Monday, March 24, 2008

"Me or the band"; What if...?

At some point in her life, pretty much every girl I know has said or will say a variation on those words, "It's me or the band." Or the book, or the movie, or the painting or whatever. And maybe I'm being genderist here, but I haven't heard too many stories of men saying the same thing. It must have happened. But you ask any girl and I bet at some point they've been dating some guy, and gave him an ultimatum.

Why would someone do that?

In my writing, if I'm stuck, I often try to puzzle out what a character wants, and what they need. Because the interface between the two is the single driving conflict in their story. It makes great fiction, and I think it often is borne out in RL. (Real life to those who don't speak chat room lingo).

Me or the band.

Why don't I own a house by this point in my life?

Will you get a real job when we have kids?

Why do some people make sacrifices to pursue a creative career? How much sacrifice is worth it? Why do some people make sacrifice after sacrifice and then suddenly stop?

Life is all about choices - and often that means going without one thing to get another. We have to sacrifice something to gain something else. How do we make that choice? What are we looking form, each of us, as an individual?

I don't have the answers. I can barely wrap my head around the questions. But I can tell you this - most of the people you consider to be the biggest successes in the world were simply the only ones left when opportunity presented itself. They sacrificed everything that most people cling to... money, family, friends, security, relationships... in order to get to where they are now. Some of us, perhaps, are called on to make more sacrifices to build our success. But I assure you, everyone has given up something in their life.

But let me ask you this. When someone makes you that kind of ultimatum, me or the band, what are they giving up? What sacrifices are they making?

One more thing. Not everyone who gives up everything to follow their dream is a success. Some times people lie to themselves about the things they're willing to go without. Needs versus wants.

Sometimes I wonder what I would do if the worst would to happen. Like, what if I was stuck on a desert island? Well... would I have something to write with? What if I was wrongfully convicted of a crime, and jailed for the rest of my life? Hey, lots of time to write! What if I was in a horrible car wreck and stuck in the hospital? I could write in bed! Just crank me up to sitting position and away I go! I often think that I could endure just about anything as long as I had something to write with. And if I couldn't? Well... I would probably just tell stories to myself.

Of course, I'd love to be in band, too. Just wait until you see my rocker stage stance. It's about being pelvis forward. Which, at the end of the day, is a good motto for life, too.

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