My friend G.M.B. Chomichuk (who co-created The Eye Collector) once compared the life of an artist to trying to pilot a leaky boat toward a far shore.

You set sail. But the water comes in.

You have your hands on the oars and you try to ignore it. You push and pull and rush toward the shore. You know you must get to the shore before the water fills your boat and its weight pulls you under.

After a while, you have to stop rowing. You knew the boat leaked, so you brought a bucket. You bail for a while. Then you put your hands back on the oars.

The shore seems so far, because it is, and because you keep drifting off course.

The more water you let in, the longer you row and ignore the water coming in, the longer you have to bail and the more you drift off course. You try bailing with one hand and rowing with the other, but that doesn’t work because it sends you in circles.

At the far shore sits what you want from your career. The water is what others expect from you. The boat is your art, and the oars are the work you put in.

There’s no sense in being mad at the shore, or the water, or the oars, or the boat, or even yourself. Frustration just wastes your energy, and you need all of that for the journey.

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Author of stranger fiction. Advocate of writing the wrong way. Poet laureate of Hell.

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