Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day 921

I finished this month's assignment for my writer's group this morning and turned it in. I've written some good things, as well as some not so good things, for this group, but I don't think I would have written anything at all without the discipline of an assignment and a deadline. Sometimes I wonder if there's anything I still do for the sheer pleasure of it. There certainly isn't much. In the early 1980's I loved to write songs. I wrote and recorded tons of original songs during this period. There were some who said I had a promising career ahead of me in Nashville. I signed several publishing contracts with obscure record labels, but never made a dime from my music. There was one fatal flaw in my plan to become a famous songwriter. I couldn't sing. Labels were looking for promising singer/songwriters, not the next Bernie Taupin.

Several years later I became very excited about becoming a fashion photographer. I left the advertising world and spent two years putting together a portfolio. My work was good enough to land me a job at a leading photo studio. I didn't become the next Richard Avedon however. I shot catalogs. Catalogs were boring and mundane. I quickly returned to advertising where there was at least a thin patina of glamor.

The last time I was really excited about something was during the mid-1990's, when I convinced myself that I wanted to make another documentary film. I started going to film festivals and was even asked to be a speaker at SXSW in 1997. The film never got made. I had already made several extremely low budget documentaries in the 1970's, but by 1990 I had grown too practical. Documentaries don't make money and I wasn't willing to risk my life savings on a project that didn't even matter anyway.

When I hear people on television self-help shows tell their audience that the key to success is to follow your passion, I just don't buy it. Anything that I was even mildly passionate about ended up costing me a fortune. I never made a dime by following my heart. Fortunately, I've done extremely well doing things I hate. I've done so well doing things I hate that it's made the world topsy-turvy for me. When I meet someone who tells me that they love what they do, I generally don't believe them.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, I visited another guitar store today. I actually took a couple of guitars off the wall and started playing them. I can't play well anymore. If you heard me this afternoon, you'd probably agree that I suck. Holding the guitar in my hands brought back memories though. There was a time when my chops were pretty good. I miss those days. When I was a good guitar player, I never thought about the staggering cost of health care. I never worried about whether I'd have enough money to retire comfortably. I didn't really worry about anything. I just played.

Boo is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day