My favorite opening line in literature is from David Copperfield: Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station shall be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”
I love Dickens.
My reach has always exceeded my grasp. For artists, I think this is norm. It’s next to impossible to make a good living with words and rhyme, melody or canvas. Somehow, we keep striving, because we must. And part of that is the belief that somehow, some way, we will succeed, and hit something out of the park. I’ve clung to that belief all my adult life, perhaps foolishly. I’ve worked towards that goal, too, sacrificed time and memories and relationships at the altar of words. Sometimes I am plagued by doubt, brought to my knees by my innate selfishness and the thought of the tens of thousands of hours I’ve spent over a notebook, a guitar, a computer.
I remember the times I came so damn close, only to have things evaporate. The songs “on hold” by huge artists. The books that seemed poised to take off, only to wind up at the discount bin. I get my hopes up, and crash and burn, and it’s painful. At this point, I’m jaded. I still believe, though. I really do, deep down.
Yesterday, I got news that would have made my younger, less jaded self, dance naked in the streets. A major television network is very interested in my books. They want a meeting. Twenty years ago, I’d have lost my mind. Hell, twenty years ago, I’d never have believed I’d have books published, in stores. I was a songwriter, not an author. Life is funny.
I still have great expectations. This may fall through, and if so, it’s on to the next network, the next book, the next script, the next article. I can’t stop writing.
And if I never hit it out of the park, at least I can look myself in the mirror at the end, gray and worn out and full of regrets, but not that one.
So to my fellow creatives, keep writing, keep singing, painting and smiling. Keep believing.
Let’s be heroes.