Join us as Andrew Q Gordon goes Outside the Margins.
Back in 1946, Actor Jimmy Stewart lent his star power to a little movie called; It’s A Wonderful Life. For those unfamiliar with the movie, Stewart plays George Bailey, a man who dreams of leaving his small town and doing big things. Unfortunately he allows himself to be roped into doing what others want and he stays home to run the family bank. He gets married and has a beautiful family, but always looks for an out. A way to follow his ‘dream.’ Then a string of events leave him on the edge of suicide. Clarence, an angel in search of his wings, prevents George from killing himself. When George opines the world would be better off without him, Clarence shows him what would have happened without all the good he’d done and that staying put had bettered the lives of so many people. George of course sees the error of his ways, returns home to face what may come and finds that all those people whose lives he’d touched, didn’t forget him in his time of need.
Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” We’ve all done this. We need to make a decision on the direction of our lives and we choose one way over another. We ‘take’ the fork in the road.
Recently, as edits for The Eye and the Arm; Book 2 of Champion of the Gods clashed with the deadline for Kings of Lore and Legend; Book 3, which clashed with holiday stuff, which clashed with work, I often wondered what would my life be like if I’d followed my dream and started writing right after college instead of doing something else. What if when I got to the fork, I didn’t take it and walked across the field instead? Would my life be good? Better? Worse?
Unlike George Bailey, I don’t have a crisis that brings me to a breaking point. And alas, there is no angel Clarence to show me what might have been. I’m on my own here. Luckily it won’t take someone stopping me from jumping off a bridge for me to see the answer.
For each action we ‘take’ when we come to the fork, there is a consequence. But for this, I wouldn’t have done that. Had I crossed the field instead of taking the fork, I’d not have met Mike, married him, had ‘lil q (there might be a different ‘lil q but who knows), etc. Same for writing. Where I am now is not some place I’d have definitely have gotten too if I made different choices.
To quote the Cat in the Hat, “But I like to be here, oh I like it a lot. I like to be here, I do not wish to go.” Is it ‘ideal’ working, raising a family and trying to write too? Again, I don’t know. Change one factor in the equation and the result is different. Would the new answer be better?
To even attempt to determine if a change would be ‘better’ I need to consider what the new reality would like. In that reality, I’d quit my job and take on a new one; the new job being writing full time. Suddenly, writing isn’t something I do to get away from work it is work. When writing becomes frustrating—and let’s be real, it will, whether because the story won’t come, the publisher hates it, the readers hate it, the reviews suck, the royalties don’t pay the bills, etc., there will be times of discontent—where’s the escape? I can’t write less, it’s now my job.
On the other hand, I don’t worry about the size of the royalty check. That’s not why I write. I write because I want to, not because I need to. If I decide to stop because I don’t like it anymore (I don’t see that happening, but there are endless stories of guys who quit baseball, soccer, basketball, acting, whatever because it’s not fun anymore, so it could happen) and I put it aside, I can come back to it again later if I want. Or not. Either way, ‘lil q will still eat and we won’t wonder how to pay the bills.
But what truly makes this a ‘Wonderful Writer’s Life’ for me is what I’ve already gained that can never betaken away. If tomorrow I wake up and decide I don’t want to write anymore and I want to spend my free time learning to play bagpipes (something I’d love to learn) or train to be champion triathlete in the master’s division (that’s a really nice way of saying I’m older), or collect stamps, breed dogs, learn a foreign language so we can retire somewhere different, whatever, the people I’ve met won’t disappear. I’ll still be a part of the community that has adopted me as part of itself.
If I stopped writing, that doesn’t mean I have to cut off all the friends and colleagues I’ve met. The people I talk to on-line or in person will still be there. I can still remain a part of the amazing community of people who look out for each other. Our genre might be small, and of no consequence to some of the larger groups, but we embrace and take care of our own. That’s what makes this a wonderful life.
So to answer my own question, if I’d taken a different path would life be better? No, it would just be different. This one is pretty good as it is.
Happy Holidays from my family to everyone. May it bring you all joy, peace, and happiness.
~ Andrew Q Gordon
About Andrew Q Gordon
Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write.
He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of eighteen years, their young daughter and dog. In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day.
On his website: www.andrewqgordon.com,
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/andrewqugordon,
On Twitter: @andrewqgordon,
Or just email him: email@example.com
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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