The luxury of being despondent
“You don’t have the luxury of being despondent,” said Rog on the four hour drive to the cold, winter wonderland. When he goes to work, day after day, dealing with client drama, internal politics, sensitive egos of partners, he keeps his cool and his smile. “All you ‘creatives’ are the same,” he continued. “You get despondent because the work is in the background for what–a few years? Then the glory comes and it’s great–for five minutes. Try doing this every day of the year, then tell me if you have the right to be despondent.”
That, my dear readers, is what four hours, cloistered in a car with your best friend and spouse will do. Best friends you see, are brutally honest. Good friends, in my world, this means mom, sister, cousin and a few actual, non-relatives, are honest as well. They just aren’t brutal about it. Diplomacy counts for something (“maybe you should try this”), as does a consideration of feelings, (“you look better in those jeans, the ones you wore yesterday”). One can be honest and still be nice. I guess diplomacy is sacrificed when one spends the day slaying dragons in the corporate world.
Of course, I am too despondent at that moment to cry. My tears dried up about the time I realized Vin Diesel said he was the 10 year “overnight success” when he hit it big with Triple X and got a mastiff. Rog’s swift kick in the rear lasted a few seconds, and my pity-party about ten more seconds when he chimed in again. “You are so close,” he said, gripping the wheel as the snow pelted the windshield. “What’s the problem?” Hmm. Let me see. No time to finish the last re-writes. Lack of motivation when self-doubt tells me it will ‘never be good enough.’ The endless hours of edits and rewrites to hit me at the first of the year.
“Is that all?” he says, completely invalidating my feelings. “You can create from your house, or car, inside or outside, any time of the day or night, without criticism. The editors are decent, and are at least diplomatic.” True on all counts. “Furthermore, when you write a piece once, it sells over and over. It‘s the only way to get ahead.” Right again.
I sit in the dark, gnawing on the inside of my lower lip, a habit formed in the fifth grade. “I know you are chewing,” he says, without so much as a sideways glance. “Just wake up and get it done. Being despondent is for the weak.” Sigh. Must he be right when I want him to be wrong?
Jordan didn’t get good free throws without plunking thousands in the relative obscurity of some basketball hoop, nor did Roger Clemens earn Hardball times ranking of best all time pitcher without throwing his share on the way to greatness. The pragmatist in me loves the equal playing field of basic tools (balls or computers) that levels the playing field for all. One things is certain. As I continue on to year eight on the 10 year Vin Diesel plan, I’ll never lack for a Jillian Michael’s type-supporter in my life.