Crowded buses

busWhen I was a kid I was terrified of crowded buses. I was afraid that I would find myself away from the door, and I wouldn’t be able make my way through the crowd. Indeed, kind of a stupid thing to be afraid of, but if you think about it, the most subtle way life can test you whether you really want something is to put someone stand in your way.

It’s one of the most difficult things to do: to push people out of your way. And it’s more about fear than it’s about kindness. It’s more about self-indulgence than it is about altruism.

To a certain degree, we’re all self-centered, but we’re also afraid of others. We don’t want to be invisible, but we don’t want to be punished either. We want to be comfortable. That’s it, basically. And we learn early on that other people have the power to disturb that comfort.

Ever since I started this blog I’ve met a lot of brilliant artists, some of which are far better at their craft that I could ever hope to become at mine. And yet, they’re afraid. They don’t really want it, they just kind of want it. They’re afraid to take risks, to give something up for that great work of art they’ve always wanted to create.

They don’t want to give up the comfortable life they have in order to build all the dreams they have stored up in their hearts. They don’t want to fail, they’re afraid people are going to hate what they do, or even worse, that they won’t care.

They repeatedly tell me (and themselves) that they’re only doing this for fun. It’s just a hobby, a passion reserved for when the stars align in just the right way so they can put pen to paper. But then they tell me that it would be nice to have it all: to be able to do what they love doing most in the world over and over again, without having to worry about money or bills or taxes, they’d love to be able to show the entire world what their own minds have created. They’d love to spend the strangest hours of the night reading fan mail.

They want to inspire and change and build, but they feel now it’s not the time. They’re not good enough, or they haven’t saved up enough money. They’re too young, they’re too complicated, they’re too alone or too happy.

Sadly, now it’s never the time to do it. In fact, I have the strange habit of giving up everything in order to furiously stroll my fingers against the keyboard at the worst possible time. Just before the entire world goes bankrupt and I almost starve to death. That’s a nice example.

The truth is, and I’m afraid I can’t lie to you, it’s not enough to be really good at something. In art or life or love or whatever, being really good is only one ingredient. Luck plays its part as well, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

You know, I’ve always enjoyed to aimlessly wander around town. Sometimes I stop and stare at all these people hurriedly walking past me, and I ask myself: “Are they in such a hurry because they’re going to fulfill their most ambitious dream or are they simply running away from it?”

What you dream up matters to no one but yourself. Never forget that. But what you do about it, how you decide to act upon that dream, that’s a entirely different thing.

I figured this part early on: that’s what separates me from about everyone else. I picked one dream, just one out of the billion or so I have collected over the years, and I have decided to make it come true. And I’m not willing to give up.

If you’ve been following this blog for the past couple of weeks or so, then you know about this campaign on Indiegogo, where I’m trying to raise the funds needed to publish (and edit, and pay for advertising) my next projects.

With only 18 days left, and only 25% raised, some might say it’s a long shot. But I’m not giving up. Mostly, because it’s my dream, and I alone have to fight for it to come true. I alone have to write better every day. Which I do.

You know that really famous quote that’s sometimes attributed to Albert Einstein? “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

I’ve always thought it to be the definition of perseverance.

So, if you want to help me release my future projects, if you simply want to help me with a small contribution, you can do so here.

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20 comments on “Crowded buses

  1. mfryan says:

    I gave up a comfortable life to return to grad school. Now I’m the poorest I’ve ever been in my life, and I question my decision (often), but in the end the experience has turned me into the artist I am now. And I would never trade being an artist for the comfortable (boring) life I used to have. I wish I had the money to contribute to your projects, but from one artist to another, I wholeheartedly support your mission and your perseverance. Good luck!!!!

  2. Some insightful comments about fear. An interesting take on the famous Einstein quote – I think it depends on what it IS you are doing over and over for it to land on the side of perseverance or insanity. I’d agree that something like keeping writing or trying over and over to sell one’s work would fall in the camp of perseverance. Teaching children using a method that doesn’t get results over and over and over again – that’s in the insanity camp.

  3. a1000reasons says:

    I don’t mean this as a damper. But wasn’t it Shakespeare who said in King Lear “And worse I may be yet. The worst is not So long as we can say “This is the worst.” The Life of an artist is tough. Your resolve will be sorely tested. May you have the strength and courage to last the distance.

  4. a1000reasons says:

    I like your analogy of the crowded bus. Until today, I still have this phobia.

  5. kgbethlehem says:

    nice. the art work took me back in time for a bit. when i use to visit my mother who then worked at the art library at Washington University.

  6. Elevators. They caused anxiety. Then, I got stuck in one. Fear realized always sucks. Then it passes, you move on, conquer that stupid fear, and achieve.

  7. soteria2014 says:

    Your writing has a quiet beauty to it. You are right that it is very very difficult to do anything really well. I would have loved to contribute to your fundraiser but I think the website is restricted to the EU/US. I will reblog it on on website so that visitors from these countries can perhaps contribute.

  8. Creocogni says:

    Maybe perseverance is a kind of insanity in this world where everything is perishable, like a kind of inate remenicence of an eternal reality where it would actually make sense.

  9. binvested says:

    You have chosen your path. Thanks for sharing, and, by the way, you are incredibly gifted

  10. pli2447 says:

    Good luck Christian. Life is full of choices, how we choose makes al the difference. I am trying to choose now between comfort/dreams or abandoning those dreams to take care of someone I love. This probably shouldn’t be so hard, but it is.

  11. nsprinta says:

    Great article! The truth you reflect is poetic and real all at once. : )

  12. nrpin says:

    Yes, the fear factor is a strong inhibitor. Unknown territory can be both an opportunity or a challenge…it is all about breaking the boundary of our thoughts. Very insightful thoughts…

  13. Funnily enough i’m leaving this comment while sitting on a crowded bus. :-)

    I love this post because I believe every word of it. I was having a similar conversation with somebody a few days ago and they just couldn’t get to grips with the fact that publishing stories is what I want to do. No matter the cost.
    I’ve given up a fair amount to be where I am and I’m sure I’ll give up more. But where I am now… And where I’m going… That makes it all worthwhile. :-)

  14. Allison Jakes says:

    Wow. I am very inspired. I hope that you get the funds quickly because not only are you good enough and work hard enough, but the world deserves to read your work too. I wish I could help you with money, but I am a broke college student… So instead I will send you good vibes :) Best of luck in all you do. I’ll be routin for ya!

  15. In Korea, it’s still an ongoing battle sometimes in the subway. To get off, I pretend someone is pushing me from behind.

  16. Andy Alkaev says:

    “Are they in such a hurry because they’re going to fulfill their most ambitious dream or are they simply running away from it?” That’s the most beautiful thing I’ve read today.

  17. tracyoooo says:

    Christian, you have a way with words. It’s admirable.

  18. only1mzhicks says:

    This blog was a great inspiration to my Monday morning. I needed that truth.

  19. jasminelena says:

    Lovely post about something everyone should be aware of. I found myself faced with this fact so many times already and made a decision equal to yours for this coming year. I wish you all the best for your plans and keep up this spirit, it’s the way to success! Great work!

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