Sunday, March 29, 2009

Welcome to the Big Top! (Please watch out for elephant droppings)

Posted by: Jessa Slade
Currently working on: Copy edits for SEDUCED BY SHADOWS
Mood: Bemused (Who wrote this?)

Balance. Did you know that the human body is not perfectly symmetrical? Even our faces are a little different from one side to the other.

What does this have to do with balance? It means, I think, that you can fuhgeddaboudit.

Sure, there'll be moments when I have it all together, when the planets are in perfect alignment, along with the spinning plates, plus the flaming torch, the bowling ball and the chainsaw. It's a circus life where I get to do all three rings myself: Walk the tightrope, stick my head in the lion's mouth, and go round and round in the clown car.
But, honestly, what fun is a circus where the high wire is on the ground, the lion is an overfed tabby cat, and the safety is on the chainsaw? Boooring.

What so wrong with obsession?
Okay, I might be playing a bit of devil's advocate here at the end of the month. But do you really think you can have it all? Do you need it all? Do you even want it all? Maybe now is the time to set "it all" on fire* with that flaming torch you've been juggling, watch "it all" burn. Out of the slag, you find a freakin' lot of ashes**, true. And also -- just maybe -- purified gold.***
Here's what I've given up to write:
  • TV (except for Dollhouse, but hey, it's Joss Whedon, which is practically research)
  • A 'Real Simple' magazine house (heh, like that was ever an option)
  • Entire weekends of nothing but reading (yeah, this one hurts)
  • Non-writing friends
  • An honest career with financial security (sorry, Mom and Dad!)

I'm not saying everybody has to make these choices, but you'll have to make some. Don't kid yourself; the time to write is carved bloodily from the tender flesh of your life. And yeah, that's gonna leave marks.

But it's not all sacrifice. I've gained a lot too:
  • Great writing friends
  • A deeper understanding of who I am (yeah, this one hurts)
  • A book deal!!! (er, financial security still not included -- sorry, Mom and Dad!)

Do you want it or not?

If not, that's fine. I'd love to play piano, but I just don't want it bad enough to -- you know -- practice. I'd love to be a vegetarian, but then there's bacon. Writing, though... That I want, and I choose it again every time I sit down in front of the computer and put my hands on the keyboard.

I'm probably biased, but I believe it's fine to be a circus freak.

*Metaphorically, speaking, of course.
**Surgeon General's warning: The lead-based paint holding together old patterns may be hazardous to your health.
***Life-altering decisions should be made for entertainment only, not investment purposes.

4 comments:

therese said...

Awesome truths.
The day job is so much easier, but financial security is an oxymoron.

Go with what makes the heart sing.

Genene Valleau said...

LOL, Jessa!

As always, I enjoyed the truth of your post interwoven with wonderful humor. And what a great graphic!

Thanks for the moments of entertainment and thought-provoking philosophy!

Jessa Slade said...

Therese, my heart sings "Send in the Clowns." Genene, according to the laws of YouTube, it's always funnier when someone else is on fire.

Susan Lute said...

LOL! Why is that? There's a part of me that is real sympathetic when someone else's fire flares. Then there's the teeniest part of me, that I *hope* no one else sees that says, thank god it's not me. And two seconds later...it is!