I asked my fellow Alexandria Publishing Group members this question: Would you be able to express yourself creatively if you couldn’t write? If yes, how would you do it and what would it be like? This week the answer is from fantasy/science fiction writer TOSK (The Other Stephen King):
I have a lot of fantasies. Some I’ll not describe in public, but I’ll admit to a fair amount of creative daydreaming. Most of my waking dreams, of course, relate to my chosen creative outlet of writing. I mean, what sci fi / fantasy author hasn’t imagined what it would be like to stand in front of thousands of cheering fans, accepting the Hugo or the Nebula or another award of that level? I mean, c’mon–you have, too, right?
At the same time, I love to exercise my “mind’s eye” imagining myself on stage, backed up by a jazz ensemble, pouring my soul out through the mouthpiece of a trumpet. I must admit to a guilty pleasure, in fact, sitting at my computer when I’m supposed to be writing, earphones clamped over my head, swaying to Black Velvet while imagining the throaty melody spinning out the bell of my chosen musical instrument rather than the beautiful voice of Alannah Myles.
So, um, yeah–I’ve always wanted to be a jazz trumpeter. I was one in high school, sort of. I was the first chair of the trumpet section my junior and senior years, and I participated in several honor bands as well as the local community college concert band. I was part of the Opening Day at Dodgers Stadium honors band, two years in a row. I did a little bit of jazz, but there weren’t a lot of opportunities for a high school trumpeter to really get into “gigs” other than occasional holiday church service. Woo hoo!
But no, my mother said–she and my father had both pursued music careers, and both of them together failed to make enough money to live a comfortable life. No, she said, be an engineer, she said.
So I got a degree in engineering. I even used it for a couple of years after I left the Army. Then I became an IT guy, and then I started teaching, another career she warned me away from. You see, teachers, also, don’t make a lot of money. Ah, well.
I still have my trumpet. Some day I’ll get back into it, I promise. For now, though, I’m holding off one career you can’t make any money at in the name of getting better at another career, writing, that you’re unlikely to make much money at.
Find my website at http://www.TheOtherStephenKing.com or my blog at http://TheOtherStephenKingOnWriting.blogspot.com.