A Response to:
10 People On The Moment They Quit Their Job To Pursue Their Real Passion
I had a medium heart attack while on the table having my arteries cleaned about 15 days ago. I have a separated shoulder, torn rotator cuff, and fractured fibula. I have spent my whole life in the restaurant business. In ’93, I left Hawaii, where I happily worked as a room service waiter, while also attending school, writing for the school newspaper, and living on the top floor of a hotel about 100 yards from the beach. Sadly, the school newspaper only paid $20 for a story and $20 for a photograph. I wrote and photographed for 6 months and then had my master’s equivalent, one-man photography show, which culminated in a state of utter bliss.
When I arrived in ’93, I wanted to be in the art business, but there was a recession in full swing. I walked up to a hotel and have been there for 23 years. While there I published about seven books, table top photo and short story-poetry. I also got a paralegal certificate and absolutely loved the education, garnering straight A’s. The problem is I graduated and went immediately to reading novels, then philosophical tomes, and never looked back. I wanted to brief cases and write memoranda, but I was too afraid that it would take me too long to brief cases and write memoranda to make any money at it. Besides, my attorney buddy said they wouldn’t hire me. I was too old.
I respond to art. I also just respond to life and have narrowed my focus to writing, although I may be better as a photographer, where I can get some distance. But, I am afraid of that too, never thinking that I could make enough money doing art.
I really have never been able to qualify what exactly I want to do: Photography or writing, and until recently, I must be violently pushed to do anything else, but I am not fulfilled and felt during my heart attack that there was no purpose in my life. I want people to hear my poetry, the music I have written but stopped writing, the art work I have made. I want to be able to make art 24/7, but my job takes everything out of me and I almost died.
Still, despite myself, I feel a change coming. I believe in the advice that you just have to keep creating and eventually that snow bank slides off the roof of your house and comes crashing down and it gets noticed. Perhaps, it takes someone with a crush on you to plow through all the words and images to find something like the hidden structure of snowflakes that isn’t obvious if you aren’t looking. Everyone of us has these dreams. There are only so many small columns of text about something new to garner a readership or visit to a gallery. But, if you are like me, which I am sure you are, we are always buying books and looking at art because frankly there isn’t anything else in life that matters, except perhaps the design and scent of a new lover and all the drama that affords and how that intimacy is pretty much why we write or make art in the first place. I am still in love with a woman I met and made love to say twenty years ago and who probably still hates me. Life is like that, the high points of love-making and then a lot of days just looking out the window and thinking about that. Is there such a job that rewards the pining of a lost lover, that pays big money for the sadness exemplified in every thought of the automaton clearly meant only to spoon in the quiet of the smallest and darkest room? I know how to get in touch with her, but I know in my heart that if she didn’t know that she needed to apologize as she stood at the gas pump on the late night when I said nothing and merely looked over that I can’t break the silence. She started a relationship with me when she was already in one and I told her to break it off and wait 6 months, but then I reneged and wrote back saying we could just be friends. And, boy were we friends, so much so that I became intoxicated by her. Her body was like crack cocaine and I had never done drugs before. Her voice, her reserve, her long brown hair, her small face, her coyness that she was so much of the world and I was not. She was my Kim Kardashian to my face in a crowd at a concert that was clearly over decades ago. She wanted to lie around and make babies, but as I said, I was only a waiter in a restaurant who was recovering from a heart attack.
Do they have jobs for those who survive broken hearts?