Can you skip steps in a plan and still consider yourself having followed through with it? Possibly so. I do know though, that as I look back on my many years of life, I see that it's pockmarked by a great many holes; places I never went, conversations that I never had, opportunities I never took advantage of, and things that never transpired. What a joke. At the great age of 20, I look down at my list of conquests and find that Alexander is far ahead. In his day, he made the roads. In mine, I can barely follow the one set out for me. When I was seven I wrote 1 hour radio scripts for a pretend radio show that my brother and I acted out and taped, using my dad's boombox and microphone. Now I burn out after a paragraph posted on a forum. I remember, a few years back, arguing with my brother over who was the main host and who was the co-host back when we used to produce the show. He remembered acting out the show, but he had forgotten all the effort I had put into writing the scripts. To him, the credit for being the host was all there was to it. Pouring over college ruled paper lined with rants about the latest Warner Brothers shows and why they just weren't as funny as they used to be when I was six just was not part of his experience at all. Hearing him take credit for it was intolerable to me, because to this day I remember writing my little heart out. It was all an interlinked experience where I voiced my opinions to the only thing that listens to you when you're that age, your own ego. What really got me was, the only thing that made him relegate himself to the host position in his memories was his age. It had nothing to do with creativity or writing. The imaginary world I sculpted as a child is something that I seem to be the only one to remember. I was in a dark place that day, after finding my childhood to be so very tiny and insignificant to the only other person I shared it with. All that nostalgia would be completely intangible had it not been for our extensive Lego collection and the written copies of the show. God bless legos. They teach you every basic lesson you'll ever need to know about life; break everything down and we're all made of the same stuff, anything can be made with the right pieces and anything can be broken by the right jackass at the wrong time. Hell, who needs a college degree when you are advanced enough to build technic sets.
So these days I just sit around wishing I had the nads to do any real writing. "To get back into the game" or some such. I was never in the game to begin with, though. I can't call myself an author when everything I've ever begun to write in the last 2 years ends three pages later in midsentence because I went to go get something to eat and never came back. Somewhere in the labyrinthine depths of my head, I've been opening doors to ideas and not ever walking in. Now they lurk around the proverbial coffee machine talking about how 'he never did finish writing me either'. Or perhaps it's a jail where they exchange stories about what they did to earn time. Or, more to the point, what I did. Neglect is such a depressingly easy thing to do. You can neglect your house, your car, your friends, your family, and maybe even your pet. But the worst kind of neglect is where you neglect yourself. And my God, how good I am at that. In my case, it started as a hero complex. At the very early age of 8, I began to believe that I was worthless, and the best thing I could ever do to combat that was to make other people's lives better. The obvious egotism in that was not made apparent to me until much later. So I spent my days reading things like "My Catholic Living" for inspiration and being overly subserviant to people who didn't deserve it. I remember becoming something of a servant to a fairly unstable cousin of mine during my hellacious 3 month trip to India. Once while I was putting his shoes on his feet for him, he called me admirable. It was years before I understood what he meant by that. But at the time I only understood that it had something to do with the way my brother's eyes would get this very reddish and strained look when he saw the way I had humbled myself. In my very twisted and self-centered way, I felt I had achieved some sort of victory over my brother and my mother by making them watch me get kicked around and taking it. Now I understand that I was just taking my own frustration and anger at being, as a I percieved myself at the time, worthless out on my family. That whole trip was a mistake, and when I wasn't helping my mom and brother carry 9 suitcases of luggage, I was uncontrollably ill or sleeping 15 hours a day on purpose to escape, mentally, from the vacation. Watching someone milk a cow may be curiously interesting, even if it urinates on your shoes, watching someone make curry starting with a live chicken was intriguing, in a morbid way, and watching someone fall off the motorcycle you're on can really kick in the adrenaline, especially when it's your own mother. It's a good thing that bug that flew into my face wasn't any bigger, or I might have made the motorcycle swerve even more and gotten us all killed. She got off scott free from that one. But I sure as hell didn't, thankfully.
In middle school I began to learn what it meant to have friends. Still, my definition was... somewhat odd. For me, friends were the people who ran on top of lunch tables with you. The people who helped you make enough noise to annoy the entire class. The people who got into the same clubs as you to help you ruin them for everyone else. When your parents forgot to pick you up, you spent that three hours at their house. When your cello playing sucked, they broke out the violin and practiced with you. When just about every teacher was at their breaking point and didn't think they could stand much more, they were the ones who came up with the end-game prank. By early high school, my friends were the people who held the same interests as me. This came in the form of reading addictions and nerdy card games that come with an extra stigma in every package. They were pushy and definitely on the crazy side, but they had my back in every situation. Reading was a very huge form of escapism for me. It was easy to do and even considered respectable by most. For someone like me, who had many years of practice from an early age spending every possible waking moment trying to crawl out of my own life, it was a simple addiction to bear. And it was reading... that inevitably reminded me of how I used to write. Suddenly my english teachers noticed a very dramatic change in the seriousness with which I undertook their assignments. As an AP student, the workload is implicitly tougher, but as an author who remembered himself, the challenge inevitably became an outlet for vindication. Suddenly I could seek absolution for all the days I spent shutting myself in my own head. If I could show the world all those doors that cried out to be opened, if I could throw them wide and march proudly in front of the dreams that walked out, then I could repent for every day I spent trying to forget that I was a living breathing person with a life and responsibilities. But there were so many doors to open, and I was so weary. I didn't have the energy to follow even a single one through, let alone to open more. The creative spark might be there, but it seemed to me that I was damned to be a dillettante.
Despite all this, the doors demanded to be opened. They screamed and wailed within the confines of my brain. Every night as I went to sleep they filled my head with images of literary worlds just waiting to be written down, if only I knew how to define them, to mold them, from the conceptual firmament that is their raw matter. Every morning I woke up to the sound of these concepts moving around within me, like some dark ichor of the imagination. And every night and every morning, I aborted these poor neglected children of mine so that I might try to achieve social normality. But just beyond the portal that lies between reality and imagination, they lurk. Waiting to be born into this world through my unsteady hands. And one day they will take root here and find their place within your minds as surely as they have within mine. For when I write these things into existence, they will come to exist within you and I will have fulfilled my duty. I will have infected you with my ideas. And perhaps then, I will finally be free.