During the late 1960’s and into the early 1970’s, I celebrated New Year’s Eve with my friends in routine, stereotypical fashion. We were a group of wannabe rock stars partying on any intoxicant available. Just about every year I’d walk on home as the sun was rising, not daring to drive, and sleeping until January 2nd.. When I awoke I recall believing that year would be different, that I would accomplish those unreachable goals with gust and fervor and never look back. That year I would strive to perfect the fame I seek rather than the skill as a musician or a writer necessary to present myself to the world as someone to reckon with in my chosen field.
But nonetheless, dreams they were, and dreams they would remain, and as I grew older and my chosen fellowships matured into a classier assemblage, my foresight into what lie ahead toned down. Now it was me aspiring to learn a craft that could bring home the bacon, fatten the bank account, pay the mortgage, get the kids through college, etc, etc. No longer were visions of grandeur dangling before my eyes, and I had the ability to drive home in the wee hours of New Year’s Day, was able to wake without the drudgery of blurred vision and a wracking headache.
There is an in-between the first two paragraphs, though.
By the end of the 1970’s and up to maybe 1982, I found myself at the peak of my artistic and creative juices. There were weekends playing in nightclubs and college frat parties on stage with a lineup of musicians well out of my league but who appreciated my energy and sincerity. The Leftovers left their mark on the local scene and I have the hearing damage to attest to that.
Following that glory, I discovered photography. Fell in love with the ability to capture imagery that would have otherwise been a passing vista in my memory. There were hours of intense studying, attending classes to enhance my knowledge, moving from one format to another to gain the experience I so desired to improve my skill. Eventually all this work resulted in meeting another enthusiatic soul, partnering with him to create C&M Photography. Weddings, children’s parties, model portfolios were on the menu and until it became a real job that facilitated my getting out, there was a love and a sense of accomplishment I have rarely, if ever, matched.
Meanwhile, an early first love, writing, was waiting in the wings. She was the definitive first love of my life, composing crude sci-fi original stories as young as eight or nine. As I aged I never considered my affinity with words to be anything more than a pastime, something I did in-between being a musician, a photographer, a graphic layout artist, a father and husband. But writing and my passion for it always floated to the top, lingered on the surface. There were occasional gigs – short pieces for local rags, descriptive texts for employers, poetry to woo a girl’s heart – but I never took my compositions serious enough to muster faith in my ability to produce anything of quality. Still, it brought me joy, satisfaction, and even though I rarely ever found total fulfillment in anything I completed, it was enough to know it was mine, and mine alone.
Fast forward to contemporary living. Forcibly retired from Verizon, moved down the Jersey shore, family health problems, grandchildren. Sometimes I miss the camaraderie of performing music with others, sometimes I miss having quality photo equipment to take meaningful, artistic shots. But only sometimes. Writing requires the bare necessity of pen and paper, or a keyboard and a PC, and I am able to envelop myself in ideas, explore previously undiscovered boundaries of my imagination, present to the world the visions that I see within my deepest thoughts. Words were impartial to how old I got, or how my ambitions changed, what motivated me. They silently progressed in their development unbeknownst to even me, the founder of the feast. My first love is now laid bare each month in The Life Around Me, the column I write for hREALITY Land, and also on tap for all the world to review in my two published books.
Am I yet fulfilled with the treatises I offer each month? No way, Jose. When I am, then it’s time to move on. A writer needs to seek growth in his or her work, I’ve always believed that. There is no other way, no shortcut to develop your craft without turning a critical eye towards your own work. Never be satisfied, never be complacent with what you produce. I know I’m not.
So that becomes the framework for my New Year’s resolution: to continually write until I actualize a product that satiates my quest for bearing the stamp of proudness over what I’ve written. Only, I know that will never happen.
RjCook’s is the author of The Road Behind Me and Dream Lover and Other Tales. Click HERE for info.