Stuff I’ve Written – Live Your Dreams (part 5)

In the past, I’ve shared some of what I’ve written here.  It may be good, it may be terrible, but I need to get it out into the world.  If you like what you read, let me know.  I’ve been posting this story in installments and this is the final chapter.

Live Your Dreams (part 5)

Two more weeks passed as John continued to refine his novel.  With this draft he let Stephanie review it again and he emailed a copy of it to his brother, Pete.

Pete wrote back three days later.  “Hey little bro, this is really good.  Where did all this come from?  Glad to see that you are putting your time off to good use.”

John and Stephanie both agreed that it was time to send his manuscript off to an actual editor and to start submitting samples to publishers.  At night they would talk of what should the cover art be or joke about who should star in the movie.

During the day while John would write, Stephanie was beginning to worry.  She had picked up as many extra hours at work as she could.  John being home all the time helped with the cooking and chores, but the financial stress was starting to wear her down.  His unemployment had run out, and their savings was dwindling.  He still applied for jobs but wasn’t getting any call backs.  She was hesitant to bring it up with him, he was in a good place and she didn’t want to ruin that.  He had been there for her while she finished school.  She felt it was her turn to be strong for him.

Tuesday started as most Tuesdays started now.  They slept in until it was time for her to get up and get ready for work.  He got up with her and watched her leave.  He went in the study and worked for a few hours.  At 3:00 he stopped, went outside to get the mail before making a small lunch.  He was halfway through the living room when he stopped dead in his tracks.  A small white envelope in his hand, the rest of the mail fell to the floor.  The letter was from one of the publishing houses he had submitted a sample to.

He gingerly put the envelope down on the table, still unopened, grabbed his phone and texted Stephanie. “I got a response, what should I do?”

“Open it silly.”  She responded several agonizing minutes later.

“Do I have to? Should I wait for you to come home?”  John was pacing the living room now.  Excited to see what it said, but also terrified of what it might say.

“You can wait for me if you really want to.”  She responded.

“Good, I’m afraid of what it might say, either good or bad.”  He knew he was not going to get any work done today now.  He turned on a video game to take his mind off the letter, but he could still feel it there like it had a magical power to it.

At 7:15 Stephanie finally came home.  John was getting a bit frantic with nervousness.  She came in to find him pacing the room with the controller in his hand still trying to play the game, unable to sit for even a minute.

“Oh thank god you’re home!”  John tossed the controller down, gave her a kiss and put the letter in her hand.  “Open it, I can’t.  I just can’t.”

Stephanie laughed at how ridiculous he was being.  “Okay, I’ll open it, but you need to sit down and relax.”  She opened the envelope and read the letter inside.  Her smile beginning to fade.

“What? What does it say?  They hated it right?”  John was back on his feet.

“I’m sorry sweety.”  She began to read the letter aloud.  “Dear Mr. Miller, we thank you for your submission but unfortunately we are not interested in publishing your work at the present time.  We wish you the best of luck in your career.”  Stephanie came over and put her arms around John.  “It’s okay, rejection is part of the job.”

“I know, but I just had this feeling like things were going to turn around for us.”  He put his arms around her.

“Take the night off, relax with me.  We will watch something fun and cheer you up.”  Stephanie walked them into the kitchen.  “Now what are we going to do for dinner, I’m starving.”

 

Two days later, another rejection letter came in.

A week later, two rejection letters showed up on the same day.

As the days stretched into weeks, more letters would arrive.  All of them saying the same thing.  John’s heart was crushed with each one.  It became harder and harder to pull himself out of bed each morning.

Even though they didn’t talk about it much, John knew how bad their finances were.  He went three days without a shower, and hadn’t shaved in nearly two weeks.  Stephanie worried everyday when she left for work, what shape he would be in when she got home.  She never saw him go in the study.  She would call him everyday on her lunch break and she could hear the TV on in the background.

John knew he was sinking into depression.  Daytime TV is full of depressed people and people who have failed at life.  However he saw no way out of it.  His writing had failed.  No one was calling him back about the applications he had turned in.

John was falling asleep on the couch watching a heartthrob actor talk about his latest tearjerker movie, he was woken up by his phone chirping.  It wasn’t Stephanie’s ringtone.

“Hello.”  He hoped it wasn’t a call back on an application with how groggy his voice sounded.

“John? Hey! It’s Tommy.”  The voice on the phone identified itself.

“Tommy?”  Slowly the wheels in John’s head turned.

“Sorry, it’s been a few months hasn’t it.  Tommy Jackson, we used to work together.  You were across the row from me until we were booted out the door?  I didn’t wake you up did I?”

John woke up a bit more.  “Tommy, hey.  Sorry I was kinda out of it.  How have you been?”

“I’m good.  I was actually calling you to see if you had a found a job yet, I know it’s pretty rough out there.”

John was awake, but confused now.  “It’s going okay, I haven’t found anything yet, but I’ve got some applications out there.  Why do you ask?”

“Well I remember you were really good at solving some complex problems back at the old job, and I’ve started at a new company and I think we could really use someone like you.  I’m in pretty good with the managers here.  I think we need to get together one day and I’ll let you know all about it.  Would you be free for dinner tomorrow night?  You can bring Stephanie too.  I’ll bring Janice.  Think of it as a job double date.”

“You and Janice? Wow.  Yeah, we can do dinner tomorrow night.”

“Great!  How about the italian place on Main, Antonia’s at 7:00?”

“Sounds like a plan.  See you tomorrow then.”  John hung up feeling confused, but like there was a slight weight lifted off of him.  This was closer than he had gotten to a job in weeks.  He texted Stephanie to let her know.

She texted back “That’s great sweety. I told you good things would come.”

 

John and Stephanie walked arm in arm through the door of Antonia’s restaurant.

“Have I told you how beautiful you look tonight”  John whispered in Stephanie’s ear.

“Only three times tonight, but thank you.  Again.  You are looking quite dashing yourself too.”  Stephanie said with a smile.

Tommy stood and waved them over from across the room.  “So glad you guys could make it.  John you remember Janice?”

“Yes, we met after my incident with Roger.”  John laughed.

“That was so embarrassing!  It’s funny now, but was so awkward then.”  Janice laughed

They sat at the table, laughed and exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes.  Tommy finally brought them back to the point of the dinner meeting.  “Now, for the reason I called you.  It’s been almost 6 months since we were both let go, and it looks like you haven’t yet found anything.  I was lucky enough to make it into my current position and I know we need someone like you.  I’ve spent the last 2 weeks building the case for my bosses, this isn’t a position open to the public yet.  I’ve convinced them to talk to you first.  I think you would be perfect for the position.  What do you say?”

“What do I say?”  John was trying to hide his desperation, and not seem to overeager.  “I say yes, what do you need me to do?”

“Great news!  Bring your resume down tomorrow morning around 9:00 and we can get an interview going right then.”  Tommy shook John’s hand over the table.  “Now that that’s settled.  I’m starving, I hear their lasagna is to die for.”

The rest of the evening was full of laughs and good times shared.

On the ride home John turned to Stephanie “Was I too eager? I didn’t want to sound desperate.”

“No, you didn’t sound desperate at all.  You sounded like you were happy that a friend was offering you a good job.”  She patted his leg.  “You worry too much.”

John could already feel the burden on his shoulders lessening, but one thought was still nagging at him.  “Do you think I am giving up on my dreams?”

“What do you mean?”  Stephanie asked.

“Am I giving up on being a writer by taking this job?  I’m just worried that I gave it up when things got bad.  Should I have stuck through it and kept fighting?”

“You’re not giving up.  At least I didn’t think you were.  This job, whatever job you do doesn’t define who you are.  It’s just a way to pay the bills so that we can go off and do the things we want to do.”  Stephanie reassured him.  “Last I checked, there was only one requirement to being a writer.”

“Oh yeah, what’s that?”

“To write and to keep writing.  As long as you keep doing that, you are a writer.”

#BernieOrBust and the Democratic Process

This is gonna be a political post, so I’m just gonna apologize ahead of time for that.  If that’s not your thing then feel free to just skip on past this one.  (Reminder you can always see fun geeky stuff over at www.FanboysTalking.com)

It’s all but official that Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic Presidential nominee, it’s been a tight race but it looks like Bernie Sanders just doesn’t have the numbers to beat her out.  Full disclosure, I am a Democrat, a Bernie Sanders supporter, and I am not happy to see that Hillary is taking the nomination.  I am also not a hugely political person, I view politics much like art, I know what I like.  So this is just my views and my uninformed opinions on the subject.  I may be wrong, but it’s how I see the world.

There has been a push among some of Bernie’s supporters that basically says if Bernie doesn’t get the nomination then they will either vote Trump (yikes!), not vote at all, or try to write in Bernie’s name.  This is problematic for many reasons.

The first option is truly the most frightening.  Why would someone who supported Bernie Sanders want to vote for Trump?  That’s worse than chopping off your nose to spite your face, that is chopping off your head.  This just boggles my mind.  Why in the world would someone basically ignore everything that their chosen candidate stand for and vote against them and all their ideals simply because they are unhappy about how the primaries turned out?  This is not an adult way of looking at things, this is how a spoiled child looks at things.  This is breaking a toy because someone said you can’t play with it.  It makes me wonder if they really were following Bernie because of what he said or because he was the hot thing at the moment.

Almost as bad is those who say they will stay at home.  I’m sorry but that is not how the democratic process works.  If you care so much to have your voice heard then staying at home is you putting the duct tape over your own mouth.  Why would you choose to silence yourself just because of the results?  Again, this is not how an adult deals with a situation.  You may not be breaking the toy, but you are taking it home and not letting anyone else play either.

When this election started there was something like 18 candidates (albeit most of them were part of the Republican clown car clusterfuck), so it’s pretty clear that a lot of people had to watch their chosen candidate bow out of the race.  That doesn’t mean that you get to bow out either.  It’s a choice between two now, and I’ll freely admit I don’t really like either of them, but I understand that I can still have my voice be heard by looking at the two of them at seeing which one best represents me.  I’m not saying that you have to vote strictly along party lines, but democracy only works if we are all involved.

Staying at home poses another problem.  We aren’t just voting for a president in November.  There are congressional seats, senate seats, local elections, and various measures and propositions in all the various states.  If you choose to not vote at all, then you are removing your voice from a lot of areas beyond just the Presidency.

The final choice is to write in Bernie’s name.  Not every state accepts write-in votes.  If it makes you feel better to do that then that’s your right and privilege to do so.

Unhappy with Clinton or Trump?  Then you should take a look at the 3rd party candidates.  With the amount of disillusionment among the Republicans and Democrats, it’s entirely possible that we may have a realistic third party candidate.  Something that has not been seen for quite a while.

It’s important to vote.  People have fought, killed and died for you to have the right to vote.  This election cycle has been 17 different kinds of awful, but it’s important to stay involved.  This isn’t like the World Series where you can choose to not watch the Yankees lose in October again.  This is a process and you need to stay involved.  Will the things you want always win out? No.  But that’s life as an adult.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  If you choose to not be involved then you are just letting others speak for you and that is not a democracy.

Baseball: A Metaphor For Life And Failure

I was listening to a podcast this morning, like I do, and the guests were discussing creative careers and life.  The old analogy that the world’s best baseball players fail far more than they succeed was brought up.

I’ve heard this analogy before, and I’ve probably even given to someone at some point as advice, but something about it struck a chord with me today.  It could be that I am slowly trying to push myself into trying new things and projects.  It can be very disheartening to try something and see it fail spectacularly.

The idea that the best person to ever play baseball, someone considered to be of divine heritage, or someone who has pumped their body full of so many chemicals that they are nearly unrecognizable as human, is still going to fail more than 6 times out of 10.  Imagine that, these people do crazy things to their bodies and their futures to still fail more times than they succeed.  They are considered to be Hall of Famers, the best that ever was.  In the world of baseball, if you actually succeeded even half the time, you would be considered a cheat.

Now to take this analogy and apply it to your life, it makes those failures and setbacks seem less terrible.  At least that’s the point of the analogy.

Baseball also has one of the longest seasons of any of the major sports, 162 games and that’s not even counting the post-season.  Football is 16 games in 17 weeks, once a week and you even get one week off.  Baseball is almost every day for 4 months.  Players and teams know they are in for the long haul, you have to keep an eye on the bigger picture, the larger view.

You can’t let yourself be dragged down because of one or two failures.  You have to get up and keep trying.  Take the 162 game view.  Not only do the best players fail more than half of the time, but the best teams lose a third or more of their games in the season.

This thought struck me this morning and I was going to tweet it, but obviously I had more to say on the matter.  Now, if I can only manage to follow my own advice and not get down when a podcast (listen to Fanboys Talking, shameless plug!) doesn’t get the listenership that I was hoping, or that a story I’m working on doesn’t come out quite right.  They can’t all be home runs, today I struck out but tomorrow I get another at bat and another chance.

Facebook: A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villany

Is there anything more polarizing in this modern world than Social Media, especially Facebook?  Most of us use it, most of us don’t like everything about it.  Between random people you went to High School with or coworkers, our friends list is an eclectic mixture.

Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with it.  I’m a liberal atheist and I feel I’m pretty open about being a liberal atheist.  For the most part, I just try to post fun things and keep things light, but every now and then reality will come in and I’ll post about some current event or political item.  This brings out all the people who have opposing viewpoints and the shouting matches begin.  No one’s opinion is changed, but everyone just walks away mad.  It’s an angry circle jerk of opposing views resulting in nothing but awkwardness.

I’ve wanted to close my Facebook account on numerous times, but the site for all it’s problems does have some positives.  There are people who I do generally give a shit about on there and it’s a great tool for keeping in touch with people and family.  That works especially good for me since most of my family is thousands of miles away.  But there are still those trolls and people with extreme opposite viewpoints who will just shout you down.

Now an overly opinionated asshole like me, I can’t just walk away or let it go.  For some reason, I have this “Can’t let the terrorists win” attitude when it comes to Facebook.  I hate feeling like I was forced out by a small percentage of assholes.

I am on nearly every social media platform.  I have a really boring job and I like finding different ways to amuse myself.  I use twitter the most, and I think I have a pretty good handle on who I follow and who I don’t on there.  Twitter for me is a kind of geeky stream of consciousness.  I have a tumblr, and while I still don’t think I fully know how to use the site I have fun with it and mostly post just fun geeky things.  For some reason, I can’t keep my damn mouth shut on Facebook.  Every now and then I just have to spout up about some random event or thing and my problems start all over again.

I think my biggest problem is that I’ve never gone through and culled my friends list.  I’ve unfollowed some people, but I really need to get in there and clear some people out.  That is my first step.  Secondly I need to find a better outlet for the frustrations of daily life.  Instead of posting something controversial on there, I need to channel that into my writing.  (If only I had a blog site where I could post stuff?)  I also need to stop going down to where the trolls live and poking them with a stick.

Writing on here is a much better focus of my energies than some passive-aggressive post on Facebook.  I think we can all agree that those are the worst.

Stuff I’ve Written – Live Your Dreams (Part 4)

In the past, I’ve shared some of what I’ve written here.  It may be good, it may be terrible, but I need to get it out into the world.  If you like what you read, let me know.  I’ll be posting the stories in installments, and I will eventually put up a pdf of the full story.

Live Your Dreams (part 4)

Time slowed to a crawl once she left.  John stared at the clock.  He had never noticed how long a minute can be.  He turned on the TV after 20 minutes.  The time had passed so slow it had felt like an eternity.  Flipping between a trashy talk show, garish game shows and the far too melodramatic and overacted soap operas.  John had enough and turned the TV off.

“I need to get out of the house.  A change of scenery and some fresh air will help.”  He said to himself.

A drive in the car helped.  John ran a few errands that he had been meaning to do today anyways, and stopped at the used bookstore on the way home.  Picked up a murder mystery for himself and the latest supernatural romance series that Stephanie loved.  As he drove home he started to feel the dark clouds forming in his head again.  He felt he was returning to a haunted house.

“I’ve got a decision to make.  I can either go home and wallow in self pity or I can do something about this and try to make the best out of it all.”  John looked at himself in the car’s rearview mirror.  In public he tried to not talk to himself, at least not as loudly.

Walking in the door, he remembered the declaration he had made the other day and how he had felt afterwards.  “I’m home now, instead of wallowing and giving up on everything, I’m going to get to it and take advantage of the freedom I have now.”  He announced to the empty house.

Putting away his few purchases he went into the study, sat down and immediately started working.  He wrote at a steady pace until later that evening.  Stephanie texted him that she was on her way home.  John went into the kitchen to started dinner.

After dinner they relaxed on the couch together.  “I made some really good progress today, and I feel like I know where to go with it all. It’s almost to the point where I would let you read some of it.” He said with a smile.

“Wow! I might actually get to read what you’ve been doing. I’m touched.” She said.

“You haven’t peaked have you?” He said, suddenly nervous.

“No honey, I haven’t. I know that this is a very personal thing to you. It’s like spying on someone when they are naked. It’s just not right, it’s an invasion of your privacy. I know you’ll show it to me when you are ready to show it to me.” She smiled.

He breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you.”

 

He focused on being positive.  He tried to not dwell on the negative.  This began a regular ritual for him.  He saw the morning shower as a way of cleansing himself of all the negativity.  Emerging clean, positive and focused.  It worked. He was able to keep writing, keep his productivity up, and kept himself focused. Not every day was a good day, but the good days far outweighed the bad days.  He continued to work.

 

4 weeks passed and Stephanie began to see a turn in John again.

“Hey what’s going on in there? Are you okay? You’re looking a little funny.” Her voice was concerned.

“I’m okay, I’m just depressed. Everything has been so great that I feel like I’m a new person. I’m afraid that I’m being selfish though.  Bills are coming due and I know it’s going to be tight with only your income.  I worry that I’ll become that moody depressed person again once I start the job hunt.” John was worried.

“Oh sweety, it’s not like that.  Things are a little bit tight right now, but I’ve picked up a few extra shifts.  Plus we have our savings and your unemployment.  We will be okay” She took his hand reassuringly.

He looked into her eyes.  “Thank you.”

“For what? I’m just telling you things you already know. A few of them you’ve even told me.” She said.

“You’re right, but I just wanted to thank you for being the strong one right now and keeping me together. I don’t know where I’d be without you right now.”

“Well you wouldn’t have any clean socks, you’d be eating too many frozen dinners, and you’d probably still have that ridiculous soul patch.” She teased.

 

A week later he completed his first draft, and it was time to let Stephanie read it.

“I have a surprise for you after dinner.” John was cooking spaghetti.  Stephanie swore it never tasted the same when she made it.

“You’re cooking for me and I get a surprise. Should I be excited or scared? What did you do?”  She joked.

“Nothing bad, I promise. I want you to read my first draft.”

“Really? I can’t wait. I know this means a lot to you. Now hurry up and finish cooking, I’m starving.” She left him in the kitchen to finish getting dinner ready.

After dinner he produced a print out for her to read.

“I typed it up so it would be easier to read and it helped me to fix a lot of the basic spelling mistakes and missing words.” He handed it over to her. “Also it’ll make it easier for you if you want to make notes of anything.”

“I’ll be gentle, I promise.”

“While you read, I’m going to distract myself with some video games. It’ll help keep me distracted if I’m trying to not get teabagged by a misogynistic 12 year old.”  John kissed her and went into the living room.

 

Two hours later Stephanie came in and sat next to him on the couch.

“Well, what did you think?  I want you to be honest.”  John put the controller down.

“I think you’ve really got something here.  It’s rough, your grammar is all over the place, but I think you’ve got something.”  Stephanie pulled him into a hug.  “I’ve made some notes, but I really think you should finish this and see what happens.”

Stuff I’ve Written – Live Your Dreams (Part 3)

In the past, I’ve shared some of what I’ve written here.  It may be good, it may be terrible, but I need to get it out into the world.  If you like what you read, let me know.  I’ll be posting the stories in installments, and I will eventually put up a pdf of the full story.

Live Your Dreams (part 3)

Monday morning. 6:45 am and the alarm starts beeping. He climbed out of the warm bed into the cold predawn darkness, and slowly made his way to the bathroom.  John went through the motions of getting dressed and trying to not let the job feel like a crushing burden on him.  The sooner he made it to work, the sooner the day would be over and he could be back home.

The day began normally enough, however things quickly began to change.  John saw several managers coming down and sitting in the cubes.  They never did this, something was going on.  He tried to ignore it, but it was too easy to get caught up in the buzz of rumours and speculation.  Word began to spread about layoffs.

‘It’s not going to be me, they need me, you can’t outsource this work and it’s too complicated to automate.’  John thought.

“Shit.”  It was Tommy from the other side of the cube.

“What? What’s going on?”  John stood and looked across the row.

“I got an email to meet with Adam in 15 minutes.”  Adam was their department manager.  “This can’t be good.  Not with what I’m hearing out of the other departments.  Did you get anything?”  Tommy slumped in his chair.

John started to respond, but was interrupted by his Outlook notification.  “I just got one.”

An hour later John and Tommy both walked out of the building, holding their personal items in a small box.

“Give me a call later this week, we’ll get together and have lunch or something.”  Tommy said as they crossed the parking lot.

“Definitely.  We can figure out where to apply to.”  John stopped at his car and put his box in the backseat.  “I didn’t even get a chance to warn Steph about this.  She’s going to worry.”

“At least you’ve got someone to go home to.  I think I’m gonna call Janice from our team tonight and see if she wants to go out.  We always seem to have fun together.  Don’t have to worry about HR making things weird now.”  Tommy waved and started towards his own car.

John sat in the car thinking of what he would do.  It was only 11:00.  Too late to surprise her with an egg mcmuffin.  She might still be asleep.

He drove home in silence, trying not to dwell on everything.

The house was still dark when he came home.  Stephanie was still asleep.  He moved around as quietly as could, but every sound seemed to echo in the house.  Sitting on the couch he took his shoes off and padded silently to the bedroom.  He stood in the doorway for just a minute watching her sleep.  She would complain that her hair was a mess and she snored, but right now she was a vision of beauty.  He leaned on the bed and kissed her.  She woke to his kiss, but quickly realized he shouldn’t be home.

“What time is it? Why aren’t you at work?”  Stephanie sat up in the bed.

“Well, I’ve got good news and bad news.  Which do you want first?”  He sat on the edge of the bed, pulling off his tie.

“What’s the bad news?”  She was worried and a little confused.

“I got laid off today.”  He looked down in shame.  “They let half our department go.”

“Oh no.  What’s the good news?”

“Nothing, I lied about the good news.”  He curled up to her on the bed, his shirt still half tucked into his pants.

“I’m so sorry, sweety.”  She pulled him close and put her arms around him.  “There is a little bit of good news though.”

“What’s that?”  His voice weak.

“At least you don’t have to go back to that soul crushing job anymore, and you can spend more time with me.”  She smiled at John, trying to cheer him up.

They lay in bed together for another hour before it was Stephanie’s turn to get ready for work.  John changed out of his work clothes, sat on the couch and stared blankly at the dark TV while she got ready.

“I want you to make me a promise today.”  She sat next to him and began putting on her shoes.

“What’s that?”  John said, waking out of his daze.

“I don’t want you to dwell on what happened today.  You said they let a lot of people go, so it wasn’t anything that you had control over.  I want you to take some time today and relax, cheer yourself up.”  Stephanie stood up and grabbed her purse.  She came back and kissed him.  “Find something that will make you happy.”

John managed a small smile and a nod.  “I’ll try.”

“Good.  Text me if anything else happens.”  She blew him a kiss as the door closed behind her.

Stuff I’ve Written: Live Your Dreams (part 2)

In the past I’ve shared some of what I’ve written here.  It may be good, it may be terrible, but I need to get it out into the world.  If you like what you read, let me know.  I’ll be posting the stories in installments, and I will eventually put up a pdf of the full story.

 

Live Your Dreams (part 2)

 

John was at work. This was meeting number 3 for the day and it wasn’t even lunch.  The fluorescent lights flickered and buzzed. The air conditioner hummed. The omnipresent soundtrack of daily life in the cube farm.

 

‘If I fell asleep in this meeting, I wonder how long it would take for people to notice.’ He thought to himself.  The manager continued to drone on, trying to make pointless corporate buzzwords and double speak sound exciting. This was another in a long series of updates that really had nothing to do with his job, but he had been put on the committee.

 

The manager was new, still very excited and gung ho. His soul hadn’t been crushed by the corporate machine yet. John thought that there must be some kind of psychological paper you could write tracking a person in Corporate America from exciting optimism at the beginning and see how long it took before they were another crushed soul.

 

“You are a very important piece of our company…” The manager continued on.

 

‘Now sit down, shut up and get back to work. Don’t question the system, just go with the flow.’ John added in his head. ‘No wonder people brought guns to work. The system will break everyone.’

 

John had to get out of here. Every day it gets a little harder to not just run screaming from the building. He saw everything as a facade. Fake walls separated the desks and cubes, pretend friends and fake smiles in the hallways. All of it hiding the soul crushing depression they were all feeling.

 

‘Stephanie wants me to work on my novel. She has seen the notebook with ideas.’ He thought to himself, focusing on her, on his life outside of work helped him to put the nonsense of work into a proper perspective.

 

“If you write your novel, you could get of that crappy job.” She told him when he complained about work. ‘So easy for her to say that, it’s another thing to actually do it.’ He thought to himself.  ‘Stop it John. You are being defeatist again. Stephanie would not approve of this attitude.’

 

“Focus on your strengths, and you can pull yourself out.” She had told him that back when he decided to make a serious effort at writing. He had begun repeating it to himself as a mantra every day to keep himself focused on what was important.

 

‘I can do this.’

 

“You coming John?” A new voice interrupted his thoughts, it was Tommy who sat across the row from him.

 

“Oh, meetings over, hope nothing important was discussed.” They shared a laugh as they walked back to their desks.  The job was not his favorite, and it was not his first choice.  However, he was reasonably good at it, and liked his coworkers. There were a lot of worse things he could be doing. Focus on the positive.

 

It was finally 5:30 on Friday, time to go home and not think about work until Monday morning. John made a promise to himself as he walked across the parking lot to his car, this weekend I’m going to get some work done. Come Hell or high water, I’m going to move this thing forward. He felt energized and ready to go.  Stephanie wouldn’t be home for a few hours so he had the time to himself. This was the worst part for him, he was so tempted by the TV, the internet or just relaxing with a book.

 

“No! I’m not going to waste this time. I’ve wasted too much time already.” John said to the empty house. He felt that since he had said it aloud that he had made a vow with some unseen force, and he was determined to stick to it.

 

He stuck to it and forced himself to just keep the thoughts going, keep the pencil moving, just get the words down. He was thinking like a sculptor, you don’t start with a statue, you have to shape and carve, build some sections up and tear others down. It’s a first draft, not a final piece. He kept these thoughts and images in his head whenever he started to feel like he was running out of steam.  It doesn’t have to be good right away, you have the talent to make it good. Stephanie’s words repeated in his head. He wrote until Stephanie came home. He finally stopped when he heard her come home.

 

“Oh no, don’t stop because of me. You seemed like you were really on a role there.” She said as he started to get up from the desk.

 

He got up from the desk and walked over to her. Immediately putting his arms around her and kissing her and leading her across the hall to the bedroom.

 

“What got into you?” She asked.

 

“What? It’s Friday and I’m glad to be home with you and off work.” He said.

 

“That’s not what I’m talking about. I haven’t seen this level of passion or excitement in you for quite a while. I don’t know what changed, but I’m glad it did. I was getting worried for you.” She sat up and looked into his eyes.
“Honestly, I don’t know what changed. I just made a promise to myself that I was not going to waste any more time. I was going to get something done, be productive, for good or for bad.”  He smiled.