I just did something monumental, yet it hasn’t made much of a blip on my personal radar.
Theoretically, I have another week to undo the decision. That’s when the recycled trash will be collected, taking with it my magnum opus and all its drafts and handwritten notes, circa 1985. These papers have been living in a dusty legal-sized Redrope accordion file with a grosgrain ribbon tie for thirty-plus years.
This is so unlike me, to let go of something that used to mean so much. I once clung to these faded sheets from my long-gone dot matrix printer as proof that I was A Writer. Proof that I wrote a book, that I knew how to stick with a project from inception to completion.
The minor detail that no publisher wanted it is beside the point.
I’m jettisoning a three-inch stack of paper containing a completed 80,000-word novel with all the trimmings. Is it salvageable? Maybe I should read the final draft before I toss it. The original document files on their 5-1/4” floppy disks, as well as the Kaypro word processor I wrote it on, vanished decades ago. But if it’s worth it, I could retype it. It’s science fiction, so timeliness doesn’t matter.
And yet, I’m tossing it in the trash like the failed dream it is, without bothering to reread it or examine the hand-drawn map I made of its fictional world.
I wish I could say that it was fun working on that book. It took years to write multiple drafts, since I was working full-time and squeezing in writing before and after my job. I hoped a publisher would accept it and give me a good-sized advance, but this fervent desire was tempered by reality. It was far more likely that I’d remain in the 98% of unpublished authors rather than rocket into the 2% category of those who made it.
It would be easy to feel sorry for myself if I thought my situation were unique, that I had been singled out to be shunned by the world. But in fact, artists working in all genres have struggled for millennia to support themselves from their art.
One of the many things that I hope will do a complete flip when New Earth fully rolls in is this bizarre inversion where work that means little or nothing to the worker is prized above the heart work that means everything.
We talk about the New Earth and how, not instantly of course, but soon, soon, we will all be doing the work that our hearts desire. Our avocations become vocations, our hobbies turn into life-work contributing to our own soul sustenance and brightening the world around us.
Am I the only one who wonders who’s going to pick up the trash? Who is going to clean the houses and cook the food, who is going to power-wash the city sidewalks and care for our public and private gardens?
Who will do the necessary chores that we all must do to keep the physical environment from crumbling around us? I don’t like to cook or clean, but I do so because somebody has to and this is my home and family, so it’s my responsibility.
How can I imagine that doing such mundane (or even unpleasant) chores would be anybody’s heart’s desire? I’d like to think it will all just magically take care of itself (5D and all that), but if it doesn’t, who gets stuck taking out the trash?
I wrote that book, and a couple of others over the years, while working full-time and keeping up with maintaining my household and physical self. A person has to be truly dedicated to take on multiple jobs like that, for writing is a job when pursued with the goal of publication.
Maybe there won’t be any “jobs” in our future.
Maybe we just call it a “job“ when we’re unable to engage in the task with a minimal amount of calmness and equilibrium (if we can’t muster up actual enthusiasm).
Some spiritual advisors suggest that it’s all about attitude. How we do something rather than what we do.
I respectfully suggest that there’s really no pleasant way to clean a toilet or scrape the grunge out of the garbage disposal when it starts to smell.
Lately it has occurred to me that, while no doubt sincere, such spiritual notions about how to approach things we really don’t want to do have their roots in the construction of this world as a place inimical to humans. There are crappy jobs to do, not because that’s just the way it is but because deterioration and grime have been artificially introduced somewhere along the way.
I suspect that certain star civilizations don’t deal with waste of any kind, and that if things gently wind down toward dissolution, they up and vanish like fairy dust when it’s time for them to return to Source.
Or I’m fantasizing, and there always have been, and always will be, things that nobody wants to do, that nonetheless must be done.
When I was gathering up my novel for the recycle bin, a flimsy 2” x 4” note fluttered out and landed on the table. I picked it up and read:
Anfractuous—Full of windings and intricate turnings
Angary—The right in int’l law of a belligerent to seize, use, or destroy property of neutrals
Those are two words that I would say I’ve never seen before. And yet, while working on that book nearly forty years ago, I looked these up in my Merriam-Webster‘s and wrote them down. They look like they might have been near each other on the page of the dictionary. Perhaps I was looking up something else, and my eye landed upon these intriguing words, mysteriously unknown, multisyllabic doorways to unseen worlds.
I’m salvaging something from the wreck of that failed dream, after all. Words to use in future dreams.