The most frustrating period in my life came right after I graduated from college.
I worked 39.5 hours per week at a video store in a mall, wearing the same black polo shirt and massive khaki pants every day, eating the same brand and flavor of soup accompanied by an unsalted pretzel for lunch every day, and trying hard to avoid being noticed by anyone I knew — especially people I’d gone to school with — every day.
I raced home each night, eventually getting my commute down to just under 5 minutes (if I managed to beat the light at the interstate on-ramp), in order to ensure that I gave as little of my time as possible to the job so I could instead use that time to sit at home every night at a cramped wooden desk I’d had since elementary school, trying to write a terrible novel or screenplay and banging my head against the hard mahogany surface when I couldn’t even spit out 1,000 words of trash.
Ten years since that summer, I’m in a better place in my life than I’ve ever been before. I come home to a face that never ceases to delight me and I spend my free time in the euphoria of friends and places I choose. I don’t feel the need to hide from myself or anyone else.
I can honestly say that for a good five years, maybe more, I’ve never lacked an outlet. Some days have been more fertile than others, but on most I’ve been creating in multiple directions.
But sometimes I still smell the mahogany.