Blog #8 by novelist Jeremy Logan -- IN PURSUIT OF A DREAM (and keeping it alive)
I've been lucky. No doubt about it. Fortune has smiled down on me. Even while I poured my heart and soul into my business career, I kept alive the fantasy of being an author one day. You may ask, "How do you do that?" As a person wanting to write novels, I collected and preserved the memories of people and events that I saw as worthy fodder for a future novel. Reality, or your perception of reality, is usually more interesting than fiction. And since these events actually happened and captivated me, it gave me the confidence that they would be believable and fascinating, so long as I got the details right.
I found out that you cannot do this by accident or without being alert to the significance of your best experiences. In some occasions where the event appeared particularly wonderful or complex, I would right them down in a journal I kept, and then I transferred the journal entries to a computer memory disk. In DGT, except for the violence and crime, much of the fictional events have a basis in actual events. I simply changed the names and circumstances, and plugged them in when the plot and storyline demanded an event that evoked a similar experience essential to the development of the story.
In my mind this process kept alive the dream or romantic idea that by keeping such a notebook I was investing in my avocation. Since I have actually published my first novel, one cannot deny that the execution of this process actually kept the dream alive.
I'm going to change gears here and attempt to dispel the notion that one will be their happiest when they follow their heart and pursue their dream career. For one thing, I don't believe most people, over 50% of the population, discovers what their dream career is. Some might think they know, but they find out later that they were mistaken. A significant amount of the population simply can't find the bliss state of happiness because other things are in the way, such as: clinical depression, mistreatment during their formative years or simple poverty/lack of opportunity. In other words, very few are so fortunate that they can make a living out what they enjoy doing the most. For most of us, we are happy to be skilled at something to the extent that it provides us an income to make a living. In the end it's the work that gives us pleasure, and that's good enough.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I kept alive a notion all these years, and now I will be finding out if I was a better legal counsel and business person than a novelist. I know I truly enjoyed my corporate career. I woke up each morning anxious to get to the office. So, there are few regrets in that direction. I now have that same feeling when I sit down to write.
One last thought; don't think it hasn't occurred to me that the pursuit of this second career is a blessing. The challenge of writing a decent novel might just be the thing that keeps my mind sharp and vital as I approach the autumn of my years.