November 05, 2013

Finding Purpose... Or Something

Life's confusing.* Let's just start with that, sound good?

Lost and Confused Signpost

*First off, forewarning for those expecting book related stuff in this blog post... it's not here.  Call this what you will, inspirational, ranting, musing, or even self-indulgent pontificating.  But the truth is I'm only here to tell you what I've learned and that is: purpose is finding what matters to you and pushing through no matter the obstacles, but... (and this is an important but) there is a beauty in the obstacles you've knocked aside in order to climb to the top. So, you might be asking (or at least I am) what have I achieved?  Every month I sell roughly 600-800 kindle books which puts me in the top 500 fantasies on Amazon.  I've gone to over a dozen conference, schools, libraries, conventions.  And at each one I've slapped my John Hancock on my book selling double, sometimes triple what the person beside me does.  Honestly, while I love spreading the book and getting more engaged fans and of course friends, those accolades mean only so much to me. Well, let's put aside the fact that the true achievements are within each one of those accolades--meeting the incredibly witty 13-year-old who fearlessly asserted the ability to pick apart faults in even well-known author's books like the last scraps on a rotisserie chicken; or the young girl who called me on my cellphone to declare her love of the book and it's "intricate mesh of Japanese and medieval elements that will rival Harry Potter!"; or simply the young but outspoken youth named Thomas who (when asked about his favorite book) said unwaveringly: "Yours!". Now those are all great moments, but let's put those aside and focus on a deeper, if enmeshed issue.  Also let's not kid ourselves that these accomplishments, while awesome, are admittedly a hefty stone's throw away from my ultimate vision of NY times bestseller lists (a VERY hefty stone).


  But am I worried?  Yes and no--and that's the ultimate point of this 'rant'.  Stay with me! What have I learned? A lot and a little.  But that simple statement has taught me one thing: life is balance.  It's the knowledge and lack there of, it's the ups n' downs (and the sometimes sideways), but we always have to embrace and move on.  It can get confusing.  Heck, it should be confusing.  Half the time I'm writing everything in the world makes sense and I know my true purpose.  There's nowhere else I want to be in the world, and when a scene works well, or a character shows a beautifully delicate or deliciously dark side I chortle quietly to myself.  Sometimes that balcony scene can unfold, my pen flowing as if Shakespeare himself sat in my corner; but other times, I wonder if my fingers type words just to make fun of me.  Really, Matt?  That was supposed to be "funny", eh?  And you don't even do drugs, at least then you'd have an excuse.  But as mentioned before, ups and downs. Balance. Now, I'm marketing.  I'm not a businessman, what in the heck?  Life is even more confusing.  But still, there's balance to be found: somedays I set up three signings at three different Barnes and Noble's, a signing at Mysterious Galaxy, send out all the edits for a revision to book one, set up several more High School talks and... *deep breath* ... more.  Othertimes, it feels like my most successful achievement of the day was putting pants on.  Still, balance.  So what's the final verdict on this mess.  Let's spray this issue with choices and I'll let you pick: "You win some you lose some?"  "Life is confusing only because we're trying to have it make sense when it simply 'is.'" How about the Japanese proverb 仕方が無い 'Shikata ga nai' which translate roughly to "it cannot be helped." imgres-1imgres-2 Yeah sure, those are all great and probably true, and hopefully some of those help you in your many different stages of life--the transcendent balcony scenes, or when life just seems to be making a joke out of your day.  But to be frank, none of that is the point I'm trying to make.  What I've realized amid all this and the only small trinket of wisdom I cautiously pin upon your breast is this: when you climb to the top?  Well, don't forget those obstacles that you knocked over, for me it's those little signings or the books sold at every stage, for you it might just be signing the lease on a new apartment, or taking a class you were afraid to, or just the first step towards your bigger dream.  It's the doing something that got you somewhere else... embrace them, love them, as much as you can.  Because if you don't?  None of it's going to matter.  Or put another way, if you don't enjoy the first step, how will you enjoy the last?  So yes, in a lame way this is an "enjoy the journey" speech (to both me and you), but even more, it's "most especially enjoy the moments that make you smile, the moments that you worked hard and 'did it', even if it's small." Yeah, it's not as tight and fancy.  Ah screw it, blame my fingers! Sincerely your ever-eccentric neighborhood author, Matt Back To Ronin Saga Blog