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Thursday, June 08, 2006

We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes

Lewis Black is interviewed in this week's AV Club. While I can handle his humor to an extent, I had to laugh at this little joke:
Anybody who likes writing a book is an idiot. Because it's impossible, it's like having a homework assignment every stinking day until it's done. And by the time you get it in, it's done and you're sitting there reading it, and you realize the 12,000 things you didn't do.

That said, as a published author, Black said he'd like to do another book:

I'd like to do one on religion. My version of the Bible.

If you've seen Black do his stand-up or as a commentator on The Daily Show, you can understand that this guy is pulling our leg with a lot of truth. Knowing this, I have to chime in with his comment on book-writing.

In my two years of working on Post, doing interviews and research, along with writing everyday, has become a lifestyle. Fortunately, this lifestyle isn't that far removed from what I was doing before. Instead of the hours I'd spend making fun of TV shows like American Idol or Last Call With Carson Daly, I'm on the computer doing stuff (like editing and reading articles). While I definitely take my breaks with visits to pages like MySpace, Punknews.org, Defamer and the SOMB, along with eating, sleeping and going out for various things, I'm pretty well glued to this book.

I don't mean to sound like my life has been unwillingly taken over here. Rather, this is what happens when I've become firmly committed to doing something. Though I've done creative things in the past (like photography, writing songs, and painting), this book is the only thing that I've really wanted to put out to an audience outside of my friends and family. How big that audience is, I don't know. I don't really even think about numbers as they're merely a facade to me.

So what keeps me going even though I have no firm deadlines, a publisher or an editor? Self-determination to see this from creation to completion, odds be damned. I'm fortunate to have a weird work schedule that allows me time to devote completely to what I want to do. I know I can't always have this schedule, but since I feel the time is now to do this book, I have to make the most of this time.

I look at people that live essentially through the motions of what others dictate. They don't have the time or the drive to do something they want to do because there are birthday parties to take their kids to, baseball games to watch, doctors appointments that need to be made and mortgages to be paid. I can't be satisfied with a lifestyle of giving up so much of my life to other people and barely having any time to do something creative. That's my perception of a straight life scaring me away and driving in other solitary directions. In other words, that's an explanation to people that I haven't seen in a while that don't understand why I'm not living the average, suburban lifestyle.

I joke that the most rebelling thing I did when I went off to college was waking up on a Saturday and doing whatever the hell I wanted to do. Usually, that meant playing video games, listening to music and getting onto the Internet. As much as I enjoy being around my parents, I've reached a point where I cannot live with them anymore. They have their own lives and well, I want to have my own. Instead of being in the safety zone of being under my parents' roof, I wanted to know what it's like to really fall down and get back up. I'm still not a huge fan of a trial and error life, but there are so many things I want to have full experiences from beginning 'til the end. Instead of hearing about lessons learned by past experiences from older people, I want to have my own experiences. Of course there are things that I don't want to do (be an alcoholic, be a criminal, be a dishonest person, be a jerk), but there's so much more I want to have first-hand.

Part of this first-hand experience is doing this book. Though I've been committed to see this through thick and thin, I won't lie that it's nice to hear encouraging words from people. I did an interview yesterday that went really well. One of my last few chapters has a lot more information now thanks to this interview, but I'll never forget what the interviewee complimented me on with my long-ass research trail: the truth takes time to tell. He wasn't jerkin' my chain - he was being sincere. No matter how long this project feels to complete, whenever I hear a compliment like that, I feel good and inspired. This is the kind of inspiration that no monetary value can give and that's why I keep going and won't give up.

2 comments:

Random Kath said...

Eric,

What an awesome post! I am in awe of your ability to focus on something you believe in and your committment to working on getting it put out there.

I'm still not a huge fan of a trial and error life, but there are so many things I want to have full experiences from beginning 'til the end. Instead of hearing about lessons learned by past experiences from older people, I want to have my own experiences.

I am struggling with this right now, and it is a hard thing to accomplish when some of us only figure this out when we get older. I am very lucky to have married such a wonderful man, and have been lucky enough to be able to buy a condo, and have decent jobs, but one day you wake up like the Talking Heads song and ask "How did I get here?" It is hard to follow one's passions while having so many responsibilities, but I am trying my best to do it, and on my own terms, while still taking other's needs into account. It is hard to forge a path when everyone around you is settling down, but I figure that it is my life to live, not theirs . . .

I hope what I am getting at makes sense . . but I just had to comment!

Kevin said...

Hey Eric, that was a fantastic post- some of the topics you brought up are ones that have been occupying my thoughts in recent months (particularly this line of thinking: "Instead of hearing about lessons learned by past experiences from older people, I want to have my own experiences"), esp. in relation to situations that involve taking a risk vs. settling for something milder/less rewarding, etc. Anyway, thanks for such a great post.