people doing the thing -- on some levels -- I truly hate my job. It is a daily sacrifice to the institution of slavery. We are the new slaves in the modern sense of the word. I mean we can quit at any time, but the social pressure and the expectations of others would be overwhelming.
“You WHAT??? You quit your job? You can’t do that. How are you going to pay your bills, how are you going to LIVE??? You must be crazy. You’ll never be able to retire, and what about your health insurance? . . . On and on it would go.
So, be that as it may, to get to where I’m going, I have to start from where I am. I’m a hack writer, making a living in the computer industry with long held dreams of being a star. But the edge I had when I was younger has now vanished. I used to look good, I was a hip, with it kind of guy, or at least that is how I thought of my self. I was made for the stage, for the spotlight, I thought, it was my destiny. Now so many years later, I wonder why I thought those things, and I think it was just like the musings of so many young kids growing up in the sixties. The Ted Mack amateur hour was no longer on television and the American Idol show had not yet been dreamt up. I had dreams alright. I dreamt of playing on American Bandstand and of being on The Tonight show with Johnny Carson. There was a group from my home town that had made it to the big time, or so we thought. They played on some battle of the bands, something like “Where the Action Is.” We were all so impressed. Then, years later, another kid from my home town hit the big time. But that is another story for another time.
I made my run at it in my youth. We went down to LA and into the big time offices of the entertainment world and as far as we knew we were on our way, bright lights, big city, look out here we come. We experienced some small success, but then everything went awry. We got thoroughly spanked and taught a very painful lesson. The entertainment world can be very cruel and very unforgiving on some levels. During that time I learned more about the legal profession and the civil court system then I ever wanted to know. It was us against them, and I was caught in the middle of a game I had never chosen to play. Like Billy Joel sang, I just wanted to scream. “I am . . . an innocent man, yes I am, an innocent man.”
And while all these troubles were going on I was still living an ordinary life, because when you get right down to it, I am simply an ordinary guy. Despite my delusions of grandeur, and my “change the world” dreams born of the 1960’s American Cultural revolution, idealism was on the minds of every young person growing up in those times, that is, for those of us who managed to maintain fully functioning minds in those years. Those were the days of mind expansion, and mood altering, and exploration of cosmic realities, both natural and unnatural. It feels odd to think how much times have changed.
I had to have a van. So I bought a van, never mind that I could not afford this big monstrosity of a vehicle, and that this was also a time of gas rationing and a very unsettled world political environment. I had to have a big van. So I bought a big van, a big bright yellow and orange van. This was a van so brightly colored you could see it coming from a mile away. Port holes on the side, carpeting, wood grain paneling, I was stylin’ for sure. I wanted to be noticed. I wanted to be a star.
I still lived an ordinary life. Except for the fact that I had no job, no intention of ever getting a real job in the real world because I didn’t live there. I lived in some fantasy world of my own making. I was a rock star, or so I thought. I didn’t need a real job. I made money making music, what could be better than that. The truth is I didn’t make much money making music. I had generous parents that subsidized my dreams and fueled my imagination. Were they enablers, maybe, but I believe they were well intentioned, and only had my best interests at heart. So here I was just 18 years old and living out of my big yellow van, like a yellow submarine on wheels. I went from gig to gig, playing with this band and that, picking up a few bucks here, and a few there. Living on chocolate chip cookies and milk while on the road, and then coming back home every so often to recharge my batteries and get back to some sense of normal. I was one of those people making the transition between being a child and an adult, and I don’t think I was handling it that well.
1000 words a day.
What a joke, it’s been over 5 months since I last wrote in this 1000 word a day journal. Let’s see if you break it down my average is more like 6 words a day, truly pathetic. And I call my self a writer, HA. I only pretend to be a writer in my own mind. Sometimes I feel I’m not really anything. I’m just a pretender. Listening to Frank Sinatra sing Mack the Knife with Quincy Jones big band. I was impressed; Frank was the real thing, a genuine star, an artist. I wish I only had a small portion of the cool that was Mr. Sinatra.
Update to October 29th, 2015
Update to October 29th, 2015
Looking back on the 1960’s when I first started, to the present days in 2015 - 2016, there are now hundreds of channels of satellite radio and television on demand. The internet hadn’t even been thought of back then. You-tube, iTunes, iPhones, wireless phones in general, computers, thousands of great new music artists, and huge new talents are now available to be heard and watched 24/7.
This only goes to show that after almost 50 years of playing the drums, I’m still at it, and now, after 10 years since I first wrote this journal entry / blog post, I'm still doing that too. I’m almost ready to move on to the next phase. I’ve gone far beyond my original goal of 1000 words a day, I do them more in large bursts from time to time, but I still try to do something every day. My first novel is almost ready to publish, and I have a few others ready for the re-write process. Add to that some songwriting, some cartooning, and all the creative projects that lay ahead, I’m actually quite busy. I can hardly wait. Ramble On -- Peace and Love etc.