To everyone in a tough spot. Stuck in a rut. In a bad situation. Gonna lay something out that I strongly advise you try. Trust me when I say, “Been there.” Think about it—I was damn good with a camera. I worked in porn. I was editor for multiple magazines and shot plenty of my own layouts. And then…I went blind. Went from my boss sending me around the country to shoot hot, naked chicks and edit magazine copy to being unemployed, sightless, unable to type, and unable to get anywhere by myself. I know from ‘sucks’.
If you’re a kid, esp in a school where half the teachers are out, they can’t do anything with you and you’re sitting in an auditorium just so they can stick you somewhere? (Pinellas? Hillsborough? NYC? Your hometown?) Get up and walk out. Yeah, yeah, I know, sounds like it’s going to not go well, right? But…you’re miserable (because you’re smart). You’re bored, you’re stuck in an uncomfortable chair, sometimes for hours. Just walk. Somebody tries to stop you? Tell them you’re going to take a leak. Then…go up to the library. Who’s going to stop you? Listen, you already know, they’re way understaffed, they can’t keep an eye on everybody, so why sit in the gym or the auditorium? Hit the library, find something to read, and accomplish something. Library selection blows? Go online, join some horror or fantasy forums. There are 8 trillion writers giving away books every…freaking…day. Reading horror stories probably isn’t what the admins want, but, so? Piss on them and what they want. At least you’ll be killing time and enjoying yourself, and yeah, I admit, you’ll be stimulating your brain to some degree. Believe me when I say: not all bad. If all you do in life is follow the rules? Well, enjoy the stiff back from sitting on the bleachers being told to keep quiet.
Make it happen. Whatever it is. Either that, or sit around and wallow. It ain’t gonna fix itself, I can promise you. If you aren’t in HS or going to college or, basically, anywhere? Find a gig, even P/T. Target’s hiring at $15, giving out bonuses if you last 3 months and even offering college tuition. Can’t get there? BS. Go hit the garage sales, craigslist, put the word out among your friends—who’s got a bike? 10 speed, mountain bike, who cares. You can literally find bikes online for free. See what’s out there. Put some coin in your pocket, and even if it isn’t for you, better’n sitting at home watching Hulu. Get in the door, then look for gigs you like better. If you can fog a mirror? You can get hired. You can read this blog? You can get promoted.
Go back to the start—if your life blows right now, it’s likely due to outside factors. But, and take this part seriously: if you let it keep sucking? That’s on you. In HS, they locked down campus on us. No one could go out for lunch any more. Miserable, right? We didn’t like it, so some of us figured out that no one was monitoring the shop hallways. So…we just walked right out. We went to the pizzeria or the deli or the bakery, and we did what we always did—got lunch. Then, getting back in? We timed it so we’d be going back in with teachers returning from their lunch errands. Wanna talk perfect cover? Kids coming in who’d had doc’s appts would be showing up, parents for teacher meetings—no one was going to get on our backs. When they assigned someone to watch that hallway? We figured out something else. Did we get caught? Sure, once in a rare while. But so what? What was the ‘punishment’? A warning? The threat of detention? Pffft. Meant nothing to us…not when compared to a Godfather sub at Pizzoli’s. (Somewhere, I hope Lou Serio is smiling!)
I knew when the lights went out, things were not gonna magically get better. No one was going to come banging on my door handing out opportunities. You’re in the same boat. But if you’re in school or you’re flying solo? There isn’t much ‘back end’ to worry about. School ‘discipline?’ Please, if you don’t show up for detention, chances are no one will notice, and if they do? So what? The asst principal is gonna wag his/her finger at you and say “Tsk, tsk” louder?
You don’t get any more teen years. No one gives out extensions on your 20s. If you’re just wasting time because there aren’t enough teachers to teach class? Means there aren’t enough teachers to bust your balls. It’s your time. Put it to use. Get something out of it. Reading’s a good escape. You like art? Grab a notebook at the thrift shop and sketch. Write short stories. Do challenger-level crosswords. Just keep your brain moving, because without that skill? Yeah, things’re gonna stay rough, and you don’t want that your whole life.
Break some rules. The little ones (like leaving campus for lunch, walking in late, ignoring ‘study hall’ to go hang in the library, using your phone/tablet and cracking the school’s Wi Fi password to read horror comics?) They don’t have any penalties worth worrying about. You want something? Go after it. Make it happen. I know it seems crappy, but you have a lot more control, and a lot more options than you think. You just need to have the guts to take advantage of them without worrying.
Enough from the blind guy who’s partied with XXX movie stars, been flown around the U.S. (and to Mexico!) to be a guest at horror & fantasy conventions, traveled the country signing autographs because of horror comics, and directed a movie 99% of people told me I couldn’t make, because I was blind and no one had done it before. Rules? Not my friend. The bulls#i+ ones, anyway. Don’t rob banks? Yeah, listen to that one. Otherwise? When you see it’s just nonsense, take your shot. Might seem like time moves s-l-o-o-o-o-o-w-w-w-w, but it gets by you a lot quicker than you think. If you’re worried, gotta get past that. Life tends to crush and steamroll the worried. Me? I’ve done some crazy things. And, I’m not done. That said…
It’s your turn.