A writer without a project is a terrible thing.
It’s bad at night, especially when I’m alone, left to consider my daily inadequacies and failures. These failures don’t have to be large. Maybe I had a beer, and all day, I was trying to be “healthy.” Maybe I cussed when I should have stayed calm or received a negative letter from an agent.
(“I am Jack’s inflamed sense of rejection.”)
On my thirty-first birthday last week, I watched Fight Club. Seemed a meaningless choice at the time, but maybe it was symbolic. Somehow.
(“I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. … We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”)
True, coming from Brad Pitt, those last few lines are ironic.
However, I associate with the characters of Fincher’s Fight Club. I certainly have the Narrator-Tyler Durden effect. I sound much different in my own head than I do in real life. Most of the time, I’m barely in my own head at all, off writing a story in my imagination instead. I could be driving past an elk in a t-shirt; wouldn’t know it.
I also share commonalities with Marla Singer.
(“Marla’s philosophy of life is that she might die at any moment. The tragedy, she said, was that she didn’t.”)
Am I ever that depressed? No. But I grasp what she’s talking about. Despite how I come off, I’ve never been much of an optimist.
(“Hey, even the Mona Lisa is falling apart.”)
Unsettled. Know what I mean? Have you ever felt unsettled? The word itself is unsettling.
(“Not fixed or stable; without established order; disorganized.”)
I’m Type A to the extreme (probably a little OCD), so feeling unstable and disorganized is unsettling.
(“This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.”)
This isn’t a shallow quarter-life crisis. I’m not having a crisis. I said I’m unsettled.
Jake said something poignant today: “If dreams were easy, everyone would achieve them.” Which brings us back to Tyler Durden’s observation that we will not all be famous. We will not all be successful. We will not all be rich. And yeah, I guess some of us are pretty pissed about it, so is it possible to channel that pissed-off-ness into ambition? Into a driving force? It’s better than getting jaded.
I watched Fight Club on my thirty-first birthday, and all I got was this blog post and a reminder that Tyler is right.
(“No fear. No distractions. The ability to let that which does not matter truly slide.”)
Stop being afraid. Stop being distracted. Tell yourself thirty is the new twenty, and this is not the time to freak out, give up, or hide under the bed. Thought I’d end on a hopeful note.
(“I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.”)