This is the part where I look like an asshole.
That novel? Didn't happen. Not over Thanksgiving, not in 30 days, not not not. I don't see it happening in the near future, either, and not because it's hard to see what's coming down the pike through all this egg on my face.
I had a long talk about the novel during my last Seattle trip with my Hillbilly-Jewish Cousin. We talked about fear (did I have any around writing this book) and love (did I love the idea of writing this book).
I'm not afraid of writing a book, and I'm certainly not afraid about being upfront with the gnarly details of living with Crohn's disease. I love the idea of a book that potentially adds to the greater good (and is hilarious) rather than a book (even if it is hilarious) that adds to the coffers of me and some publishing house and, down the road, if we're lucky, and the stars align, a movie studio.
Not that I have anything against money! (More, much, much more, on that later this month.) Money is awesome! It lets you do stuff. It gives you choices. At its best, it's magical, time-shifted energy: an ingenious, asynchronous exchange of me for you. And you know what? After many years of misanthropy and almost as many of self-loathing, I really like both of us: we're awesome, just like money! In fact, we are money, as the man said when he was still young, slim and unafflicted by the burden of too much energy-as-money and no good way to channel it into something meaningful.
But love? Ah. Love is a different story.
I have love in my heart for this fictional girl and her story, and for all real girls still in the process of writing their own real stories. Last week, I spent some more time with a group of women who totally get that: Keren Taylor and the amazing volunteers and mentors at WriteGirl, who work with girls from at-risk situations and turn them into fire-breathing powerhouses of take-no-prisoners fabulosity.
Well, actually, they use writing as a way to help the girls strengthen their voices and understand what it's like to feel empowered, as well as doing tangible stuff like getting them into print and into college. If you're looking for a great place to dump some of your extra time or money, you could do a lot worse than forking it over to Keren and WriteGirl. More on that and other great places to rid yourself of that pesky extra money (Vince Vaughan, are you listening?) later this month, as well.
What the hell was I doing, then, in this month off from writing publicly? A whole lot of thinking. And hashing out. And bouncing stuff off of various trusted resources. I laid out my fears and hopes and baby dreams, my ideas and tentative to-do list, my wildly burdensome sackful of unfulfilled obligations and bad karmic debts.
Here's what I found: I am only interested in what I am interested in. And I cannot be interested in spending one second of the 40-some-odd years I have left (if I'm lucky) doing something that compromises my own voice.
I get that for as many champions as I had at the publishing house for those first few sample chapters filled with poop and laughs, I had an equal amount of detractors, and I get why: it was filled with at least as much poop as it was laughs, and that is starkly terrifying for some people. The truth, and certainly my truth (which, in fairness to me, is what I'd been asked to share), but no less terrifying for being so.
It is scary to sign on for the truth; it can be imprudent. Risk is always, um, risky. That's why it's called "risk," right? Risk can seem especially risky in uncertain economic times. Unfortunately, there is no real living without risk. No growth, no change and certainly, no love.
So for now, I am going to be That Asshole who is not following up on the incredibly unusual, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to float a novel out there at the request of an Actual Publisher. I have a plan, though, for a lot of other cool, growth-oriented, change-promoting, fabulosity-increasing stuff. A BIG plan, which will start to unfold in posts on this very site over the course of December and through the next year.
- I'm going to start sharing more excellent resources here, like I do in my beloved (by me and a growing number of readers) newsletters.
- I'm going to lighten the fuck up a little, like I used to do, because sweet baby jesus on a bouncing kangaroo, if ever we needed more lightness, we need it now.
- I'm going to post more plain, old useful tutorials here, about communications tools and how to feel the opposite of useless and maybe even ways of attracting a little more plain, old-fashioned love into your life. Because the more of us who are making meaningful contact and changing the world with our unique gifts and yes, goddammit, getting laid, the better off we're going to be.
I'm also going to be dramatically shifting the direction of my work-for-hire life. And making it public, and maybe even soliciting your help in getting the word out. Because (say it with me) MONEY IS AWESOME! and while my now almost-year-long almost-sabbatical has been awesome in its own way, it's time to get down with the facts that: (a) I can't do everything for free forever; and (b) if I can support myself in a modest way that also allows for the flexibility of a great deal more travel, I can get out there in the real world like I did in October and November, and meet more of you in person, Southwest be damned!
In the meantime, since you're a loyal reader of the blog (or one of the few lost souls who has found his way here looking for something of an entirely different nature, and so you know, that last link is 100% not safe for work), I'm going to share with you a work-in-progress preview of my formal "Hire Colleen!" page:
Colleen's Super-Secret, Hire-the-Communicatrix Page
I will still be available for design work in 2009, but only for a select few projects and only after we've gone through an initial consulting thingamajiggy. I'm a fair-to-middling designer, good, even, when inspired. Thing is, I've been inspired less and less to use my design skills and more and more to do what I truly love: to help provide marketing focus to overwhelmed, go-getting, world-changing rockstars, particularly by showing you how to manage the increasingly complex (but brilliantly cheap and flexible) social media space.
Again, as with so much of this, more on that later. But really, for the first time in well over a year, I'm really clear on what I want to be doing, and thus really, REALLY excited about doing it.
With a vengeance.
With bells on.
With all the excitement and fervor and, let's face it, sense of urgency that starting a major phase of work life at age 47 entails.
I thank you for the amazing support I've received so far. I hope to take it less for granted moving forward, and to do more stuff that is more fun and more useful for you and the rest of the world (a.k.a. those people who don't know about us yet).
Finally, if you have any thoughts, ideas or questions, tutorials you'd like me to write, issues you'd like me to address, please do leave them in the comments, or if they're of a very personal nature, you can email them to me via the gmail.
I cannot WAIT for all of this to start. And fortunately, I don't have to. Because it just did...
Image by Carolyn Coles via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.