[What follows are the thoughts of a man exhausted from the holidays, full-time parent for the past week, and one more to come. These factors color my mood, I know. What I don't know is who will emerge with my face in the mirror come 2007.]
In his final months, my father and I had a frank conversation. I had been encouraging him as much as I could, to write, to use his mind, to be productive. I have perhaps a couple hours of recordings from that time, of him reciting his own poems. A weary and raspy voice recounts the words he penned in better days. His confusion, and loss of direction in the verse, as he worked to cant the proper tone, are palpable, and sad. That day, he paused in his response: "The hardest thing is... the hardest thing... is not being productive."
Beside me on the couch lies a heap of books: Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market; Guide to Literary Agents; Writer's Market, Deluxe Edition; Nolo's Patents for Beginners and Patent, Copyright & Trademark. I wonder about venture capital, about starting my own company dedicated to the practical applications of my research.
I grow weary of the chase. The hardest thing is not being productive.
I search. I seek. I apply. And I wait. Tired am I.
The time ripens, like a persimmon, slowly, but inexorably. The new job listings are few and mostly fail to excite me. There is one more for me to send off, deadline end of February. That makes about 18 so far this season, I believe. Not too shabby. Not too selective. And I wait to hear more from the schools I've already applied. Yes, I had requests for supplemental material from two schools. Perhaps more will come. I don't know.
Three applications I submitted had January deadlines, so they're still open. Eight closed in December. Of the two who asked for supplements, one closed mid-November, the second at the beginning of December. I am still committed to this season. I may yet harvest fruit where barren branches have taunted me so far.
But I do wonder whether the quarry warrants the effort. I find it ever more difficult to imagine myself next year at 39, pushing 40, sitting just where I sit now, still waiting and wondering.
I begin to think: any club that wouldn't have me... fuck 'em!