I’m sure my followers are as tired of reading about my tough days in the oil patch as I am of writing about them but this week has again pushed me to my limits. The hot summer isn’t helping either. Everyone keeps telling me to enjoy the heat while it’s here and my reply is “Why don’t you put on some jeans, t-shirt a pair of fire retardant coveralls, steel toed work boots a hard hat, safety glasses and go dry hump an engine for a twelve hour shift then report back on your level of enjoyment.”
I’m coming up on a major fork in my road of life. This September after the Labour Day weekend is when I, under the supervision of my publicist and blogger consultant web design guy start to push my novel hard to the public. The novel writing industry is one I have no business being in other than I’ve written a very good book and have been receiving good reviews from readers now on a weekly basis. My confidence is up and with the crew of specialists behind me, well, I feel it’s as close to a sure thing as anyone can get in that industry. But it’s a risk, a large risk.
On the other side of my career, the one familiar to me, the company I contract with is on a growth spurt. Three times the size this time next year is the rumour and it’s already begun. I know the people involved are hoping I’ll step up and take on some more responsibility. The experience that I’ve worked hard to gain for many years is becoming more priceless in a young industry. It’s the chance I’ve been waiting for and ten years ago I would have pounced! But I sit here today and I write and I search deep within to find the excitement I once possessed for the industry, the thrill of the chase for the promotion or new contract and I’ll admit, it just isn’t there.
The internal battle rages with the oilman in me shouting. “Don’t be stupid! This is it, grab that bull by the horns, fill your coffee, load the truck, hit the drive through and let’s go!” Then the writer in me says, “Let it go. Everything is going to be alright. You’re just not that person and that’s not your place. Let it go and life will be easier.”
I’ve heard it said before that one flaw of youth is their failure to see the fourth dimension, that dimension being time. It’s not until later in life that some of us will lift our heads from the demands of our industry to reflect on the time passed and realize the fact that we aren’t forever. Sadly some will never realize that dimension till their final hours.
I think that’s the point I’m at in life. Maybe I screwed up; perhaps I should have kept my head down and continued on. But for some reason I lifted my head. Then I slowly put down my phone and I pulled over to the side of the road. I got out of my truck, stepped into the ditch and took a long deep breath of fresh air that cleared the exhaust fumes from my lungs replenishing my body with the sweet scents from the breeze feathered through surrounding fields. My ear canals, void of filthy plugs were filled with songs of birds and the rustling of leaves. Then I thought to myself, “I have been down this road a thousand fucking times! I’ve cursed the driver in front of me and the sun for glaring in my eyes but not once did I ever stop! Just stop…and breathe! Look at all this! It’s beautiful, and there’s the sun on the horizon and it’s beautiful! Then I removed my hard hat and my, safety glasses, stinky coveralls, work boots, shirt, pants, socks everything till I stood there naked in the ditch. I looked down at the burden of clothing I had donned every day since I could remember piled beside me and I cursed them, “Fuck it, I’m done, right now.” And I walked away, barefoot and naked and nobody stopped to pick me up cause I was this weird naked guy in the ditch and the breeze was a little cold and I wished at times I had lifted my head a little closer to home. But I was free
I can’t go back. I think I’m supposed to write. No matter how many times I try to toss this thing away somebody, whether it’s an editor, publicist, critic or friend they just pick it up and throw it back at me. I figure I’ve managed a comfortable lifestyle for this many years at a job I don’t like. How could I not have complete success at something I’m passionate about?
So I’m going to take this plunge and it’s going to succeed and everyone is going to watch it grow and it will encourage others to lift their heads and people will be happier and the world will be better. That’s what I’m going to do.
Anyone who has or is taking the leap of faith to change their life situation please share your story. Anyone looking for encouragement keep your head up and pay attention because things will change.