I had this great post all lined up for you guys this morning about my experience at the Blogging While Brown conference. I got home yesterday, feeling inspired and ready to embrace my destiny. I stayed up all night drafting a post about all the awesome folks I'd met and my take away from the conference, mainly how I recommitted myself to blogging. I have been in a funk for a while, battling between the desire to write but also my feelings that I have been wasting time on a pipe dream. Like I should be dedicating myself more to my full-time gig because it pays the bills and has benefits and all. But at the conference, something - or should I say a bunch of things - really clicked for me; I really love writing. Not just because I have a journalism degree. And not because I write several columns a week for Madame Noire. But rather writing, more specially being able to communicate my thoughts more fluently (something I often have a hard time doing verbally), is a my true passion.
And it has always been since as long as I could remember. In fact, I recall spending a great amount of time as a child, in my bedroom, writing stories and making magazines covers out of old magazines and coloring paper. And if given a choice between losing my full time gig or writing, which right now pays very little, I would choose to starve and continue writing. I feel strongly that writing is not only my gift but it is my purpose in life. The Universe put me at this conference for a reason. Heck, up until I received an invite in my inbox, I had no intention of going. But I went, felt inspired and more importantly motivated.
So this morning I got up extra early, ready to embrace and fulfill what I thought was my destiny. I turned on my computer and waited for it to boot. And waited. And waited. And nothing. The "on" light on the keypad was blue, which meant it was on, and I could hear certain indicators like the computer's fan and the Window's theme music, but the screen was completely black. I powered down the computer and restarted it yet the same thing happened. I did it again, and again, had the same results. So I did what most folks would do: I started to cry. Seriously God, why have you forsaken me?
I know that this may seem over dramatic but this exact same circumstance happened to before. Several ago, I was working as a part-time journalist for two weeklies here in Philly and part-time community organizing. I had been with these two weeklies for well over five years as a staff writer covering all sorts of local happenings in the Germantown and Mt. Airy sections of the city. I loved what what I was doing, however what I was doing wasn't exactly paying the bills. Hence having to part-time as a community organizer. In theory, community organizing is a great profession. However I never could jive with the internal politics and competing agendas, which often accompanies the work you do to help empower the community.
Anyway, while working two jobs, I had also started writing a book. It was to be a fantasy novel with a 'hood theme - sort of like urban mythology. I thought the concept was revolutionary in that, while there are fantasy stories and there are urban lit stories, no one has ever combined the two. And I was going to be the first. After giving up two years of partying and hanging out with friends, I finally finished my story. Around the same time that the book was finished, I had also been offered a full time position with the two weeklies papers. I was over joyed. Finally the years that I had put in struggling, hustling and suffering for my "art" was all about to pay off. I put in my notice with the organizing I was community organizing for and accepted the position.
And then the tide turned. Two days before I was to officially start writing full time, the managing editor called me and very apologetically rescinded his offer. Apparently he just got word from the higher-ups that there was a budgeting freeze and all new hiring had to stop. This included my position. So not only was I demoted back to part-time but I was out of my second job too. I was disappointed but not totally defeated. On the bright side of things, I still had a job. And I had a book. An awesome book that was going to take the world by storm. No way was I going to let a minor setback deter me and knock me off my stride. I remember hanging up the telephone and sitting at my computer desk, being giddy to the point of arrogance that this was going to work out in my favor. I booted up my computer, put in the flash drive and smiled and snarked about how this was all in God's plan, "I'm just going to spend all this free time I have now editing my novel an--fuck..."
On the computer screen was this message: "The disk drive E is not formatted. Would you like to format this drive. Yes. No." Wait, what? What do you mean the disk drive is not formatted? How is it not formatted when I've been using the damn thing for the past two years now to save my book. Oh My God, my Book! Where is my book? The book I missed birthday parties and weddings and family events for? The book shake up the world and save me from having to struggle anymore? It was gone. All 234 pages were completely erased. And nothing would bring it back - not the geek squad, not the file extracting company in Virginia, who had a reputation of working with the FBI, and not even hoping and prayer.
I was devastated. And I spent the next two years in a funk. Too defeated to rewrite my great novel and too sadden to start a new one. I had practically given up. So much so that I had basically given up writing all together and got a full-time job. That was until a year and a half ago when I began to miss writing. I'm just in a good position now. A prime position to really make a go at it.
So what does this all have to do with God? Well, maybe nothing. Maybe these are just minor hurdles or maybe it's the Devil, you know he is tricky. Or maybe this is all just some sort of an shibboleth to test my commitment to what I say I want. I mean, I can always get another computer right? But as someone, who looks to HIM for signs and has lived by the motto of "putting it all in HIS hands," I have to say that at times, God can seem to be an indecisive dick about things. What is HE trying to tell me when every time I get to a crucial part of my journey, where I really feel like I have it all figured out, something happens, which seems like a sign that I'm doing it all in vain?
Well, I decided that I'm not going to listen to or even wait for HIS signs anymore. Clearly HE thinks I'm giving up now, he has me mistaken. I don't care if I have to spend every last dime I have in my savings getting this computer fixed or buying a new one, I'm going to do just that. And if HE tries to pull some ole' divine invention to break the next one, well I will find ways beg, borrow and steal computer time if I have too.
Whatever beef you have with the Devil for my eternal soul, keep me out of it. I have stuff, right here and now, that I want to get done. This time I think I'm just going to follow my own heart. And my heart is telling me that I want to be a writer. No, that I am a writer. And HE wants to come along for this ride as my co-pilot, than cool. You are more than welcome. But if not, step aside because I got this.
God, suddenly I feel much better.