Inexplicable Positivity

I’m going to do something a little different today and be positive. I know I’m all about the swearing and the pee-pee jokes and the corruption of the youth, all bringing about the end of days and the rise of the Anti-Oprah and whatnot. But this is my blog, and if I want to give the fetid puddle of afterbirth that is the internet a LITTLE hug now and then,  you can’t stop me goddammit.
As an aside, the rainbow-farty thing pictured above is supposed to be a unicorn. I typed “unicorn” and “rainbow” into google, and he popped up. I know he has no horn, but he’s probably already cripplingly self-conscious about it, so if you could refrain from calling attention to his deformity, that’d be aces.
So a few years ago, my life took something of a falcon punch to the baby-maker. I was cruising along pretty comfortably, my bride and I had bought a house, life was pretty good. And then I got retrenched from my job.
Now, let me tell you about this gig. I worked in an advertising agency, part of a huge, lumbering global network with multinational clients. When you’re a “creative” in an advertising agency, your life is a strange one. You’re given an extraordinary amount of illusory freedom. Not many people get to work a job where they’re allowed to wear jeans and a Decepticons t-shirt, pull down a lawyer’s salary and disappear to the pub for hours at a time in the name of “research”. But the price you pay for that “freedom” is a steep one.
I worked nights (sometimes all night). I worked weekends. I worked in a place where my ideas were literally for sale – people would come to the agency and slap a bunch of money down and tell us “Sell our widget – it has new doodads!”. All the energy you pour into your creations is at risk of falling victim to agency politics, or a bad meeting, or a client’s wife getting pissy because he didn’t buy her a BMW for her birthday this year. You are, in a very real way, a prostitute. But you’re not selling your lovemeats, you’re selling your ideas. Your energy. Your creativity. And the worst part? It’s to make people buy toilet paper. Or some obscene petrol-guzzling monstrosity. Or a particular brand of shoes. You’re not curing cancer or making the world a more awesome place to be, you’re trying to convince people to buy shit they don’t need with money they don’t have.
I did not like this job. In truth, I hated it so much it was turning me black inside. But those dollars, yo. That wonderful green and all the “freedom” it brings. Keeps you coming back, long after the love has died.
And then I got retrenched. It felt like a disaster. You can’t help but feel slighted in these situations. You can’t help but feel worthless. Even though I hated that job, the actual walk to the chopping block was hellish. But the strangest thing happened during the execution. As he was handing me my severance letter, the Person Formerly Known as My Boss said “Is there anything else you want to ask me for? Do you want to keep your computer maybe?”
And that was a strange question. He asked it in an odd way, and it’s stuck in my mind ever since – I can still see his expression as he spoke those words. And, dazed as I was, I had the presence of mind to agree, sure, I’ll keep my laptop, thanks fucker. And the strangest thing? That’s the exact same laptop I wrote my first novel on. It’s the laptop I received my first full request on. It’s the same laptop I wrote STORMDANCER on, after my first novel never got repped. It’s the same laptop I read my MacMillan contract on, I wrote my sequels on, that I talk to my editors and agent on. It’s the laptop I’m typing this post on, right now, as the clock ticks down to STORMDANCER’s release day and I’m busy writing book 3 of my first trilogy.
I’m not one who really believes in fate, but it’s funny how that day, that crushing moment of despair as I got handed my papers took my life in a direction I would never have expected, and has left me in a place cooler than I’ve ever been. How the machine upon which I used to pen scripts to hock breakfast condiments is now the same machine I write fucking NOVELS on – novels that the entire world will soon have the opportunity to read.
Life is a trip. Seriously.
So basically, what I’m saying is that awesome things can be born out of the suckiest situation. Unless the world is actually ending (it’s 2012, after all), whatever shit you’re going through isn’t the end of the world. Adversity makes you stronger, this thing we call life is just straight-up bizarre, and the hole you’re falling into could actually be a doorway to someplace fucking amazing. So hold tight and enjoy the ride. And remember that it is a ride.
Much love, peoples.

28 Responses to “Inexplicable Positivity”

  1. Cool story, bro. You should tell it at a party… OH WAIT! Your launch. Oh right… more stories to be enthralled from. I’m kind of shaking from so much excitement.
    Who needs THAT job when you can be a rockstar of an author! WHAT. A. LIFE! Jay, my man, time to get a story on Three Corners – I would so be weeping from the inspirational mojo of it all. Like seriously… time to email ABC!

  2. Ash B says:

    Nice little write up there and a great link. it is so true though as so many people remember that it’s just a ride and find themselves in some great places.

  3. michelle A says:

    YES!!! Love this story. Always find the positive in the shit pile I say. It hasn’t steered me wrong. I also believe in Karma….oh yeah! I do wonder what the boss/es are thinking now:) I have been retrenched too, didn’t get the golden laptop, but did score a whopping huge solar powered basic calculator, with enormous buttons?? I still use it, hehe!!
    Love a story like this, you know you will probably never be able to upgrade the laptop..hehe!!!
    I think I need to find myself a hornless unicorn with a rainbow and see where it takes me….could be fun:)
    Novels On The Run
    P.s. I express posted to you this morning , should be with you tomorrow and included express post rather exaggerated the size of the envelope, but non the less size does not matter:)

    • Lol, the Calculator of Dooooom.
      The laptop has actually started to die, sadly. Screen is fritzing, keyboard is crapping out. I got many years out of it, which is good for an Apple product. But yeah, maybe I should bronze it or something…
      Thanks for the post!

  4. hrose2931 says:

    Have you sent a copy of your novel with the Kirkus Star to that boss? Don’t need to write anything, In a way he did us all a favor. But still Karma can be a bitch and she can be a goddess! Way to look for the silver lining.
    Love the kickass unicorn with rainbow farts! See…Karma being a goddess, no horn, but rainbow farts. Which would you rather have? I’m all for the rainbow farts!

  5. Unicorns farting rainbows. It doesn’t get cooler than that.
    And according to the mayans I think we’re supposed to be dead already–daylight savings time.
    Anyway, you are frigging hilariuos. Cheers!

  6. neyska says:

    Congratulations on your retrenching. It is through the closing of doors that we are forced to find and open new ones. I’ve had soul-sucking jobs in the past. Getting ousted from one is a blessing in the long run, though it can be rough at the time.
    Awesome story. Gives an ickle writer hope. 😉

  7. Fantastic story!! I am so glad that you were able to write your stories and I am super excited for Stormdancer!! (It’s staring at me begging to be read right now lol!!) Love the non-horned, rainbow farting unicorn!! (Though wouldn’t it just be a flying, rainbow farting horse?)

  8. C. says:

    Thank you! Someone else who recognizes the prostitution-face of selling yourself… perhaps, your soul… in big corporations.
    Of course, it’s possible to do the same self-publishing, so we tell people about our work with extreme care to the characters within the story. They are *not* money-makers, but life-story-sharers. We keep that in mind.
    Funny how you’re still using that laptop. I’m surprised they let you keep it. Congrats on your success!

  9. In the same situation now. I had a soul-sucking job that I both loved and hated. Sadly, I didn’t follow through on my inclination on firing day and ask to buy the computer. Sigh. They would have required keeping it long enough to wipe their stuff and I didn’t want to have to come back for it. Man, do I miss it now. That said, I really appreciate this post. I’m still in deep dark unemployment land and mostly busy being depressed and sleeping a lot when I’m not reinventing my novel. Here’s hoping the fart rainbow is just around the corner….
    Keeping the faith. ;D

    • Well, if I can pull it off, seriously, there’s hope for the entire free world.
      While I was looking for work, i pretty much treated my writing as my job. Sat down at 9, took a lunch break, stopped at five. If you work like that, you’ll motor through a novel in no time at all.

  10. bwtaylor75 says:

    I love a happy ending…if only your book could fart rainbows everytime we open it, or ninjas with flaming swords…
    On a completely different note, do you find your advertising talents helping at all with the promotion of STORMDANCER? I bet it has, and yet another reason to look on the bright side.
    Almost time for the US launch, and I can’t wait. Will there be t-shirts? Everybody loves t-shirts. In all seriousness, congrats.

    • Yeah, it’s helped a lot. In a hundred different ways. it helps in just writing the book itself, let alone the promo work in and around it. Being able to use design programs or sketch out web pages or write trailer scripts, knowing how to build a brand, stuff like that.
      I was actually putting together a bunch of bonus content for my website last night (will be live soon) and found myself thinking “If I didn’t know how to use Photoshop, I’d have to rely on (pay) someone else to do all this shit, and it probably wouldn’t be what I wanted anyway”
      So yeah, it’s been a HUGE help.

      • Cass says:

        Oooh, bonus content! Like what? We get to dress Yukiko in various kickass outfits? Colour in a thunder tiger?
        … I’ve been looking at too many kids websites, clearly.

  11. Cass says:

    I love this story. Although I’m a tiny bit superstitious about tempting fate, so now I’m worried that your next post is going to be “OMG the fucking laptop just died!” So please make sure you back up all those files – ’cause I’m already hanging for book two.

    • lol, it actually is dying. But after I almost lost book 2 in a flash drive explosion last year, I keep everything backed up in Dropbox.
      That was an unpleasant sensation…

      • Cass says:

        Yes, bowel-clenching terror is never fun. I have a manuscript and a bit (holy sux0rz, Batman!) and I keep them on a thumb drive and also email them to myself at work so they just sit in my inbox. I figure that way in the event of anything bar nuclear targetting of the city I should be ok. :p

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