It seems so. Several people, here and elsewhere, have suggested that I need to change my scene completely, go somewhere else, do different things.
Well-intentioned for sure, and I love each and every one of them for caring, but damn rough on the ego.
As I mentioned, I am only a few months shy of 22 years as a writer. I recently went back and looked at Story #1; I wouldn't write it the same way now, but it was damn good. And it was for a major magazine in my field, which served as an entrée to a horde of magazines who then bought my stuff.
If I was to list the result, there would be approximately 1500 stories -- ranging from 500 to more than 6000 words -- in maybe 50 different publications.
That's the good side, of course.
There was the magazine I created, edited and wrote for, which -- for reasons that had nothing to do with quality -- lasted for exactly two issues. There were other publications that took me for granted, and still do.
And people are suggesting I walk away from all that.
What can a 57 year-old man, who has few marketable skills (beyond a certain craft with words, an ability to service pipe organs, do tasks in the animated-film business (that have long ago been abandoned) and is alone in the world, do to earn a living?
Not much, Jim.
That's doubly true when he would have to leave behind a mountain of, well, stuff*, and would take a large amount of debt along with him.
I thought, foolishly, that one day my skills, expertise and dedication to my craft would pay off. Hasn't happened.
And yet, there is still something about the work I do that attracts me. Part of that is the reaction of some I respect, who love (or at least are polite about) reading what I write.
For some reason, I remember visiting a friend in the hospital years ago. He shared his room with someone else who actually recognized my name from some stories I had written. I made this poor sick -- dying, actually -- dude's day by autographing a magazine for him.
For many reasons, I can't seem to find a situation I'd prefer, even though writing has done a great deal to destroy my life. I made mistakes, true, but I had help. Lots of it.
A "career" that leaves you alone in the world and broke is not good and yet I, and others like me, keep on trying to make it happen.
We are fools.
Despite what I said in an earlier post, I really wish someone could come along and make things better. I couldn't do it; maybe someone else could.
Or maybe I'm simply destined to end up on the trash heap, no matter what I do.
Forgive me. This is a self-pity kind of night. I made decisions, they turned out to be wrong. And I feel more isolated than ever.
This is going to be a long, cold, unhappy night.
I bought this life, and now I'm paying for it. Wasn't supposed to be this way.
* And destroy a few things he shouldn't have kept, which would cause severe embarrassment to someone he stupidly thought might one day return.
15 hours ago