I figured I’d do bit of analysis for my 69th birthday.
This year, I’ve actually been examining my past life quite a lot, mostly for the purposes of doing “The ReWrite.”
So far, I’ve sold 3 copies. Not exactly a best seller, Yet! But, at least, I have no bad reviews to worry about, so that’s something.
I’ve written numerous screenplays, articles, songs and poems over the years, but this novel was an intensely personal and cathartic endeavor. If anybody but Jim Edlin ever takes the time to read it, it will be obvious that I’m not very happy about how my life has turned out.
I freely admit that there’s no one to blame for this but me. The novel is an imagination of how my life could have turned out if I’d been a better version of myself, if I’d taken myself more seriously, recognized the talents I was born with and diligently worked to develop them.
My life in the book turns out great, of course, because I’m not a masochist. I’m not going to do a rewrite and have it break bad. That would be insane. But it’s also a complete fantasy, and in some ways a cheat. In “The ReWrite,” I’m looking at the past and redoing it through the magical lens of hind-sight. The 17-year-old Greg in the book has the wisdom and experience of the 60-year-old mind that’s recreating him. The real 17-year-old Greg, who grew up in a provincial little town in the southern Bible belt, was an idiot, with a view of the world that was obscured and limited by this environment. I’m not sure how this Greg, the real Greg, could have ever broken through the bonds of miseducation and mysticism he was born into.
I knew that the way life was being explained to me didn’t make sense. It’s unfortunate that nobody came along in my early years to point me toward some things that were true, and show me where to look for answers. If there had been one intellectual, one mentor, anywhere, who had sat down with me and taught me how to think and where to look, things would be different today. (Any parents who happen to read this, please take note. Feed your children the truth! Prod them with questions. Get them to use their minds. Help them find mentors. They are unlikely to do this on their own.)
This didn’t happen for me, and it frustrated me to no good end. It made me rebellious and angry, and I did all the idiotic things that come from having no direction in life: getting drunk, lying, avoiding responsibility, being lazy, etc. This led to car wrecks, bad relationships, broken hearts, poor career choices, financial failures and, well, a lonely old man who now looks back at the whole sordid mess of his life with more regret than pride.
I still have a few years left on the planet, and my mind still functions fairly well. What next?
I know what I’d like to be doing, but there seems to be a barrier between me and what I really want to do. It’s like a physical wall that keeps me out. I haven’t been able to find a portal. I’ve only gotten close to this barrier a couple of times, like, for example, the Academy Award nomination in 1975, and a few other awards along the way. But none of this ever amounted to anything.
My number one goal in life is to get paid for my writing. I have no idea how to make this happen. I write things, put them out in the public sphere, or try to toss them over the wall, but there is rarely any response other than an occasional rejection letter that says nobody’s reading anything I write. However, when I do get somebody to read something, they almost always like it. So, I continue to believe I’m a good writer.
I just don’t understand how to find readers in today’s online market.
What I am not good at is marketing. So, I guess that’s what I’m going to have to learn how to do, if I’m ever going to be able to stop driving Uber and start writing to keep the bills paid.
This year’s project is:
Can I get paid to write by my 70th birthday?
I’ll let you know in 365 days.