One of the most difficult aspects of chasing your dreams is that you don’t begin at the top. Or even the middle. You start from ground zero and that ground zero is a bit hard to take when you’re forty-four years old and wondering why you’ve temporarily opted out of the money making crusade in order to pursue a vocation that may or may not pay out in the end.
I was chatting with someone about my raging fear of failure when it comes to dipping my toes into the publishing world and the person told me, “Well, you could give up trying to write and go schlep hot dogs at Costco for $20/hour plus medical bennies. Low stress. Decent wage. People who do that got life figured out.”
Maybe selling wieners wouldn’t be so bad. I mean, comparatively, I wouldn’t get wiener block like I do writer’s block. I would never have to worry about being judged for having wieners without plausible premise. No concerns regarding wieners lacking nuance or wieners being run-on or wieners having dangling participles. Also, I would make a lot more money with wiener art than I do with romance art since, at the moment, romance art pays ZILCH.
The last time I tried plugging my resume into Indeed.com they concluded that the best job for me would be a homicide/suicide crime scene cleaner with a company called Aftermath. Yup, that’s what the world wide web came back with after I flung my qualifications out there for all to see. Not accounting. Not dog walking. Not some nice customer servicey position. Not even an offer to sling wieners at people already stuffed full of Costco samples.
I did read the job description for the position with Aftermath and it was actually quite endearing because the people who do that kind of work must have iron stomachs, loads of compassion and the ability to mentally step back from the horror before them in order to respectfully cleanse a scene efficiently and quickly. I pictured myself in a sexy Hazmat suit, mop in hand, staring at a lifeless body cruelly yanked from this world by homicide or suicide. And I know, I just know, I would lean over the deceased and start talking to them. Because I believe in spirits and ghosts and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that that person’s soul would still be in the room and, like a loon, I would be there scrubbing blood stains from the carpet while chatting with the poor dead body making conversation with it like “Are you ok?” “I’m gonna have to move you to the side for a minute while I wash this part of the floor… sorry about your head…” “Have you seen heaven yet? Are there butterflies there?” “I know your Gran is in the next room watching Wheel of Fortune like nothing’s happened, but she really does care for you, it’s just that she told me Pat Sajak is her date every night at 6:00…” “Can you see a bright light right now?” “Can you say hi to my dad for me if he’s there?”
Anyway, I digress, but speaking of ghosts… I walked into my laundry room last week and the dial on the dryer MOVED BY ITSELF AND THE DRYER SWITCHED ON. Which was sort of weird. I mean, if a ghost was trying to communicate with me I don’t know WTF it was trying to say. Like I’m too dumb to understand supernatural metaphors having to do with appliances. Or, well, even if I DID understand the implications of such an action I would need very clear, very detailed instructions on how to help a spirit. The dryer turning on by itself… I just don’t know what to do with that.
Three days later I was talking on the phone with my Aunt Verline around 3:00 in the afternoon and when I hung up, my house was totally quiet… except I heard scratching noises coming from a small piece of firewood in the corner of the living room. I got up to inspect the wood and couldn’t find anything unusual on it, or in it- I even shined a light into the crack in the middle. No bugs. I shrugged and went on with my day. And then that night I heard, “SCRITCH SCRITCH SCRITCH!!!” Sure enough, it sounded like something was inside the small log again, clawing to get out. I examined it once more, and there was still no visible movement. The next morning the wood began “scritch”ing again so my husband threw it into the fireplace. Consumed by flames, the wood burned for hours, but the bizarre thing is that it burned from THE INSIDE OUT. The middle of the log slowly opened up like a volcanic fissure, revealing red hot molten lava-looking innards while the outside of the log remained unscorched.
The ceiling fan/light above me turned on which was odd because it hadn’t been working for a couple of weeks. Confused, I messaged my best friend, Christina, who screamed via caps lock, “OMG!!! THERE WAS A DEMON LIVING IN THE WOOD AND THE FIRE SET IT FREE AND NOW IT’S ESCAPED INTO YOUR FAN!!!”
I don’t know… I mean, there’s probably a rational explanation for all of these occurrences, but in the meantime I feel like I should name the ghost/demon considering it’s technically a roommate now. But since I can’t see what him/her/it looks like I’m not really sure how to properly assign it a name… like what if I called it Bob but it’s like an ancient spirit from Iceland or something and it wants to be referred to by its proper Viking name? I certainly don’t want to offend him/her/it.
Christina left our messaging conversation by declaring she would not be visiting my house again until I properly sage it. Which seems silly because IF I have a ghost/demon/Viking Lord who is spooked by scent then him/her/it would have already bolted after being in the same room as one of Larry’s farts. Me waving around a smoky sage bush wouldn’t hold a candle to the likes of Boxer fumes.
Maybe Bob the Viking is in a transition phase much like I am. We’re both starting from ground zero: me, tiptoeing into the world of novel writing and he, using the flames of freedom to move on from log home to ceiling fan.