Welcome to the dream?

kitchen writing cornerIf the world gave you exactly what you’ve always wanted, a chance, would you have the balls to follow through? Last Wednesday, after seven magical years rolling paper (don’t ask) in Calgary’s oil & gas downtown mecca, I was ‘temporarily’ laid off. Stress, panic, pain… the energy in this city is darkening. One minute I was bragging to my mother cross-country about my cozy office morning spent plucking my eyebrows and youtubing The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills – did I mention it’s been slow? Verbatim quote: “I can’t believe I’m getting paid for this!” Sometimes irony is visceral. Fast forward three hours and I’m a tear-stained tragedy wandering downtown, albeit with perfectly shaped brows – small comfort when facing one’s last paycheck.

But even then, in the depths of my denial, a bright edged Chinook arched above the agony. Because, dear readers, I have been given a gift of unimaginable grace. I have two months before my company decides my fate, 8 weeks, 60 days to live the life I’ve always lusted for, the life of a novelist.

Twelve years ago, just married and oozing happily ever after from every pore, there were no impossibilities. I was working at Subway, which sucked, but I was writing a novel to get me out. Every page was one day closer to ‘Escaping the Lunch Rush’, and so that’s what I called it. I lived alongside my characters, a group of abducted humans slaves in an alien food court, struggling to get back to Earth. And on my knees in the back room, sweeping the floor between the ankles and inhuman chatter of my Subway bosses, I knew in every cell of my being that I was only chapters away from freedom.

The day I finished that novel was the day I knew my future, but more importantly, it was the day I knew myself. But it didn’t save me from Subway, and it sure as heck didn’t save me from myself! A dozen years later and the world has given me another chance at the impossible. But this time I’m ready. Like an Olympian, I’ve trained my entire body and brain for this one brief, fleeting moment. My current novel is 1/3 done and begging for my undivided attention. Screw statistics and f#ck the naysayers. I want to write. Finally, truly, purely, I want to write! Fairmont Palliser CalgaryBecause that’s all it takes. The want. If every breath is an entire lifetime lived in full, I want as many breaths as possible to flow through my fingers and onto the page. It is my most generous, compassionate gift to self. In this day and age, publication doesn’t matter, doesn’t pay. Two months to write my way out of working is… realistically… ludicrous. But I will still believe. It is the only way to make the story I’m writing real, and because happily ever after is so much more than a childhood fantasy. It is the only dream worth living. And don’t let anyone take it away from you – no matter what.

Join me, dear readers, in the impossible. And today, don’t settle. Don’t pussy out. Steal as many breaths as you can to invest in your own fantasy. Bring every sense on board. Rather than finding a corner in the kitchen, make writing a full body experience by setting the cues of your environment to match your own happily ever after. I sit here typing this in the luxurious breakfast area of downtown Calgary’s Fairmont Palliser Hotel, wearing the full costume of a sophisticated professional. I may have stolen a mini honey jar (and possibly a jam), and paid only 5 bucks for 2 poached eggs, but every breath I take (including smelling the delightfully literal roses!) is an entire system state experience of my most honest, congruent reality. The future doesn’t matter, because for this Monday moment, I am truly, purely, a novelist.

There’s only one problem. I married a golfer…

21 thoughts on “Welcome to the dream?

    • Thank you, my fellow literary (though hopefully not claustrophobic lol) traveler! You reminded me of these two great quotes from William James…

      “Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.”
      ― William James

      “It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.” -William James

      Of course, since his brother Henry was the novelist, William never had to deal with a total rewrite of chapter 11 ~wink

      • Love the quotes 🙂 I am glad my blog reminded you of such great ones 😉 I am toying the idea with starting a novel myself so your blog has left me with a drive to start lol. Loving the place you have chosen to write at, just need to get a laptop so I can do the same 😛

        • Go for it!! And don’t worry too much about a laptop. I do all of my first rough drafts longhand (hence the pink notebook), which you can take anywhere except a rainstorm… or underwater… or possibly a forest fire… but then sparking pages would be the least of your concerns lol

          • Lol very true. Shame about underwater i could always grab ideas from a passing mermaid. :-p My main struggle is to decide on what genre lol one day it is detective, one day fantasy etc. .. too many ideas! Going to make it aim for the end of next month to have started it! Do you have this positive problem 🙂

            • I’m pretty sure I saw a NASA underwater-space-pen in a Lee Valley catalogue once… But anyways, yes, I’ve definitely had the same problem! I think it just comes down to commitment. You can always keep looking, fantasizing, but your fingers better be tapping only one storyline when they come back to their home keys. Mmm metaphors. Why not pick your strongest character or plot idea? Then the genre will take care of itself.

  1. I wondered about the impact of the oil and gas crises in Calgary….news of lay-offs….great way to embrace the writer you are! And simply enter into the life of the writer….white tablecloths, red roses, and new beginnings…..! What a novel approach to an unexpected Monday….

  2. Dear Cymbria,

    Go for the glory!

    I am but with much leisure? as you point out.

    Thaank God for Anne-Louise . If you invest heavily you can gain much but really risk losing little if the relationship prospers going along.

    Do not forget libraries…Universities and the like.

    Great places to feel like you are not working alone…..indeed in Universities they are paying for the privilege.

    Good days….bad days….push and you will write if you must.

    • Totally agree with your line: “If you invest heavily you can gain much but really risk losing little if the relationship prospers going along.” When we have the guts to put our true loves first, a funny thing happens, we begin to love ourselves that much more along the way. Oh – Oprah moment! (hope she doesn’t own the copyright on that quote – I really can’t afford to pay any royalties now that I’m no longer bringing home the bacon)

      Great location advice! I’m definitely going to hit up Calgary University’s library. I’ll have to come up with an appropriate outfit though…. pretty sure I still have my high school kilt floating around somewhere hehee

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