I am Jack’s un-read blog.
I needed a day of skepticism. A day of total cynicism. I needed a down day. Well actually, what I needed was an up day, a day of total success and accomplishment and reward. But those things have been slow in coming. But that hasn’t deterred me from my goal. My life in reboot…
Each day I rise, grab my cup of coffee and sit down at my desk to accomplish my goals. I begin with something cheerful and motivational. A little pep-talk I give myself each day to stay on track. It helps, more than you know.
But since I began writing full time, less than a year ago, I have experienced some really down days. I’ve sought opportunity that simply wasn’t there. Some opportunities that still aren’t there. Maybe brutally honest posts like this one aren’t the best way to be achieve my goals, but what can I say? I am who I am.
I’m an independent writer. That means I’m a writer, an editor, a graphic designer, a publisher and publicist. The list goes on. I’m not a New York Times bestseller…yet.
Being a writer means more than just sitting at my desk every day and writing what I want to write. It means taking odd jobs here and there to earn a living. In this economy, that isn’t easy. And with thousands of other would be writers out there, the market isn’t exactly starved for little old me.
I thought about this the other day, and felt my string of passionately happy days had come to an end. I don’t mind saying that I was in a bit of a funk. A sit on the couch and watch movies all day funk. I don’t wear robes, but if I had one I probably would have worn it. All day. Like Michael Keaton in Mr. Mom…complete with beard and dirty t-shirt. A day of cynicism and skepticism.
Okay, if I’m being honest it was a day of self pity and complete lack of productivity. But I kept telling myself with each new show I watched or movie I caught ten minutes late as a result of my habitual channel changing (I am a guy, remember), this day was mine for the wasting. I had hustled and worked and spent countless hours in the chair pursuing my dream. I was owed one day of badittude….
So early evening rolled around and I was still glued to the couch like I had slipped into a Krazy Glue infomercial, and to my surprise I stumbled upon a personal favorite movie – Fight Club. I would say this little moment of glee was completely pure, but I don’t have commercial free movie channels so my joy at watching a sometimes filthy R-rated movie was relegated to having to be satisfied with illogical cuts in programming. Never one to be defeated, I instead popped the dvd in and watched the unadulterated version.
I am Jack’s worst kept secret.
Every guy knows that Brad Pitt has, like, three great movies. Snatch, SE7EN and Fight Club. I know, I know, he’s a billionaire movie star with some of the biggest movies ever to his credit. I get it. But seriously, not for guys. For guys, an incredibly talented and handsome actor only has a few good roles to his credit. The rest are for the girls. Sure, his other movies are entertaining but we’re talking quality roles. I digress. Fight Club is a movie guys will shamelessly admit to being a favorite. Legends of the Fall? Not so much. Understand my point? Good.
So I’m watching Fight Club, the seminal voice of a generation locked in cynicism and a world that changes with each tweet. The voice. A work of art that is both repulsive and utterly essential to our understanding of the culture we have created. It is not the feel good movie of the year. It is designed to yank us from our subconscious insomnia that plagues our drive to seek meaning in our lives.
Or something like that. I’ll admit, sometimes the thought of being punched in the face sounds good if for no other reason than to shake things up a bit. Please do not take this as an invitation to punch me in the face. It hurts. This post is hypothetical.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. The inner workings of a film created to disrupt the social tide. A revolutionary idea that in itself, is not that revolutionary.
I am Jack’s epiphany.
The underlying theme of the movie is change. Which was a little ironic for me at the time as I had literally been sitting in the same position for hours. My day of cynicism. But the movie is about doing things differently to get different results. Sure, it takes things to an extreme. Sure it’s entertaining, but it never occurred to me that getting punched in the face was the answer. I repeat, please don’t punch me in the face. Thank you.
I sat up about a third of the way through the movie and realized I was having a moment. I had been numb all day. Apathetic to what was happening around me in the world. Lazy, unapologetic. I had felt I was owed one day for nothing. I was living the dream, baby. Three dirty plates stacked next to an empty cup littered with used napkins. Living the dream!
A third of the way through the movie I realized it was talking to me. I wasn’t simply watching, listlessly engaged in subjective entertainment for the purpose of being entertained. I was learning. I was seeing new thought and creativity emerge. I was feeling guilty about my day of waste. I was connected to the material.
Not all of us create an alternate reality to deal with a life we aren’t satisfied with. Not all of us mentally project Brad Pitt back to ourselves. But we all have the ability to change our reality. We have the tools we need to evaluate our priorities. To create our goals and do what is necessary to achieve them.
“This is your life. And it’s ending one minute a time.”
The ultimate message of clarity. This is my life. Each moment is precious. Why am I sitting on the couch? I have choices in my life that I am responsible for, that I alone must make. Forget about the informercials, the advertisements. The messages I hear and see and read. This is my life.
I am Jack’s ambition.
Everyone knows the first rule of Fight Club. Heck, everyone knows the second rule of Fight Club. Does the lay-person know there are eight rules? For me, the most important rule of Fight Club is the last rule.
Rule #8. If this is your first night at Fight Club – You have to fight.
The most important rule. Engagement. Participation. Every night is my first night at Fight Club. This is my life, and it’s ending one minute at a time. This rule forces me to be a part of it. I have to take control. The end result is mine and mine alone. The metaphor is that sometimes I’ll take one on the chin (Metaphors, people, metaphors. Please don’t punch me.) The metaphor is that sometimes I’ll punch life on the chin. The rule is I have to fight.
Needless to say I didn’t spend another moment on the couch. This is my life, and it’s ending one minute at a time. I had to do something. I had to act. I had to get back in the chair. Seek opportunity that may not be there.
I am Jack’s motivation.
We all have down days. I have down days. But that hasn’t deterred me from achieving my goal. In fact, it’s the motivation I need. The down days are a reminder that my time will come. The opportunities are still out there, I just haven’t found them yet. The down days are a reminder that contentment can sometimes be dangerous. The down days feed the hunger for change.
Sure, there are other choices. But I choose to be happy. That means achieving my goals. Because this is my life, and it’s ending one minute at a time. Rule number seven tells me that fights will last as long as they have to. I’ll be pursuing my dream as long as I have to.
Because rule number eight tells me I have to fight…
10 thoughts on “If This is Your First Night at Fight Club…”
In the immortal words of a dear friend … would you like some cheese with that whine? Just a little humor; good for the soul, you know. I truly hope your down days are farther and farther apart until they become non-existent.
You’re not the first person in my life to have ever asked me that question…ha ha ha! Actually, my down days are really quite rare. But when I have them…I HAVE THEM. I’m finding more and more, though, that even in those moments I’m thinking about ways to get out of them. I’m thinking about ways to be positive and push through to being where I need to be…
I really loved this blog, particularly since is so beautifully explains, in my opinion, part of the creative process. We cannot spend our entire existence being up and being happy and prolifically creating. it’s during these “down” times where we learn our lessons and recharge. I felt down last week, too. I couldn’t get a single line of music learned. I felt..well…kind of …”meh”. I know it’s not a word, but heck I making it one for now. My response was more physical, run until exhaustion took me then seriously pumped some iron. Not exactly Fight Club, but it certainly got rid of some of the “meh”. Embrace those down times. They are OK. It’s all about being human…and…what goes down must eventually come up again. : ) (Sorry I couldn’t help myself.) Take good care, Greg. I know you’ll get to where you want to be. You have the talent, the people skills and the determination. Always a pleasure reading your writing. T
As always, thanks for your kind words and support! You’ve touched on a really good point about being physical and how it helps you mentally. That is why a fundamental philosophy of mine is exercise. It truly helps provide balance. For me, instead of running, I have a training hike that I like to go on and flush out all of the mental “meh”. I’m just a little lazy in the summer when the weather is so hot. During most of fall, winter and spring, I can go for this hike. I’m usually gone about an hour. The trail is just over a mile long, and it climbs over a thousand feet in that mile. It’s almost like walking up steps. It can be pretty brutal. My goal is to go up as fast as I can. It really gets the blood pumping. The entire time I’m gone, all I can think about is pushing myself to that next step. Nothing else. My body is too occupied with getting enough oxygen to supply my muscles. The way down isn’t much different. By the time I get home, I’m feeling re-energized and ready to take on the world! It clears my mental state. Surfing does that for me, too.
I know when I’m down I should move around and be physical. Like the saying goes “A body in motion stays in motion, but a body at rest stays at rest”. It is so true. And I’d say that 99% of the time I adhere to that. When I don’t, I’m sitting on the couch watching movies. 🙂
Thanks again for your comments! You take care, too…
Your time will come because you’re not going to stop until it does come! Sure, there’s going to be the occasional down day, I think that’s just part of being human, but I can’t see you ever being one to wallow in those down days….a down day is not likely to become a down week, down month, etc., and that’s the difference between someone who is going to achieve his goals and someone who probably won’t. You are making a difference in people’s lives every single day, some of those I’m sure you know about, some you probably don’t, but what you put out there is working for people, and eventually, your work is going to fall into the hands of someone who has the power to put you on the true path to becoming that NY Times best-selling author and achieving financial success!
Thank you!! I guess my day of self-pity washed over onto my website. I was struggling yesterday to write something meaningful here, because I felt like I hadn’t done it in a while. I felt like I had been writing anything really personal, and I thought it was time. In re-reading it, I don’t know that I would have written it the same way today as I did yesterday.
Among many things, writing for me is therapeutic. I’ve found that when I am struggling creatively, the best thing to do is write. It’s a funny concept really, but it works. And I wasn’t really struggling that much yesterday. I wrote quite a bit for other projects that I’m working on (INCLUDING the next Virgil Ryan adventure!) As I had mentioned to another commenter, I don’t really have these “down days”. The are quite rare for me. But when I have them, I have them big. They start out pretty pathetic, and then about half-way through I realize I should be doing something else. Yin and Yang. 🙂
Thanks for your friendship!
WOW!!! Just wow! Very insightful. Very thought provoking. Very mind blowing. Sure caught my attention & in a great way. By gosh, he’s done it again….amazed me. Well done.
You ROCK! 🙂 Thanks Dava. It was a little self serving, in that I needed to write something to flush out some of the negativity and push through the last of my down day. But I’ve found that if I don’t share these kinds of posts then the material on my site isn’t quite what I want it to be. I had this grand design about a website that was perfect and happy and cheerful and all of these things. And I realize that I am all of things too…most of the time. I share because we all experience variations of the same emotions. Those emotions aren’t always perfect and happy and cheerful. I need to share the not so good too. But for me, it’s important that I always end on a high note. I hope that came through in this post.
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment and spend your time being my friend.
What a great post. You and I look differently upon the negatives I think – I have more tolerance for them, but it’s exactly for this reason – I find that I can learn SO MUCH about myself, stuff I don’t learn in any other way, if I will (occasionally, occasionally) allow myself to go there and wallow a bit, and listen without judgement or condemnation. It can lead to the most amazing revelations! I really enjoyed this. You have such a great way of illustrating things.
I thought too, as I was reading, that you’ve come so far already – it seems to me like so far even in the six months we’ve “known” each other – you talk about how to get where you want to be (and I understand that, for sure) but as I watch and listen to you all I can think is, oh, you are soooooooooo getting there. You’re creating the path, brick by brick, every day. It’s exciting, humbling, and inspiring to watch.
Hope you have a fabulous day.
Thanks Jackie!! I actually have come very far. Things ARE moving in the direction I want, I just sometimes struggle with timing. 🙂 Things like being a NY Times bestseller isn’t even on my short list of goals, and I have no illusions it would happen anytime soon anyway. I’m still learning how to be a writer. Part of that process is sharing with my online community and building relationships with wonderful people like you. That process helps me to put things into perspective and serve as a reminder of why I write in the first place. To share with others.
The down days have their place in my life. They have their place in anyone’s life. As I mentioned in the post, I think they are great reminders that our work isn’t finished. They are a sign that it is difficult achieving our goals. The road is hard so that the reward is not taken for granted. I appreciate your friendship and am grateful you are sharing this journey with me.
I hope you have a fabulous day too!