I am 27 years old and I have done nothing with my life. This is not me being humble or over exaggerating. Despite all of my plans to be a great writer, comedian or filmmaker I have made 0 strides in any of these endeavors and instead have worked the same mindless job waiting tables for the past 5 years. It’s enough money to get by and pay rent but not for much else. I am considering giving up on my impossible and unprofitable creative pursuits to get an MBA, sell my soul to the man and at least make decent money if I can’t make art. But I feel like I am giving up on my identity or conception of myself. What should I do?
A potential suit
Response: [Adviser Logged on drinkingw/Bukowski]
Dear Potential Suit,
Can’t you see
You massive asshole
that creating, writing, thinking,
are all ACTIONS and not adjectives?
Are you a writer or a waiter?
How many hours a week do you spend
waiting tables? and writing?
I fucking thought so.
The way I see it you only have two options, which really lead you to the same path. Business school is not one of those options. Throw that stupid idea out of your head immediately. Do you wanna be like those guys? Just as miserable but with a flat screen TV in every room? Of course not. If you want to give up at least do it with style.
Option 1: Write. Writing is your life now. The thing you do for a paycheck does not matter. It is somewhere you have to spend your time every week and it is nothing more. Your real works starts the minute you get home, you open a fresh bottle of whiskey and sit down at your typewriter. This is now the bulk of your life. For better or worse it is you, the typewriter and your little room day after day and night after night. This is how I’ve lived my life and it didn’t pay off worth a damn until I was already an old man. I didn’t expect it to. Writing is a compulsion. It is something we must do despite ourselves. If this isn’t the way you feel about it there is always option 2.
Option 2: Realize you will never amount to anything. it’s less than 1% of the population that gets to be a writer, a rockstar, rich and famous. Any of the things you secretly want to be under the guise of a “creative career”.
In fact, you probably won’t get close to being any of them no matter how long and hard you work at it. So the option then becomes; what kind of life do you settle for? The coward’s option is business school, law school, healthcare. Something dependable and well-paid to slowly rot your heart out year-by-year.
My option and my advice to you is to choose madness. You’re never going to be happy so you may as well be interesting. Live life as foolishly, haphazardly and dangerously as you possibly can. drink, gamble, fuck, fight. Anything you can think of that is visceral and real. Don’t live by the phony bullshit you see on television commercials. Don’t buy into anything. Live every moment as you feel it should be lived. Fuck the consequences. Like your life is so great now, staying out of trouble.
I told you both of these options lead to the same path and I was right. Option 2 is just the long way back to option 1. Once you have lived a life full of madness you will never not have things to write about. But at that point it won’t matter whether or not you ever “become a writer” because you already are one. Which is more than you can say now.