I’m not a huge sports guy, but when I think about my 2015, the most fitting term I can think of to describe it is a sports metaphor: It was a rebuilding year.
I know vague Facebook and blog posts are annoying, but I’m also somewhat guarded about my private life—I’ll go into a little detail, but for the most part either you know what I’m talking about or you don’t. If you’re that curious, you can email me via the contact form on the right side of the page, but suffice to say it was one hell of a year, mostly in bad ways.
Among other things, I had a self-initiated change in relationship status, which led to incredible financial strife; I made some friends and lost some friends, and the year culminated in a change of jobs. I had a few nice bright spots and more lows than I would’ve liked along the way. And for three-quarters of the year, I barely wrote a goddamn word of fiction.
I kept submitting stories for publication, and kept getting rejected. That’s par for the course and doesn’t bother me that much, but when it felt like everything else was going wrong the added rejection sure didn’t help.
Then, something happened: I found myself again.
It started gradually—I was especially mopey the last half of December, but had been slowly starting to pick up the guitar again. By the day after Christmas, something had reawakened in me and I had written a handful of new songs. And I do mean new, as in they didn’t sound like anything I’d written before. I dug up a few old songs and reworked them some and now I have almost an album’s worth of music and am chipping away at lyrics for them. That felt great, but the nagging voice in the back of my head grew louder.
I’d had an idea for a new novel bouncing around in my head for quite some time, and even though I didn’t have it completely thought out yet I knew pretty much what it would be. I thought the time was right to start it, and the ending would come as I wrote. I forced myself to hit that writer status quo of 1,000 words a day for a while, playing my guitar and working on my new songs as well. Once my creative juices really started to flow again, I also decided to start final edits on the novel I get sick of telling people is 90% done.
I wondered if playing my music with others would help me finish the songs or maybe tweak them into something even better than what I already had. I decided for the first time in probably three years to go on Craigslist, to look for musicians. I didn’t find any, but an odd thing happened: I noticed the link to the section for writers and found an ad that captured my attention. “Filmmaker seeks writers/storytellers for collaborative project.”
A wise man told me recently that people need to get out of their comfort zone more often and amazing things can happen. I’m sure at a different time in my life I may have ignored that ad and went on about my business—after all, I already had enough on my plate, and who knew if the person behind the ad was even legit? But I answered the ad, and after exchanging emails with the filmmaker I sent him a couple of stories and we decided on one we thought would make a great short film. Suddenly I was also adapting a short story into a screenplay on top of everything else.
I’m trying to be as involved in the film project as I can be, because I love movies and have always wanted to learn about the filmmaking process. As the two of us corresponded, the discussion of finding actors came up, and I reached out to a former coworker through Facebook that I knew had acting experience. Not only did he assure me he could help us find actors willing to work for what we could afford to pay them (peanuts), but he also let me know he was involved with a friend in a fledgling movie production company. They have their first short debuting at a horror convention in a few months and begin filming their first feature this summer. He suggested meeting with his friend to discuss our project and possibly get some help from them to get the film made and make it the best it can be.
That, my friends, is fucking amazing.
I also reconnected with a good friend (the aforementioned wise man) who is stepping up to offer assistance and much needed equipment for the project as well. Things are falling into place in a crazy way and it’s getting me excited.
As for the job? I’m still doing the same work, 911 dispatcher, but for a neighboring county. Less stress, less drama, more pay, and less overtime, i.e. more time to be creative and do the things that make me the person I am? Yes, please. While I can’t stress enough how much I liked the last place I worked, the overtime (much of which was voluntary but necessary, mind you) got overwhelming and left me too drained to want to do anything when I was home. Now it looks like I may finally find the balance I so sorely lacked.
So while most of 2015 sucked a truckload of monkey dicks, it’s looking more and more like 2016 has me on the cusp of some really exciting things ahead. I can hardly wait.