Sometimes when I start a new project, it reminds me a of a phrase from David Eddings’ Malloreon series. When I look at it, it makes me feel as though all the starry universe is contained therein.
There’s so much possibility that comes with beginning something new. Trepidation. Excitement. Exultation. Apprehension. And not a little bit of fear.
It’s a book I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to sell. That doesn’t mean no one will ever get to read it, or even that it could never sell to a major publisher — only that knowing what we know of the market, it’d be a long shot.
Sometimes that’s okay. I have so many projects in the works that there are more commercial stories I feel confident about.
I’ve been thinking a lot about possibility. I think one of the reasons I write fantasy is that it carries with it that sense of maybe. Of perhaps. Of peering into our universe and wondering what could be happening on a planet far away, or maybe in another universe that leaks into ours. Yesterday I listened to the exceptional Nerdist podcast with Joss Whedon. As always, listening to Joss talk about his projects makes my emotions tumble about like I’ve stuffed them into the dryer.
But also Chris Hardwick, who I had the fortune of meeting in person after his show at the 9:30 club this year in DC.
I got to thinking about dreams, and more importantly, about the possibility of achieving them. I’ve been both blessed and cursed with both a very active imagination and dreams that have taken me to Alpha Centauri and back as well as an almost debilitating realism about my ability to reach said dreams. One might think this could have the effect of a sort of self-balance. That it could temper things into realistic expectations. Puh. That’d be way too easy and not nearly neurotic enough for a writer. As a child I used to beg my mother to move us to L.A. so I could become an actress. I had no concept of poverty or that we were in it. All I knew was that I had dreams, dammit.
We never moved to L.A., and I certainly never became a child star alongside JTT. (Cough. Not that I erm…wanted that.)
But here I am at almost thirty with the same sort of dreams. I’m finding it rather difficult to type the next sentence, because it’s sort of embarrassing to admit that my dreams are big enough that I have the immediate impulse to never voice them.
I’m not entirely sure if I fear ridicule or scorn or if I feel that by voicing them I give them some form that can be used to hold me accountable for the fact that instead of having a Normal Job I wait tables for a meager living and work 40 + hours a week on projects that pay nothing.
I think it’s more that admitting the dreams I have means I have to take ownership of the fact that I want things terribly, with the same sort of childlike desperation that made me beg my mother to uproot me when I’d already gone to four different schools by sixth grade. That made me beg her to move to a huge city a thousand miles away.
Admitting to dreams opens me up to someone saying, “HA, you and the rest of the world.” Or, you know, that no one gives a teeny tiny mouse turd about my dreams.
I think also that the word dream carries with it a certain unspoken acceptance that it will never happen. Goal sounds ever-so-slightly more plausible as something concrete. But when a goal is so huge you’re afraid to give it voice, does that shift its tracks irrevocably to the realm of dreams?
What’s more, there’s not just one single dream in this basket of seeming impossibilities. There are many. They’re lined up and so far out of reach that sprinting for the rest of my life may never get me anywhere near them. And I think added to all the above anxieties inherent in this sort of dreaming is the underlying, squidgy sort of painfulness that says they’ll never become reality because I just don’t deserve it.
Now, before you think this is another Emmie pity party, I want to explore that sentiment. I’m not alone in feeling it. I realized that yesterday whilst listening to Chris Hardwick and Jonah Ray and Matt Mira shoot the shit for an hour with Joss Whedon. Joss said something that I’ve heard Chris voice in the past as well. It’s something that I took to heart because I feel it too.
Joss Whedon, who has influenced my life perhaps more than any other media creator on this planet, in this solar system, in this Milky Fucking Way — said that when he is not creating, he feels that he is worthless.
It was one of those moments where you think to yourself, “Self,” you think, “Perhaps this person is something like me, perhaps more than I thought before.”
And you cling to it, because it’s something so raw, so real, so darkly human that you really don’t know what else to do with it. So you wrap your arms around it and hold it tight, because it means you’re not alone.
And you ponder that someone you greatly respect, someone like Chris Hardwick, at whom you flailed upon your meeting and to whom you babbled rather incoherently — got blown off by someone he admires and greatly respects. And that even though you flailed and babbled, he didn’t blow YOU off. Because he didn’t blow me off. He was kind and gracious, and his stupendous girlfriend Skydart said she loved my hair.
And you think about all the people on this planet and how there’s always someone else getting the things you want and so there because that’s just the way the world works.
So at the end of all that hullaballoo and considering and connecting over bits and bots and airwaves and, in all reality, time, because this was fucking recorded like two weeks in the past and I just got to listen to it yesterday — something has made tears leak out of my eyeballs and down my face and made snot clog up my nose while I’m typing this blog entry that SHOULD have a title and DOESN’T really have a title, and what’s making all these stupid feelings happen is that I guess I should fucking voice the dreams I have, because no one’s going to come along, bop a magic wand into my hot little hands, and make everything perfect while a unicorn farts rainbows in my face.
I have some big, crazy, impossible dreams. And even though there is a very real part of my psyche huddled in my cranium screeching at me not to do this, here they are. (SHUT UP PSYCHE YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME.)
I want to write a screenplay with Joss Whedon.
I want to write an episode (or, you know, five) of Supernatural.
I want to be involved somehow, someday, with writing something for Dragon Age.
I want to be on a panel at SDCC for Searching for SuperWomen. Or, you know, my own novels.
I want to sing a duet with Josh Groban.
I want my books to hit the New York Times bestseller list. I’d like at least one of them to hit number one.
I want to act in something, someday, somehow. Hopefully something that would allow me to do some of my own stunts, because by the time that happens, I want to have my black belt and then some.
I want Searching for SuperWomen to hit one million views.
I want to be on Talking Dead, because I freaking love The Walking Dead and Chris Hardwick and that is all.
I want to work on something with Felicia Day. This should require zero explanation. It could be macramé. It could be cookies. It could be macaroni art. I DO NOT CARE.
I don’t care if I live in a hovel for all of this. But this is the big, crazy, stupid dream cache. And looking at this list makes me feel kind of like throwing up.
I hear unicorn farts are a cure for that.
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