Today is the big day that I’m publishing my first book and I can’t begin to tell you how good it feels. For years I’ve been struggling to find my purpose. I always knew designing wasn’t the profession I would grow old with and along the way, my attempts of re-invention have quite possibly caused enough entertainment to write another book about.
First it was music. When I was eighteen, I worked with DJ’s in Amsterdam, convinced I was going to be the next big thing. I wrote hideous house tracks that would make the worst wanna-be-no-talent kids cringe and presented them without shame. After several attempts, myself an my DJ (who is now quite successful in Russia – good for him) got a record deal and produced an album. My royalties in the three years after launch added up to about four-hundred Euros, which was disappointing but not surprising.
After that, it was magic and burlesque. That’s right. I’m not joking. I had the brilliant idea that magic, burlesque and singing would go hand in hand and that it would all naturally fuse into a great one-man show. I signed up for burlesque lessons and applied to be the protege of a respected magician in the UK. His name was Roy and for some miraculous reason, he accepted me. Roy gave me lessons for free and taught me the tricks of the trade.
My wife was sceptical about my career change but respect to her – she always supported me and told me I was amazing, even if she could clearly see the kevlar thread wound around my finger. Turns out, magic is quite an art on it’s own and takes years and years to master. Duh. Basically, I sucked. Maybe I didn’t practice enough, maybe I didn’t care enough but I never managed to get my test-audience in any state of surprise. There I was in my corset and fishnet stockings, my silk handkerchiefs stuck under my sweaty armpit and my boa on fire. People were always on to me. Roy was very disappointed.
A year later, I decided to devote my life to the guitar. I had lessons – again – and spent a lot of money on stuff I really didn’t need. Things that made me look professional, or at least like a struggling artist. I could see myself on stage in Nashville or behind the scenes, writing for famous country stars. Needless to say, I never got there and I still can’t play a song to save my life.
Sixteen months ago, I started writing. To begin with, it was all a joke. My wife and I had just returned from six months in Hong Kong where we had found a lesbian book in the super market. Neither of us had ever read lesfic before but it was quite an eye-opener. It had something to do with a lesbian secretary, although I don’t remember exactly what the storyline was. I was slightly down from being back and was looking for a new project on the side to distract me from the miserable weather. “I want to do that,” I said. My wife laughed but again, she encouraged me to try it. I love her for that! Since then, writing has become my obsession and I know this is something I could very happily do till the day that I die. I had to learn everything from scratch and spent every free minute writing. It was hard and I wasn’t certain I would be able to finish it but now I have the final product in my hands.
I was in the middle of a range review at work when the security guard put a box on my desk. I got so exited that I was barely able to finish my presentation and kept on looking over to make sure nobody approached the package that was only meant for my eyes to see. When I started writing, I made the decision not share my aspirations with my friends, family and work colleagues. Only my wife and a couple of really close friends know about it. After all, I might not be able to make a living out of it and I will still need a job for the coming years.
Anyway, I saw my sneaky colleague “D” eyeing up the box and gave him the finger from the other side of the room. “Stay away from my pressure cooker,” I shouted, unable to come up with another explanation. As soon as I finished, I sprinted over to my desk and took the package to the toilet. There was a feeling of utter relief and happiness when I finally had my first proof copies in my hands. They weren’t ugly and they didn’t look like I’d made a sad attempt to create something I couldn’t. They looked good! Yay!
I spread them out over the toilet floor so I could admire the repeat and pretend they were in a bookstore. Then I called my wife. “Fuck me,” she said. “You did it, looser.” As I’m writing this, the book snob is reading my second proof it and seems to be enjoying herself. I can hear her giggling.