When I grow up

Wait . . . Dad?


When you write a book, do you get it for free or do you have to buy it?

I'm sure you get it for free.

So you can just walk into the store and take it?

No, you have to pay for the books at the store, but you receive some free copies from the publisher.

Oh. Wait . . . Dad?

Uh Huh?

I'm glad you're an author now so I can ask you questions while you're at work.

Fair enough.

He called me an author.

Which, cool and all, but I'm not really ready to call myself that yet. I mean, in the more specific sense of the word. Generally an author is anyone who created or gave existence to anything (Thank Wikipedia for that definition) So we can all be described, broadly, as authors. Even if we are just the authors of our shopping lists.

Which, you know, I mean, I put a lot of thought into my shopping lists. Grouping like items together, organizing by aisle, limiting items to fit a budget, and keeping a certain open flexibility in case there is a sale on peanut butter or taco shells.

There is a craft in writing shopping lists, so I'm not knocking them as bereft of artistic merit, they just don't usually make the anthology after a writer dies.

And if it's not in the anthology, then it never happened.

On a side note, the second volume of Mark Twain's Autobiography is out in stores now and I suggest you borrow my copy of volume one before you go running over to Costco for the set. I got about 300 hundred page into it and had to stop.

It was very good, but Twain bounced back and forth through stories with such rapidity that every time I got up to make myself a sandwich I would forget which millennium we were in.

And the print was very, very, tiny.

I will not return to it until I am a very old man and there is little else I can accomplish.

Think Christmas 2058.

And while we're on the subject of old men, I am suddenly, quite suddenly, very unsure of what I want to be when I grow up.

If you'd have asked me when I was four, I would have told you Superman.

(Yes, I know, Batman and Spiderman are so much cooler, but this would have been 1981, and you can't tell me that Adam West was a more hard core badass than Christopher Reeve.)

Point is, at four, I wanted to be freakin awesome.

Yet, if you had asked me at eight, I would have told you that I was going to be a writer.

(Same age as my own son now, curiouser and curiouser.)

At twelve, a writer, at fourteen, a writer, at fifteen, a rockstar, at seventeen, an engineer (The physics kind, not the train kind) at twenty, an actor, twenty four, a songwriter, twenty four through thirty five, a coffee and tea expert, and between then and two weeks ago, I would have told you that I would like to be a working class musician.

Not a mind boggling list of trades, or thematic, but one kind of led to the other. There never was an epiphany, just a casual slide. I was doing one thing and then one thing became two things and then the first thing either got boring or didn't pay as much or got put on the shelf alongside my copy of Mark Twain's Biography Volume One.

So two weeks ago, I am working class musician.

Working class musician differs from it's rock star counterpart in that its a little bit of everything and for the most part stays off the radar.

There's no super hit, just pennies from multiple revenue streams.

I'm good with pennies.

Makes my shopping lists more exciting.

I mean, I'm still spending more than I'm making, but I've been at this full time for less than eight weeks, so don't roll your eyes until you talk to me a year from now.

But then I lost a gig (miscommunication between another artist and the agent, not a big deal), and then I went to a music licensing seminar and instead of feeling at home with a bunch of other working class musicians, I felt even more out of place, not being lame enough to join the lepers, and not cool enough to swap dead baby jokes with the taste makers.

I'm not out of fashion, I'm outside of fashion.

And then I receive two emails. One, a rejection notice of one of my songs (Not devastating by any means, but still hurts a little.) And then, a second email notifying me that one of my own articles had made the front page of an online music forum.

Front page one day after I submitted to the open portion of the forum.

I did not Pass Go, but I did collect 200 hits to my website in less than 24 hours.

And then Calvin calls me an author.

Not a singer/songwriter like it says on my business card.

An Author.

And if he called me that to my face, then most likely, that's what he tells his friends, or more importantly, what he tells his friends with pride.

Cause if an eight year old said it, it must be true. And it must be awesome.

This blog page had been visited 13,000 times.

Songs streamed: 19.

I can't wait for the check from Pandora.

And the most telling bit of all, when I began discussing this with my wife, mentioning I might want to consider writing more stuff, her shoulders unknotted and she breathed a sigh of relief as if she had been waiting six weeks for me to come to the same conclusion, which she had obviously come to a lot quicker, but was afraid to mention it.

Which is exactly what she said.


Now I'm not about to go abandoning five years worth of work to start penning mystery novels, and I'm not abandoning my two year financial plan just because YouTube hasn't made me an overnight sensation, but just like a well crafted shopping list, you gotta leave room for the unexpected, whether it's taco shells or a career in wordsmithing.

If you want your life to be an adventure, yes, yes, you have to hack into the jungle with the recklessness befitting a mad man. It's the only way. The ONLY way.

But you gotta follow the signs when they're presented to you. And you gotta listen to your wife, cause a woman's intuition is a tender mistress but a terrible enemy.

And if you're gonna grow up, and I'm not saying you have to, but if you do,

Grow up to be the man that your boy thinks you are.

Cause that dude is freakin awesome.

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