Passed, Future’s Past

In a certain unexpected irony, I’m going to write about the past-tense daily prompt about past-tense thoughts of the future-tense…  I’m not really sure if that’s irony really, or just a little bit silly.

Regardless.

The question posted was “As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How close or far are you from that vision?” Which is a great question because most of us had some grand scheme, at 8 years old, of what we wanted to be when we were a grown up… like 20 years old! It’s amusing when I look back on my youth and how incredibly short sighted I was (and still am on some level.)  I never saw myself as a grandpa let alone a father.  I never thought of myself as a career man let alone a manager.

When I was but a wee lad, I remember fondly that one of class assignments was the very subject I’m writing on now, but I was a kid.  I never thought I’d make it past 25.  Now I’m 30 and I still don’t know what the hell I want to be when I grow up.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Go back to public school, little Zacharay Edwards is sitting there in class, glasses so big they practically rested on the top of his cheeks more so than his nose.  Everyone was off talking and socializing about their great plan on how they were gonna become a go-kart racer, or a veterinarian, or a doctor, teacher.  All these great careers that we saw our elders with and were taught that everything was cool if you knew someone who had that career.  You never thought about what your parents were complaining about at the table about how Jenny “doesn’t do anything but complain” and your mom ends up picking up all the slack and “oh my god could you believe that Frank just took stress leave?  What stress he doesn’t do anything!”

These are the things we’re never taught about in school.  There’s no Real World 101 (Which, I personally think, the world would be a better place if there was such a course.) But, man, there’s plenty of tests to tell you what you should think or what you should do.  I went through a battery of them as being one of the first of what I like to call the ‘Ritalin Generations” where if you didn’t fit in you were medicated until no one noticed that you didn’t fit in anymore… I say that but then I look back on how disjointed and off topic this entry is and think “Maybe, just maybe, on some fractured level, they might have been onto something”

So what was I thinking in class? (See, I told you, you’d get used to this)

I was the only kid thinking “Oh god I don’t know… I just want to… I don’t know” I had no clue, I was 8.  I never thought about this.  I didn’t have anyone in my life who was particularly inspiring to me other than my big brother, and he was the definition of Gen X.  Man I looked up to him like he was the coolest kid I ever met, I was so lucky to have this bad-ass as my brother.  He never laughed when everyone else did, but he still managed to make everyone else laugh.  He never wanted to do anything that the man told him to do.  He was always against the grain and living free.  “Just let it ride” he’d always say to me.   But to have your inspiration be in someone who’s the polar opposite of you leads to a little bit of… internal chaos.  I constantly tried to live up to my brothers ‘whatever’ attitude and that wasn’t me.  My brother was never picked on like I was because he was too cool to be picked on.

When he was 16 he decided to move out and go live with friends.  The months prior to his departure were laden with vials of oil, strange girls and reckless behavior.  Nothing I understood then at 12 but the one thing I did understand was that he was still so cool.  I didn’t know what drugs were, what parties he went to or anything like that.  I just knew that he was what inspired me to let it ride.   Shortly after he moved out he got a job at a chain-restaurant and later told me that the job ‘saved his life’ the boss there took him under his wing and really looked out for him, got him off the street and kept him busy with working in a kitchen.

So COOL! I thought, as a kid.

Shipped off to highschool when my single father decided it was my single mother’s turn to raise me (A damn smart choice on his part, despite what I thought then.) At this point I lost contact with my brother.  I knew he was the wild child and on a downhill spiral of the debauchery that came with Kitchen work in the early 90’s but I knew nothing more than that.  Keep in mind this is before everyone had an e-mail let alone facebook.  Every now and then I tried cooking, I couldn’t scramble eggs and I had a temper that would make a 2 year-old look calm.

Only when I was a 19 y/o college drop out did I get a job to get my ‘foot in the door’ as a dishwasher at a casino restaurant with hopes of moving up into one of those jobs where people dish out jack-pots and get $1000 tips.  A year later one of the cooks called in and they needed a prep guy so I was the most capable dishwasher and they moved me up.

So lets wrap this all together in the beautiful way that an eerily coincidental universe could.

What did I want to be when I grew up?  My Brother.

What do I do now? After that faithful day I was moved into kitchen prep I spent the next 10 years honing my skills to become someone who manages a kitchen, where I eventually hired my brother so we could work together to create, inspire, and feed the future.

 

Thank you for reading,

-Zed

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/futures-past/

The Catch

Now here’s the catch about the concept of Just Write;  It’s not that easy.

If it was that easy to ‘just’ create art, art would have no value.  The reason art is inspiring and the reason we’re driven to create is because creating isn’t easy.  What’s the point in achieving if achieving is easy?  Anyone can do it so what makes you so special?  Now that’s the question I want to ask myself.  When it comes to writing, what makes me so special?  What do I have to offer to you, the reader, that you haven’t already read before?  Granted I don’t expect to blow minds with my first entry or even my first years worth of entries.  If I was going into the game with that kind of mentality then I’d already be doomed to failure by detriment of my peers.   So what white river rapids do I have churning in my mind that could become the waterfall of thoughts down to my finger tips and into the proverbial flowing river of this blog?

Who knows.  Me?

Hell if I know and I’m the guy writing it all.  That’s the joy of art.  You never know what it could become.

Before I wrote this, I wrote an entry about writers block, got a page worth of length out of it and decided it sounded forced and contrived and not at all what I wanted my identity to be portrayed as so I deleted it and went to make dinner.  Halfway through making dinner I had to put it all on hold to run to the computer and bang out this abstract melody of my thought process.  By the way, who else hates plastic wrap?

Anyway. (Bear with me, you’ll get used to that)

If passion is what drives an artist then that will by far be my biggest hurdle to leap.  Although I have passion for the idea of writing, I rarely have passion of a solid idea, and if I do, I play it out for so long without actually putting anything down on paper, that when I go to put something down on paper, the characters and plot seems… immature.    Like little Zach’s first short story written in grade 5.  That doesn’t mean it’s without merit, I just find myself to be my biggest critic.  Even when others may appreciate, agree, and even understand what I write about, I still manage to make myself feel like the victim of my own unforgiving thought process.

I’ve always believed that with dedication, anything can be achieved.  But it’s my peers who define what is great.  I can be proud of my own work, I can even love it and I have written several things that I have loved and as the cliche goes, they were eventually lost to the annals of history.  Work I did in school that mysteriously disappeared after I graduated.  What would I be if not a kid who found no use in school work after my senior year.

To get back to the passion that I once had in regards to writing, I have to appreciate not ‘just’ writing.

I have to appreciate that I can write something worth reading.

 

Thank you,

-Zed

What’s in a name?

It’s no secret that it’s been said through out the years “practice makes perfect”  and while that’s all well and good, the majority of us suffer from a great rift between our desire to achieve and our desire to practice.  That’s where WordPress comes in.

I’ve tried several times to practice and make perfect of several hobbies that could, at length, be defined as ‘one night stands’ (Learn Piano, wood working, learn guitar… the list goes on.)  Where I believe the error of my ways is, is that I over complicate and exaggerate what it could become rather than what I want it to be.

I want to play the piano like my father.  Not impossible but the man’s been playing piano for 30 years.  That’s pretty daunting to a big picture kinda guy like myself.

Now where it’s easiest to be overwhelmed is when you compare yourself to others and get lost in the identity that they’ve created over the years.  We, the creators, probably grew up watching someone else create something beautiful and that impassioned us to want to take up the pen, the keys, strings, knife, and create something that does their work justice.   Why not? It’s a chain that’s been going back since the beginning of our time on this planet.  I was inspired by the novels I read through high school, and the people who wrote those novels were inspired by the people they read when they were young, passionate and impressionable.  So we try on the shoes of our forefathers and, unsurprisingly, they’re too big for us when we’re budding artists.  To grow into them takes time, takes effort, and a hell of a lot of co-ordination while you stumble about wearing shoes 5 sizes to big.  The natural thing to do at this point is to step back, try on something a bit more suiting to your development and just keep walking.

Or in my case, Just Write.

I’ve played around with themes, subjects, and mediums but what it all boils down to is practice makes perfect.  If I want to write a novel, it doesn’t matter what I write now.  I’m not going to write a novel on my first go.  I’m not going to write a best seller on my first go.  The characters I think of, the premise, the settings, all things that come and go like rain and the wind.  What I need to do for my level of development is commit to writing.  Plain and simple.

Whether I take inspiration from my day at work, the lovely old lady I met in the elevator, or The Daily Post, I’m just here to write.  And continue writing.  There may be stories, there may be rants, I may even review a movie or two as long as I just write.

If you make it that easy, it’s impossible to fail.

-Zed