Reflections From A Heretic
© Wes Gow
A year ago today (May 1, 2016), I drove to the library officially unemployed. I took the elevator to the third floor, found a nook near an outlet, opened a new google doc, and had no friggin clue what I was doing.
But I new why I was doing it.
I didn’t have this language then, but I’ve since come to realize that I’m something of a heretic. Seth Godin defines heretics as “people who look at the status quo and say, this will not stand.” Like that dang seagull up there.
Life seems to have a status quo, an invisible black hole that wants to dictate how you make your money, how you raise your family, what you do with discretionary resources (or how you acquire them in the first place), and so on.
And I cannot mother-freaking stand it. So I set out to change it, for myself at least.
My wife was working part time and we had a small financial buffer, but the pressure was on (and it hasn’t let up since). We had to make changes. I couldn’t find enough work to cover the financial gap, so my wife had to go full time. But we got insurance and I invested more time with our kids.
I didn’t stay unemployed. I taught an adjunct college course and learned to pour lattes. I sold shoes and boots, invested time in a failed startup, and generally wracked up a crap load of “no’s.”
No, we don’t want you.
No, we’re not interested.
No, you can’t work here.
I have an email inbox overflowing with no’s. Not these words exactly, but essentially.
Anyway, I started writing that day back in May 2016. I wrote in the mornings while everyone slept; I snuck out for a few hours a day when we could afford a nanny; I edited at night before bed.
A year later, I’ve completed two manuscripts: a novel (still editing), and a nonfiction piece (currently seeking representation).
Maybe they’re both crap. Maybe they’ll never see the light of day. I’m adding to my collection of no’s for the nonfiction project. In fact, I got three more agent rejections last week. In response, I printed off and distributed two more beta-reader copies, and queried five more agents that same day.
Because that’s what I do. I just freaking refuse to be taken lightly, to scare easy. That’s not to say I’m happy. I’m mad as hell, and I aim to make every last one of those no’s regret their oversight. What I am, however, is slowly coming around to the realization that everything I’ve experienced in the last year is nothing more than life itself.
Whatever periods of general peace and stability we may encounter seem to be more attributed to God’s common grace than anything close to the norm.
Regardless, I’m breaking ground on project #3 today. I’ve got some ideas, but that’s about it. I’m gonna open a new blank google doc and start writing.
COME AT ME, RESISTANCE!
So what’s your story? Where are you tearing down the status quo? What “not allowed” sign are you perching on? What form of resistance are you flipping the bird to?