A good friend of mine, Mr. Kirk Forlatt, is always giving me advice and helpful encouragement. For example, he noted that I spend too much time looking for acceptance among an internet crowd of friends who, when push comes to shove, don’t have my back in the real world. He’s right about that, although to be fair, there’s not much online friends can do for each other. Encouragement and prayers are about it. But there’s something more to it, I think. I’ve written before about how my generation is on the cusp of the internet age and we’re having to forge our way through new social-media territory, including new ways of forming social hierarchies and the like. It irks me how Alternative Right persons claim to hate democracy and yet organize themselves according to who has the most popular podcast or who hosts the most popular web forums, regardless of the intellect or abilities of the hosts. Make fart noises? Draw a large crowd? You’re a king. At any rate, I needed the reminder to watch out for those tendencies in my own use of social media. I ought to focus more on writing and bettering myself intellectually, rather than climbing the popularity ladder. Thanks Mr. Forlatt…
He’s also provided a sympathetic ear to my struggles with existential meaninglessness. He told me that one of my posts on the subject moved him to tears. Well, there’s good news on that front. I think I’ve discovered my purpose in life. I think I’ve finally figured out what God made me to be.
I had to read Stephen King’s book on writing to figure it out. After reading King’s anecdotes about being a struggling young author, I realized his experiences were almost identical to mine. I’ve known I was supposed to be a writer from as early as the fourth grade, when the teacher asked us to write a story. The other students irked out a few paragraphs while I had a seven page masterpiece. My first ever story. When asked who wanted to read theirs out loud, my hand shot into the air. I waved it and waved it but the teacher ignored me. She didn’t want everyone to hear my incessant rambling about a monster that kidnapped me from my bedroom and tied me up on an airplane (or how I escaped by breaking a glass bottle and sawing through my ropes). I thought it was a masterpiece.
Something else writers, including King, struggled with – finding a day job. All career choices bored the prose out of King, but it was wash laundry or starve, so he washed laundry. It’s the same way with me; I’ve been doing jobs I hate while supporting myself and gathering anecdotes.
I’m not a good writer yet. I may never be a great one. I doubt I’ll ever be as successful as King. I do know that if I’m going to support myself in the meantime, I’ll need a job that’s sufferable while also giving me life experience. Working in the prison gave me more life experience than I ever wanted – look for posts about it in the future – but it wasn’t sufferable.
Given my Naval experience though, I’ve discovered a new path forward. I’m returning to the sea. I’ll be a deckhand (hopefully even a security officer) on a cargo ship. Robert Lewis Stevenson and Joseph Conrad found their muse in the ocean. I think I can too. Plus the pay is outstanding and I’m sure to get plenty of life experience, traveling around the world. Hopefully I’ll have the time and energy to keep writing while I’m out there. I know my creative juices were pumping full blast whenever I’d deploy in the Navy.
So, wish me luck shipmates…I’ll probably be out to sea come February.