A Nobody?

Posted: January 27, 2011 in Writing
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     I have two choices in life:  I can either be a nobody… or I can be a writer.  I know myself well enough to understand that there are no in bewteens for me.

     I spent the majority of my late teens and early twenties trying to figure out where I fit, trying new things and wishing that I could just kind of happen upon something that sparked my passion.  I always figured I would just take an interest in something, go to school, get a degree and land a good job.  But that never happened.  I never found the thing that set me on fire and I certainly never found anything I was willing to go back to school for.  The jobs were easy enough to come by… however, of the passion, there was none. 

     I tried photography and found a little release there.  For several years I pursued it with lukewarm passion.  It pacified my artistic disposition enough that for a while, I considered actually making some money at it.  But I never took it that far. On a fundamental level, I knew that photography wasn’t the thing, and when I realized this on a more conscious level, I was devastated.  All I’d ever wanted was to find one thing that I loved, one thing I was good at.  So accepting that I’d never be fulfilled as a photographer was a heavy disappointment, but I put the lens cap on and considered myself back to square one.

    However, there was one thing that, through all of my soul-searching, I did consistently, passionately and meaningfully:  I wrote.  I wrote poetry, stories, all of it… anything I could, any time… all the time.  I look back now and see that even in my photography, especially towards the end, I regularly photographed words… the human models I used would be written on in black marker, eyeliner and whatever else I could find that would sustain the scribbles on their skin long enough to get the shots I wanted.  Writing was such an intrinsic part of who I was and who I’ve always been, that I overlooked it entirely. 

    Then, in 2005, I had a kind of “moment of clarity”.  It was one of those brief moments when you somehow seem to acquire a nearly Divine kind of insight.  They don’t happen often but when they do, there’s really no ignoring them.  So yeah, I had one of those moments, and in that moment, I realized that I hadn’t really overlooked writing so much as I was intimidated by it… so intimidated that I ignored the desire to pursue it on a professional level altogether.  I didn’t want to face the hazards of what little I understood about the writing business:  the rejection, the criticism, the mental illness that is so commonly (and erroneously) associated with the craft.  But I was twenty-eight years old and I knew that nothing else on this planet would ever make me happy.  Then and there, I decided I would do everything in my power to become the best damned writer I could be.  I decided I would learn the technical side of writing.  I decided I would absorb any knowledge I could come across, and that I would use that knowledge to empower myself in the one thing that fulfills me.  

     I am thirty-three years old now.  I’ve taken the educational steps towards reaching my goals through schooling, and as well, through meeting and bonding myself to a local published writer who has since become my personal writing coach and mentor… at no cost to me, (the story behind my mentorship is a long and fascinating one… but I will save that for another blog), and, probably most noteworthy of all, in October of 2010, I finished my first full-length fictional novel.  As I write this, the manuscript is in the hands of a New York literary agent that I met at a writing conference in Salt Lake City, who after hearing my pitch, asked to see the work in its entirety. If you know anything about this business, this is a pretty big deal.  I realize that the odds are against me.  The chances of meeting one agent, one time, after writing one book and getting signed on, are dismally slim.  But still, I’d say the past six years have been quite well-spent.

   If I know nothing else, I know this:  regardless of whether or not the agent accepts my manuscript, I will continue writing and submitting.  I will try as hard as I can not to accept rejection and criticism as permanent failure.  I will try to remind myself, even in the darkest routes on this road that I am doing what I love… what I was born to do.  Having spent the past twelve years doing a mediocre job for a mediocre company and living a mediocre life, I already know what it’s like to be a nobody.  I know I will never find anything else that satisfies me the way this does.  Nothing will ever use every detail of who I am like writing does.   It’s a tough business.  It’s cruel, rigid and very scary.  But still… it’s not as scary as feeling like a nobody, which, when I am not following my natural path, I may as well be.

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Comments
  1. Joe Lazara says:

    I know the feeling of equating photography with words. I have been–and still am–a playwright. When I photograph I always see the combination of words and action. As I grow in my photography, I want to combine these elements with more consciousness. Keep writing, Jared. You have a gift. I wish you the best of luck and the kind of success that allows you to keep your beautiful integrity. Joe

  2. Mimi Williams says:

    The challenges are there to weed the hobbyists from the professionals. You are well on your way to being a professional. I’m so incredibly proud to call you friend.

  3. Frankie Queen of Oz says:

    How wonderful you came to the realization of what you were meant to do. I have always loved your poetry, and I’m quite sure I will love your writing too. Love this write, its interesting and factual and entertaining. Thats what writing is all about. How wonderful to have already found someone who is interested in your work . That in itself, shows the ‘Charisma’ I know you to have (remember the poem ‘Charismatic’?) LOLLLLLL Your star shines bright Jarod. Can’t wait to see your books in print.

  4. jsascribes says:

    Thank you all for reading. Joe ~ stay beautiful. Linda ~ Thank you. Mimi ~ Thank you… I am honored to call you friend as well. Frankie ~ Yes, I remember that poem. It is a beautiful one and I am flattered. Thank you.

  5. Crista Baker says:

    Jared I find it fascinating that you are writing, and finding your path in life…. I would love to read any and all you have written. I am, and have always been an avid reader (books and poetry) of any thing I get my hands on. I have very much enjoyed the poetry you have posted on your facebook page, and am impressed with your talent!! I also read a short story there, and was intrigued. Keep following your dream!! I wish you the very best! You deserve it. I look forward to reading more of your work, and am sure that your future holds all you have been searching for!!

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