Thursday, October 6, 2011

Looking for Meaning in the Land of Poo

At work tonight in the Land of Poo (I work at a horse farm as a stable-hand), I was thinking about how I wish I had a meaning to my life. 

I'm a little upset right now because my duties have been cut back.  I did my normal cleaning of the stalls work tonight, but my work has been cut back to doing stupid odd jobs around the farm for most days because someone else who works there, some new girl, needed more hours.  I don't even know what's going on - if this girl is a friend of a friend or something, but she apparently quit a waitressing job and now needs more barn work.  My significant other put it best talking with me when he came to pick me up: "What they don't seem to understand here is that you NEED this work because you can't work with people.* This girl obviously can."

I'll still be getting paid the same - I have a weird salary kind of thing worked out - it's just that the work I'll be doing is different, but I still cannot shake the feeling that I'm being humored, that I have the work that I have because I am pitied, or because of possible discrimination issues being feared.  Everyone at my job knows I have a mental illness. In fact, I got the job because a friend of the farm's owner worked with (and now runs) a job-service for disabled people that the people I get mental health services from referred me to.

And, no, no one at my place of work knows of this blog.  And I don't Facebook.  So, it's safe for me to work-rant here.

Even with the regular-work (which made me feel needed and useful), it was still... scooping horse poo. I like it better than any other job I've had (with the possible exception of graphic design for newspapers - if my bosses weren't dinguses, and that one job at a zoo - that was fun), but still, it's a low-pay, lowly job without hope of advancement and something that anybody (provided they're physically fit, aren't afraid of horses and don't mind a little dirt) can do. 

And I guess I just got to thinking about how meaningless my life is.  I just don't do anything important, or anything irreplacable.  And it's not like I think I can do better right now, either.  

It seems like the things that I am fairly good at - things that I think could help the world - are things that aren't paid that much attention to. 

I've never been able to make a living as an artist.  My childhood dream was "to become an artist."  It can be said that I live that dream, but the problem is, I've never been able to feed myself on it, or to get my art to be anything "known." The closest thing I've come is the sale of a couple of my painted animal skulls to someone who found me via Deviant Art and a friend.  It came at a critical time for me and my guy... we were being forced out of our rental house (at the Holidays, no less).  That once-in-a-blue-moon sale of my work paid just enough of our deposit for us to be able to keep our cat (pet deposit), so we didn't have to give her to a shelter or re-introduce her to her former feral life.  I also got a graphic design degree (associates) and have done some graphic design work, but it wasn't particularly meaningful.  All I ever did was lay up ads for skeevy real estate agents and Italian resturants. 

There is something I've noticed as an artist: Loads of people think of you as some kind of mystical creature of talent that owes them free art.  Seriously - people want you to draw this, do that and will get a bit angry with you if you ask for compensation for the luxury.  Sure, I'm willing to humor friends and cute children, but sometimes, one has to say that one deserves to eat and have gas, too. (Gas for the CAR)!  It's honestly got to be like what happens to "the guy who knows computers" (like my Bob) - once people know that, everyone asks for free computer repairs.  (He'll do so for friends, but I have reminded him of the taking-advantage).  

As people who read stories here know - I want to be a writer.  Herein also lies a problem.  It seems that the only people who ever get known and change the world in any way anymore with this stuff are already-famous people who happen to write a book on a whim (or have one ghostwritten), or people who "know someone"  (relatives and so forth) in the publishing industry. 

People tell me I'm good (at writing), but I never know if I'm "good enough."  I can say this, though - I'm SICK of people reviewing my FAN-FICTION (not on this site, I post at and various fandom-specific sites and boards) with glowing praise about how I "should write a novel with my own characters!" because I'm so good.  I DO THAT. ALREADY.  I even have this place and my Deviant Art account linked on my profile/signitures so people can easily click and see my original/non-fandom work, but I still get these reviews from apparently oblivious people). If someone wants to read original work from me, it's not like I make it difficult to find at all. 

Of course, I'm just not sure my work will ever get professionally published.  Not only do I lack the right connections, my work tends to be off-kilter.  It seems like every publisher/agency profile I read speaks of thier people wanting to find something unconventional, breakthrough, so on and so forth, yet, what do I see on the bookshelves and in online book promotions?  Seems like it's all more of the same, status quo.  My genre of interest is fantasy - what do people seem to want in that? The stuff that's popular and has always worked.  (Not that there's anything wrong with that - my very favorite videogame series is The Legend of Zelda and it's a fantasy cliche'-storm. It's what makes it work, in fact - every new game is a play-able fairy tale and the old games are like those old friends on your bookshelf you never get tired of).  

I've been told by a friend that he found my work to have a flavor like that of Madeleine L'Engle - "Quirky with spiritual undertones."  (We were talking about a specific work of mine not appearing on this blog, one of my novels).  Another friend told me that L'Engle took a very long time and a lot of rejection before A Wrinkle in Time was published.  I can see why - it's a very unconventional fantasy story - ahead of it's time, but I think something like it might have trouble getting published today. 

So, if my work is really like that in any way... Yeah... it's probably not going anywhere for a long time, if it goes anywhere at all. 

Then there are people who might see some of the "spiritual" my work and ask me why I don't try the Christian market.  The best explaination of why I'd want to avoid it might be best summed up by this blog post by Buzz Dixon.  "Porn to Christian Media: We're Not So Different" 

In short, I guess I can say that the stuff I'm good at, the stuff I really want to do, the stuff that I think really gives me value in this world is all just stuff that isn't getting known, getting me a living or even anything anyone's going to know after I'm dead unless something really interesting happens in my life.  Until then, I guess I'll be doing odd jobs in the Land of Poo, hoping to keep even that and hoping for a miracle or to find some kind of meaning.

And, no, I don't have kids and don't plan on having any... I'm sure I've mentioned somewhere on here before my being aesexual.  I also don't want to bring kids into the world to deal with a crazy mom. So, no I can't look for meaning in the "normal" places most seem to find it, either.


* Regarding my dealing with other homo sapiens...I can deal with human-type entities better online, slightly. Sometimes, even there I screw up. I know that a couple of people who've read me came over from Slacktivist.  My awkwardness is why I don't post commentary there anymore.  A little while ago, I said something stupid and got slammed (to the point that a few people seemed to have thought I was a troll).  I don't think admitting defeat and apologizing even mattered - I said something dumb I was wrong to say, got slammed by smart people and now I feel like I cannot comment there anymore.  I still read the blog, I've just opted to remain silent.  I wouldn't be surprised or even blame anyone who followed my blog from there if you've left/not wanted to read me anymore because of my stupidity that day. 

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