The images above are from my ever-changing array of faces, specifically the last four years of my life. Here’s a little story about who I was, who I’ve become, and who I’d like to be.
In 2009, I had just made the big career change from un-employed tabletop game designer to video-game writer guy. I’m smiling here, because I’ve just got my hair cut, and I had a spiffy new smart phone that could take pictures. The pollen count was low, the bus was coming soon, and I decided to update my fb status with a clever riddle to see if anyone noticed that I wasn’t wearing my glasses.
2009 me was several years and about 30 lbs removed from my dramatic weight loss. I was contemplating a move to a gluten-free lifestyle, and generally enjoying my life. I had a great house, great gal, and a couple of new cats to keep that smile in place. And what’s more, that satchel (strap pictured) contains a fairly thorough outline of my Wandering Novel, as well as a submission manuscript and self-addressed stamped envelope. Life, as they say, was good.
In 2011, life was better. The contract job above had become a well-paying career, and I was leading a team of incredibly smart game-testers in shaping the launch of a what I consider to be a superior MMOPRG.
But things weren’t as good as they could have been. That shirt is part of a tribute to a dear friend of mine, who’s spent most of these same years fighting a battle against his own body. I still wear it, still believe in it, and will never stop imagining a world where this sort of thing does not happen.
The Wandering Novel was off again, joined by a few short stories and a general sense of optimism as to my writing career. I was, after all, a professional writer. I got paid to make stuff up, and whether anybody knew it or not, I was pretty darn good at it. Still had a great gal, a better house, and the cats were all growed up.
Last week, a book I wrote during the last 2-3 inches of that hair found its way into the hands of readers, and folks seem to enjoy reading things with my name on them. Same house, same cats, same gal, but some things had not changed for the better.
My job, for example. I’ve got the same one I had in ’09, more or less, for the same wage. It’s going away soon, but I’m not as worried about it as I once was. It’s been amazing to slip back into a fictional world I’d left behind, and I’ve been expanding my craft as a writer over the last 5 months in ways I never thought I would.
Less money means less travel, and my convention attendances have dropped to two a year. This affects the prospects of the Wandering Novel somewhat, but it’s out on the road again trying to find someone who believes in it as much as I do. There’s several others in various states of completion in my digital shoebox, the handful of short stories mentioned above have tripled in number, and I have a solid belief that at least one of them will hit sometime this year.
Also, my friend has cancer. Again.
But the biggest change in the last four years has been in myself. Every time I think I’ve got a handle on who or what I am, life comes around to show me how wrong I am. I’m a fairly lousy Buddhist (I refer to myself as “practicing” because sooner or later I’ll get it right. Maybe), but letting things go is something I’ve grown quite accustomed to. For example, over the period referenced above I’ve cut caffeine, sodas, artificial sweeteners, and meat out of my diet. Beer I gave up a long time ago, and cigarettes (and other smoky-type things) even longer back down the timeline.
Of course, I’ve gained weight. Not so much as I once had, but I’m carrying around more than I was in ’09 and ’11, though I still fit into the same pants as the latter guy. Luckily, other than allergies I have no serious medical problems related to being me other than the achy joints I’ve had since I was this guy.
I’m certainly not him any longer. For one, he had a head full of bad ideas, but a few good ones as well. Including, I might add, the Wandering Novel. Also in his favor, he didn’t smoke, drink, or eat meat, and while he didn’t have a house, cats, girl or job, he had something that is impossible to measure on a scale, and very easy to lose track of at times.
He was happy. All the time.
So the real me is somewhere in-between these pictures of late Spring. I’m not fond of labels, and although I’ve written nearly a thousand words describing who I’m not, after a long, long period of discovery am almost certain I’m ready to discover who I might be.
It starts something like this
And ends some number of two years’ times from now.
See you there.