Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Virtue of Being a Quitter

So the other day i quit. No. Not smoking. Though i’m trying. Work. I didn’t fully totally completely quit. I didn’t do the ‘storm out in a huff throwing things behind me’ thing. I simply put in my notice. I have almost a month to fret and freak out and to wade through the ‘hey buddy it’s tough out there. You sure you want to do this?’ advice. (which i haven’t gotten actually. That’s pretty nice.)

It is tough out there. I know. I’ve been out there quite a few times. It’s safer in here. There’s food in here. But in some cases it’s really the best thing. Once you get into the habit of thinking of the distance to the ground from the nearest window of your office building and wondering idly if that might, in fact, do the trick; it’s time to go. In case you’re wondering, i work on the first floor so it most certainly wouldn’t do the trick. 

The point is that my head had gotten to that place. I’d been there before and it isn’t a good place. Not at all. You can think some of the worst things in that space. Nothing quite so dire as ‘boy wouldn’t this be a grand place to do something awful.’ I have never gotten there in my head and, thankfully, i don’t think it’s possible. You just wonder what the point of all of it is. You wonder why you keep working to put food in a body that has no honest future and is now resigned to grind it out until the bitter, three-pack-a-day-swilling-bad-whiskey-to-terrible-70’s-band-in-a-forgotten-sports-bar-somewhere-circa-1987, end. That’s my idea of hell. So when you are in hell already it’s probably a good idea to stop and try and climb out.

Now i would give specifics of what provoked this stuff. I would but i still have this vain and silly notion that someone who might actually care would read it and great fury would ensue. It won’t. I could blather on and on about how badly i was treated and this and that but let’s be honest here – that’s ego talking. It’s the little devil in my head that gives a crap about how badly it’s treated and tells me all about it ad nauseum whether i want to hear it or i don’t. Mostly i don’t. 

All i can say for certain is that things had put me into a spot i was once far too familiar with. A place where my little, poop-flinging, monkey that lives in my head thrives and has an infinite supply of poop to throw which makes things rather slippery and not so much fun. I can say you really need to get to a spot where you can say – with very little ego whatsoever – that this is sick. 

What do i mean by sick? Well… It’s pretty much like it sounds. It’s not well. I think this is pretty easy to define, really. You know it. If you listen. When you would rather drive your car into a tree than go to that place again, when the best hours of your life are spent anywhere else, when the level of regard you receive for putting your best effort into things is just short of a slap in the face with a dead fish – it’s time to put your walking shoes on and start hoofing it. 

I wonder, though, if i would have thought these things or if i would have had the courage to do this sort of thing if i had those linkages that are customary for a guy at the advanced age of 38? Would i have put in my notice if i had kids, a wife, a house payment, etc? And even if that’s the case just how bad does it have to get to walk when you have those things? I don’t know. Knowing myself pretty well i’d reckon it would be pretty hard. Hell, i knew within months that things weren’t great and weren’t all that likely to get better and yet i stayed for over a year now. 

It sucks, though. It’s great. But it sucks. At what point do i get to old to start over again? Will it matter? Will it end in a grind no matter what? These are the sorts of questions that pop into my head. And why is it so damned hard to head in one direction with some sense of purpose? I’m a writer. I write. That’s all i know and all i’ve ever done or wanted to do so that’s the direction i’m heading in but all that little stuff – the agents, the social networking of the fledgling writer, and yes the Blog postings when you have nothing constructive to say. It all seems very… unwriterly. We’re a mob of near-misanthropic troglodytes. We sit in front of computer screens telling stories. We soak up the times we’re not in front of screens like perverse little sponges and then we sweat the details of those experiences and pour out that stinky awful sweat into salad bowls with everything else we didn’t know we put in there. We look with squinty eyes at marketing proposals and the ‘to do lists of self publishing’. We would much rather be telling stories. Any time you’re not writing a story is wasted time even if you’re not actually putting words on a page. Writers are always writing and marketing is not writing. But then those folks who are putting the time in to that stuff – the writers that you sometimes suspect might not actually have ink in their blood – they’re the ones getting published. They’re getting paychecks and you’re still stilling there telling stories and limply tossing the manuscripts to the breeze hoping it blows it’s way to the right eyes at the right time. 

Of course when you think that sort of thing it most certainly is your ego. So i suppose it’s not bad to think that. It puts it in front of you and allows you to think it and see just how dumb it is. Pat the poop flinging monkey on the head and send him on his way. 

And again i don’t mean that in the ego sense. That little poop flinging monkey at least has been dealt with. I’m not the brooding ‘writer’ type anymore (THANK YOU GOD!!!!) but i am still the reclusive type that tends to wonder if i am far enough removed from society or is there maybe someplace in an abandoned town in Albania that might be more suitable…

So… i quit my day job. But i know another day job somewhere is still in store. I know that it is time to wise up and start thinking about the sorts of things i NEED in order to keep going and that writing this garbage is one of those things. I took a step for my sanity. I took another step towards something else – i have no idea what just yet. 



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