You know those days when you really dream of something, and you start to realize that you don’t really believe it will ever happen, and that even if it does, you’ll always be pinching yourself in disbelief?
I remember applying to college, for instance. Just for some background, my experience was probably more intense than the majority’s — we’re talking here about an immigrant family, who still threatens from time to time that they moved to the US because I told them I wanted to go to school in the US. But when I was looking through those brochures, with all those years of prep school and test studying and papers and piano lessons and (awful, awful) Cross Country and Track meets behind me, I realized I wasn’t really going to believe it if I ever got into some of my dream schools. (Side note: I applied to ten.)
More to the point: There’s a wonderful website I just came across which has the potential to cure these same dream-disbelieving blues for writers. Did you know, for instance, that James Franco spent two years sleeping on couches and driving a car with no oil? I know it makes me feel just a tad better that he wasn’t born knowing he’d one day be James Franco of Hollywood and MFA fame.
The Days of Yore is an excellent collection of interviews with artists (to quote the website’s own tagline) “about the years before they had money, fame, or roadmaps to success.” It’s a nice reminder to come back down to earth and realize two things:
- We all start somewhere, and
- Even once we’ve “made it,” we all have days when we don’t know what we’re doing
If I was sleeping on couches for years in a row, I know there’d be a large part of me that would kick myself and scream, “This was a stupid idea, you should go back to your corporate job.” This despite the fact that I know some amazing people (you know who you are) doing just that right now, and I’m constantly admiring their adventures.
But James Franco did it, and he turned out alright. And, as I stay on in my (now less corporate) job, this makes me continue to believe that one day, I’ll look back and giggle about the times when I stayed up at night writing random short stories in hopes of some day — some day — acquiring just one reader.
Now, go click on The Days of Yore and look for your favorite artist. I was inspired. I hope you will be too.