I worked the corporate wage slave life for… well… most of my adult life. This is not to say I didn’t have high points in my working life, because I did.
I worked for an evil aerospace company that made nuclear weapons and an evil oil company in my life. In each stop I was seduced by the creative nature of the science I was working on. Whether it was building a machine to make new composite materials or coding a new data set for advanced process control, the creative side was fed.
Personal morality aside, I was making stuff the people I worked with liked and wanted. By the time I was RIF’d in 2002, I was steeped in the knowledge of large data models, database administration, coding, and web app UI development.
I consulted for a couple of years after leaving the big oil company, mostly for other big evil companies. I was a hired gun. Got a data problem you can’t solve? Need some middleware to bridge the back office to the front? Need to scale a database? Need an interface to present data to your customers? I was your guy.
Then I had my first psychotic break. I had been off my meds for quite a few years. Why not? I was doing great. I was on the top of the world. Until I wasn’t.
I got some meds, leveled out and went to work in the public sector. I was a webmaster/IT guy/statistician/graphic designer. I was largely left to my own devices and worked on creative things again. Gone was the pressure of the private sector, replaced with the uncertainty of working for a tax supported organization.
I didn’t notice it at first. I was no longer in emotional pain, necessarily. I was in physical pain. I discovered the joys of lortab. I floated happily through the days, making stuff and generally enjoying things. Until I wasn’t.
It was a slow build. Pain? Get surgery. Pain after surgery? Get more pain pills. I had a back fusion in 2011. I think. I was pretty strung out on opiates at that point. In March 2012, I was RIF’d again. In July, I found out my brother had killed himself.
I was numb, but carried on. I found another job that I was ridiculously overqualified for. It was in sales. I wasn’t very good at it. But, I was fine. Until I wasn’t.
I fell apart rather spectacularly. I fell into deep despair. I quit my job. By January of 2013, I was non-functional. I spent the next five years not wanting to feel anything. Opiates fed that want. I didn’t care about anything and flirted with OD’ing. Though I was barely functional, I was okay. Until I wasn’t.
Many addicts and alcoholics talk about the moment of clarity. I had more of a slow recognition of my addiction. I spent everyday of the last three years of my addiction wanting to quit, but not knowing how. My fear and loathing knew no bounds. My shame fed my guilt. My pain turned inward and I knew I wasn’t okay. Until I did.
In 2018, I quit using opiates. I had spent five years doing nothing and being nothing. I had buried my creative talents for a life of self loathing. I didn’t think I would ever feel that creative urge again. Until I did.
When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a writer. Well, really I wanted to be Spielberg or Lucas or at the very least, Steve Martin. My first creative forays into photography and writing were rewarding. Then I turned eighteen and entered the world of work. I didn’t think I would ever write. Until I did.
On April 1st 2018, I was one day opiate free. I sat down and decided to write a novel. I didn’t even really care if it ever got published. I didn’t think I could actually write a novel. Until I did.
It was a bad novel (novella really) but it opened a floodgate of world building. I had an idea for trilogy based on character in my first writing attempt. So I started writing. I didn’t stop writing. Towards the end, I didn’t think I could do it. Until I did.
I am almost two years opiate free. I have written four novels and several short stories. I am currently writing two novels simultaneously. I write largely for an audience of one, my dear Diane, who patiently reads my output one chapter at a time.
So there I was two years ago wondering what to do next. I decided to be a writer. Today I write just like I coded. For the joy of making something that never existed before. I plan to keep doing it. I may never get anything published. Until I do.