My Own Theory of Relativity

My closest friends know that last week, I suffered an epic collapse of confidence. Every now and then, I’m struck by how hard writing a novel really is. It’s a tedious, ponderous, slow, thankless and solitary process. When your work is a series, it’s doubly (and triply) difficult. And then, when you look at the market, the expanse of it, how hard it is to break through, sometimes it’s difficult not to look down from that ladder you keep climbing up and see the ground and not note how hard that fall is gonna be. After badgering my friends so much about the issue– forcing them to respond about how grandiose my pity party had gotten and that plenty of shitty books had been published– I finally shut up about my fears and decided to try to breathe through the moment. It’s not that bad. Things could be worse. Yada yada yah. But every now and then, just when I’m at my lowest low, a coincidental thing will happen that brings my hope up a notch and helps me get out of bed to face another day without a “real job” and under the growing threat that I may never measure up to the loftiness of my dreams and goals. Last night (or should I say early this morning), I found a documentary on the Biography channel about the life of Einstein. As a young scientist, Einstein was considered a “goof off” and was passed over for the more serious jobs. His father handled most of his job search (which was unsuccessful).

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It really helped me to know that near the beginning of his life, Einstein felt like me: a complete and total failure. In fact, he wrote to his parents stating that he felt he should never have been born. The only job that he could find was in the Swiss patent office. And he got that job from a friend. The insignificance of the only job he could find in relation to the size of his brain and dreams made him see himself as a loser, a total washout. And yet, it was that job in the patent office that allowed him to sit next to the window and daydream about what it must be like to fly at the speed of light. The Swiss patent office birthed the famous equation E=mc squared. If Einstein had been a professor, focused on grading papers and educating students, he might never have given the time to his theories that the menial job of patent clerk allowed him. Still, even after he published his universe-changing papers, he still didn’t get the credit that should have been afforded him. Many of his ideas were overlooked, and he didn’t get the praise and recognition he imagined himself getting. He was sure that one day he would win the Nobel Prize, but there wasn’t really anyone else who believed in him. Except Max Planck. And that one person was good enough.

I like thinking about my current situation in that light as well. I  mean, sure, I’m unemployed. Sure, I’ve been told that there are better candidates than me for customer service jobs (which is really code for me wanting too much money for my time) and sure, I haven’t gotten a book deal yet. Being unemployed has allowed me the time to devote to crafting the Arqiyyon, and to actually finishing the damn thing. Even though I’m not a genius, thinking that  have something in common with that great thinker makes me feel a lot better than I felt last week. Publishing, too, takes time (as any writer knows). We bleed onto those pages, hoping for our readers to say great and wonderful things about all our ideas, our characters, our plot lines and our sentence structure. It can be really difficult when you realize that the stuff you write and do could always be better. When you don’t get the appreciation and recognition that you think you deserve, just think about Einstein and how, even though he was the greatest thinker of the 20th century, people still looked at him and his work and said, “Meh.”

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~ by ImaginaryCanary on July 11, 2012.

One Response to “My Own Theory of Relativity”

  1. Based on this, have you considered getting a part time job that doesn’t take much brain power? If nothing else, it’d give you the chance to meet new people.

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