I have been thinking about this question for a while now: why am I so lazy in some aspects of my life and seem to be spot on and driven, in other parts of my life?
I spent over 20 years of my life in the restaurant industry. I have been in kitchens that we did over 400 covers (plates) on any given Friday or Saturday night. I have been in kitchens that served future presidents and governors. I have been in kitchens that we would start at 1:30 pm and work our asses off until midnight then drink all night long and do it all over again the next day.
We, the line cooks, chefs, busboys, waiters/ waitresses, and bar staff were all hell bent of getting shit done, getting f*cked up and having sex. Yes, restaurant people/ bar people are not the most moral of people in the world, that’s what makes it great.
I can honestly say that I do not remember some nights and other months just were crammed together into one big, long blur. Working in my first kitchen, I did not know shit about this industry. I was 18 and trying to earn some money in college. I washed dishes, bussed the tables and basically, did all the shit jobs that no one else wanted to do. I also drank tequila sun rises in the dish pit and smoked weed on my breaks. All the while, I played football at a local junior college and tried to keep up with my grades. When I played football, worked out, or was at work, I was driven to work my ass off to get through the day. When I was at home, doing homework or writing a report, I was lazy AF.
This is a microcosm of my life. I work my but off and not let anyone get in my way in some aspects of my life. In other aspects of my life, I get walked all over, I’m lazy and frankly, I just don’t give a flying f*ck about anything.
As I got older, my life changed in many ways. I had more steady girlfriends that I moved in with. I thought that I would move up in some kitchens and finally become a head chef, it happened twice, and eventually open my own restaurant. But my lazy side reared its ugly head and my girlfriend left me, I got out of the industry, and I just gave up on most things in life and accepted my lazy ‘place’ in life.
When I started to write, the A-personality came roaring back. I figured out that this is something that I can do and not get sick of. I do have my lazy days, but the story always brings me back. The desire, the want to tell the story, then finish the story is a feeling that is hard wired in me and the drive to put the story into words.
I hate unfinished projects more than anything. HHHAATTTTEEE it! I have a good 10 to 15 stories bouncing around in my head at any given time. Yep, that’s right, I have a whole mess of characters talking to me all the time. F*ck man, I dream about my characters. How sad is that. Well, I’m not sad about that, I think it’s awesome!
The drive that I felt when I worked in the kitchen is back. I cannot convey to someone who never worked under the pressure that I felt while working on a Friday night at Casey Moores Oyster House in Tempe, at 6 PM, when waitresses are stuffing the wheel full of orders, and you have 20 orders hanging and a controlled chaos is running amuck all around you. It’s f*cking incredible. If I was running the wheel, (A board that all the orders were hung on), I had to call the orders, run part of the sautee stations, make sure that the apps/salads were coming out before the mains, yell at the runners to pick up the right food or I swear to f*cking god, I will murder them, then 30 seconds later, do it all over again, for hours at a time, without a break.
Writing is like running the wheel. You have ten characters running amuck in my head. All of them have their own dialogue, actions, purpose to the scene. While I write, I see everything in the scene like a movie, playing in my head. At first, the movie is in black and white. As the scene progresses, becomes clear to me, color is added. By the end, the scene is in 3D in my head. I am running the wheel in my head, making sure that all the acters are in the right place at the right time.
I am finishing my second book. I will never be satisfied until I feel that it is as close to perfect as I can humanly get it. By ‘I’, I mean myself, my awesomely wonderful editor, Jamie, friends, family, members of Jamie’s monthly writing group and various strangers when look at me like I’m the crazy guy walking down the street talking to myself. Me crazy!? How crazy is that!
Just because I have a few dozen people in my head at any given time does not make me crazy! We all agree on this.
But I digress.
My A personality really come out when someone tell me that I can’t do something that I know I can do. I had a conversation with my mother today.
She told me that I write to much and ‘she heard that most authors take a break after writing a book.’
My mouth said, ‘yes mother, you’re right.’
My mind screamed, ‘f*ck that! I have too much work to do to take a break! Gods damnit all to hell and back, I have stories that need to come out and come hell or high water, they will see the light of day!’
I am not taking a break after I publish my second book; I’m going to drive myself harder to get out a few short stories that want to come out before I start book 3. Breaks are for those people who never survived a Friday or Saturday night as a line cook/ chef at a busy restaurant, doing a 12-hour shift.
At 51, I’m more driven to write, to put out books and short stories, then ever before. I will have my lazy moments, with all the noise in my head, those lazy moments will never last very long.
Thank you for reading this,