Midnight was sixty minutes away, but the sky was already filled with primary colors and gunshots were already welcoming the birth of a new year. If my life was a movie, this would be the final scene. Budding writer removes blue collar noose on the final day of 2014, on his final day of work, greeted by celebratory fireworks as he exits the loathsome building that was the bane of his 9-to-5 hours. The credits would roll as I tweet, “ F R E E D O M”, with Mozart’s "The Marriage of Figaro" playing lightly in the background—homage to Shawshank Redemption. It took Andy Dufresne 19 years to escape prison, I escaped mine in two. On the outside the building looked like an Olive Garden, on the inside they sold soup, salad, and wine, but if you ask me, my bosses were superintendents, my customers were wardens, my uniform a jumpsuit, my co-workers inmates, and the paycheck the bars that kept us confined.
As I drove away, I thought about Kanye West making three beats a day while working at the Gap. Charles Bukowski writing immortal poetry while slaving at the post office. Kurt Cobain dreaming of record deals while loathing being a janitor. Faces of great artists and their past jobs shuffled through my mind. I wondered how they handled the euphoria of freedom mixed with the anxiety of failure. Is there anything more fulfilling and equally terrifying than trusting your art to be a bridge to greener pastures? A starving artist isn’t just a cute term to use when trying to sell music, this path has left many men homeless, penniless, and forgotten. There are graveyards full of brilliance that never got notarized, and graveyards full of talent who were too afraid to take the risk.
2015 is the beginning of my era as a writer. I’m committed to these words, and the journey that will unfold with this decision. Never will I fill out another job application, never will I succumb to doing a job that doesn’t leave me fulfilled, and never again will I allow the concept of comfort to hinder my creative expression. Last year, my left lung collapsed, a moon man belittled my existence, my job refused to recognize my good work, hospitals visit to friends and family were frequent, I felt like my face was stained by lemons thrown by the universe, and yet all I wanted to do was get the word down. Ever since the day I decided to be a writer, I never knew if I was going to be self-supporting if I was going to be the greatest of all-time, but I knew what I wanted on my tombstone. It wasn’t Olive Garden host, McDonald manager, lawyer, doctor, or president, I want to leave this world a writer, for better or worst. That’s my resolution, for this year and everyone that follows, to live my life as a writer. It’s the only thing I’ve ever done well, the only thing that makes me feel alive.
The last few days have felt surreal like I’m in this dream-state and I’m awaiting the vicious pinch to piss on my parade. If I’m able to use the creative writing born from the imagination of an adult embracing his second childhood and love for hip-hop to keep Hot Pockets in the microwave, Eggos in the toaster, and WiFi in a two bedroom apartment, then there’s very little else I desire. For now, I hope this dream doesn’t end. I have a long way to go, but I’m growing. Overcoming my little mistakes and killing my darlings is a huge goal of mine this year. Traveling is another. I can’t be a reader of Jack Kerouac and never hit the road. My parents have yet to read any of my writing, time is becoming apparent in the physical form—gray hair is blooming, movements are slowing down, watching them age is beautiful and frightening. I’ve always said their first piece of mine would be read inside of a magazine, the goal is a distant one, but not far from my mind.
I’m still in my selfish twenties, seven years away from thirty; family and mortgage are taboo words in my world. I see it in the eyes of people my age, they have slipped into the abyss of adulthood too soon, there’s just too many dragons to slay and kingdoms to conquer before pondering wedding rings and baby showers.
This is the year that I live it to the limit and love it a lot. Thank you to Nathan, thank you Z, thank you DJBooth Nation, and anyone that found something I wrote worth reading. I’m thankful, excited, and ready to type until carpal tunnel do us part. They say if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life.
By Yoh, AKA Indefinitely Unemployed, AKA @Yoh31