Sometimes, the thing you think you want isn’t really what you need. In other words: “Be careful what you pray for because you might get it.”
Many years ago, I had a reliable, good-looking car that was almost paid for. The car wasn’t good enough for me, though. I HAD to have a finely crafted European car, just like the ones that often raced past me on the highway. Well, I got that high-quality piece of machinery. I immediately drove myself on a self-guided tour, away from Reliable Road, right down to Expensive Expressway. Or was it to Lavish Lane? Whatever. The cost of the trip was the same. I spent the next five years paying out a huge monthly car note with money that should have been going into an IRA.
And then there was that mysterious man. Back in the early ‘90’s I met the most beautiful man I’d ever seen. Never mind I was already seeing a very nice, hardworking man. Well, I HAD to have the tall, smooth-talking, gorgeous one. I got him. As it turned out, what I thought was mystery and intrigue was all smoke and mirrors. Mr. Gorgeous had less than a thimble full of substance and he was lazy in every way imaginable. He was so accustomed to women doing things for him, he would just sit back and expect to be pampered. Well, heck! Back then, I was accustomed to being taken care of too! Needless to say, that relationship cancelled itself out in no time. What happened to hardworking man, you ask? I think you know the answer to that.
Earlier this year, I HAD to go to the same restaurant that President Obama took Michelle to for their anniversary or for her birthday. Anyway, it was said to be the number two restaurant in Washington, DC. I salivated for a week at the mere thought of going to this place. I even went on line a few times to consider the menu so I would know what to order. Well, despite the media hoopla and Zagat rating, I thought it was the worst meal I’d ever eaten. Three words: Ter-ri-ble!
So, what do these “be careful what you wish for” scenarios have to do with writing? Not much really. I was just thinking on the way to work this morning that I’m not sure I trust the things I think I want–. I’ve been wrong so many times throughout the years. I mean, do I really want to be an internationally renowned writer? Do I really want to wake up everyday and exist to write fiction for six or seven hours a day? Do I want to have the freedom to earn a living from wherever I choose without limitations? Do I want to be in high demand for literary speaking engagements, book promotions and television appearances? Do I want my story telling abilities to be talked about with the same levels of respect as critics have with Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, and Ernest Hemingway? Do I want to forsake my anonymity when I go to routine places like the grocery store or to the Mall? Do I want the pressure of having to make my next book exceed the expectations of its preceding best seller?
Uh, yeah!! I HAVE to.