Monday, April 27, 2009

"The Independent Author"--April 28th, 2009

"The Pursuit of a Dream; The Bain of my existence"

I read a quote once by a man named Albert Camus. I apologize for not knowing anymore about him--or researching any further than this simple mention here in this article; but what's relevant is this: He was once quoted as saying, "It's not the struggle that makes us artists, but art that makes us struggle." I considered those words heavily when I first found them and more so as my career has progressed along with my personal struggle to come to terms with my life as an artist--my life in acceptance of my gift. I am fond of quoting Mr. Paulo Coelho, author of my favorite literary tale: The Alchemist, when he said, 'We who fight for our dream suffer far more when it doesn't work out, because we cannot fall back on the old excuse: "Oh well, I didn't really want it anyway.' We do want it and know that we have staked everything on it and that the path of the personal calling is no easier than any other path, except that our whole heart is in this journey." He ends this magnificent passage with, "...we warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that the Universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we may not understand how."

I cannot tell you how many times I have mentioned this passage, either on my show or in written word, or even more so when I am face to face with someone asking me about my life as an author. It's the most common question I get with relation to my life: What is it you do? I usually laugh and tell them I'm a writer or an author. I tell them I do many things, most of which is study, research and practice learning to perfect a gift--a God given gift. I believe that great gifts come from Heaven above and never once have I denied this simple truth. I am thankful for the gifts I was given and in a sense I pat my own back for having the courage to follow the passion of my heart. I am blessed in a life that at times I would not wish on those I love. To live a life of servitude to the very heart of your existence, --a slave to your trade--is a lonely life indeed. For years I tried to understand what it was that made me so different, such an oddity. What was that special something if you will that singled me out in a crowd or secluded me from the masses entirely? It can't be in any way that I am better than the next man or woman, for if I truly believe my gift comes from God, then I have to appreciate that I have no right to boast of my abilities without acknowledging that I am nothing without my gift or of little significance without recognizing the One who so graciously bestowed this gift within my life. I would cease to exist in a world of committed excellence if I chose to ignore this simple truth. And for every day that passes that I am thankful and happy in my state of being, I am tormented for simply being a creative soul.

Life is a struggle and the battles and wars that are waged within our lives are all necessary steps towards progression and growth. We can spend a lifetime learning how to become our very best and that would not be a wasted life. I don't believe in overnight success but rather I am committed to dubbing the phrase of Mr. Jeff Olson who says, "Success is a process, not the destination." I consider the actions of men who preach, of men who teach the holy gospel. I consider also those who work in professions where you are required to give so much more of yourself than those who opt to live a normal life. I have been blessed in my life with the people who have come to call me friend. I am as open and naked as a book and still as private as a locked door with no key. I choose very carefully who I will share my inner secrets with and then throw those same secrets in the face of the world when I feel the world has turned its back on me. I have come to call a new friend special to me. And in recent conversation with her we discussed this very concept of struggle and balance and what she calls the ionic forces that stabilize our lives. In getting closer to her, she has come to know sides of me that aren't apparent on the air with relation to my show, The Soul of Humanity or within words on this blog. I have struggled to be completely honest with people as I hide behind my laptop and the colorful layout of my websites. With poetic flair and passion I have tried to inspire the masses to believe, for I struggle with my own relentlessness and desires to press forward, one more step, one more try, within the journey of my own life. And for every small feat of accomplishment, there is a new hill, a new mountain of struggles waiting to be overcome, all in the name of success in pursuit of a dream that is also the Bain of my existence.

I cannot tell you why I am writing this particular article except I felt obligated to be honest, more so than usual with those who follow my words, my story, my journey as an author, a talk radio host and an artist. I share every accomplishment as though it were truly great and I hide those setbacks and mountains of doubt that tower over me like a storm cloud meant to rain on only me. And for as much as I try to be a good salesman, promoter and marketeer for the efforts of my career, my life, my business and my future, there is still a dire need to tell the complete truth. There is a desire to say that for every moment of success I create with the wholehearted efforts of my being, there is an exact moment I wish I could throw it all away, quit, and pretend it never happened. There is a side of me that wishes it ignored the call of the Lord, the beckoning of my soul to take a stand for what is right, what is pure and what is good. Because to follow the true path of our purpose in this world, means we have to strip away everything we have ever wanted in lieu of the struggle that will chip away, tear down and rebuild us in the image of what we were meant to be when we were born. And that is the hardest part of it all.

There is a reason artists struggle so much. We struggle so that we can identify with a world that only knows struggle. No one would believe or encourage or support the person who was given everything only to compare a struggle when they couldn't have more. The world identifies itself the most with those who rise up from the ashes to meet ruin in the face and overcome it with mere tools and simplicity as if somehow we too have slayed the dragon. My life won't always be this way but it is what it is. I live a life of the artist who struggles to come to terms with a purpose and a plan for my life. I cannot hold down a 9-to-5 job because it isn't in me to be caged within a cubicle or confined to time limits on my performance. I cannot share in the delights of a steady paycheck within the world of false securities. I am only normal when I write. Meals are something I earn and I am overly gracious when I get them, for they aren't steady. Someone asked me recently, how will you know when you are becoming more successful? I answered simply: When I can eat three meals a day, pay my rent and afford the lifestyle of contribution that has been set before me, the lifestyle required of me now that no longer comes free. When I can sleep and rest at night because I am not afraid of how I might survive the next day, after having spent hours upon hours working for free. When I can survive in this lonely solitary world utilizing the gifts and talents I have been given and fend off the word loser, then I suppose I would have crossed that hill, stumbled through the mountain and washed off the rains that have covered the sunlight within my life.

There is duality that is Bobby Ozuna. There is the man who stands for what is right, built only to inspire a world to believe in a cause of Good. Then there is the other side of him, the one that wishes only to tear down the walls of the world around him and throw it all away for spite. I believe our greatest artists of the world, the deep thinkers, the poets, the writers, authors, painters, sculptors, musicians and dancers have all suffered greatly. They had to. For without the suffering they would not appreciate the harmony and balance that comes with overcoming the struggle. I suppose now the question is: How long will it last? How long will I be a slave to my heart's blood? Only God knows and only time will tell. See there, I already feel better...

~Bobby Ozuna




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17 comments:

Chris Wood said...

Very moving words and an admirable set of sentiments - things I needed to hear at the moment as I'm heading back to paid work soon, no longer able to live as I was (am) doing.

It's scary, in a word. I am afraid. But I do know that when I can next break away from hired work, I'll find the air a little sweeter and the freedom a little freer. Even when the struggles are immense inside.

Saul Bellow mentioned the phrase "... those journeys behind the lines to bring back beauty." What an admirable sentiment. Consider yourself linked to.

Anonymous said...

It is sad, in some ways, but writing is not about the money and if it is, then the enjoyment has flown the coop. I have been interested in writing all my life, but not so much for the immediate gratification as much as the writings I can leave behind for future generations. As a youngster, my mom gave me a book every birthday and every Christmas and when I asked her who wrote it, she almost always told me, "He is dead now!" This has stuck with me all my life and I lived through those books, but more importantly, the authors lived on through me. I am sure, some of my own books of today, are from ideas garnered from those books which were all written long before my own three quarters of a century. As soon as I retired from teaching, I sat down and began my payback for all the great adventure stories given to me by people who lived long before I was born.

Dr Robert E McGinnis

Bobby Ozuna said...

Chris:
My very special friend I referenced in this article told me recently, as I ran to her to disclose my private fears and anxieties for my life. She said:
"Artists go through hi's and low's. It's why we are only able to do what we (are meant to) do."

I am pulling for you brother, as much as I believe you are pulling for me. The hardest decision within the struggle I suppose is this: If the world is waiting on us to take a leap of faith and act on our own beliefs for the sake of the story we can share with the world when we overcome our obstacles...then we have to find the wisdom to discern between one more step and one more day or quitting all together in lieu of eating and sustaining a livlihood as responsible, normal people.

Thanks for sharing...

Bobby Ozuna said...

Dr Robert E McGinnis:

You are right about one thing, writing is NOT about money but about sharing and giving and expressing life through written word. But it doesn't make it any easier when you only find balance and a sense of being normal when you are enthralled within the world of words. Living my life as an indie author/book publisher has been my greatest struggle--a struggle to become something significant with this one life I have been given and a struggle to not become the 'loser' I have been dubbed for my worldly lack of responsibility. Perhaps one day my words will move someone long after I am gone...

Thanks for sharing...

Bobby Ozuna said...

In response to...
Gary V. Tenuta (posted on Amazon discussion board) who said...

"I thoroughly resonated with the thoughts, ideas, concerns and emotions expressed in your blog post, Persuit of a dream, Bain of my Existence. Been there, done that. Correction... been there, doing that. I've always been a slave to my artistic gifts. Those gifts have always been the source of the greatest joys of my life as well as the source of my greatest frustrations and hardships in all the ways you mentioned. I don't know what else to say, really. You pretty much said it all. I'll just raise a toast to all of us creative souls and say keep on truckin' because... well, what else are a ya gonna do? At least we all have each other. Just one big family of creative outcasts in pursuit of the dream that's the bain our existence."


Gary:
I think the hardest part for me at least is this: Knowing I am standing at yet another crossroads, where Life and its array of responsibilities are waiting in expectance along side the Dream and all she has to offer in her magnificence and glory and that each one is requiring of me a decision. Do I continue on with this dream, believing I am only one foot, one step away from accomplishing something great? Or do I abandon all sillyness in spite of doing what I am responsible for doing, and walking away from the Dream entirely? Can I say I did it once or will I say I remember when? That I suppose is the question of the day.

Thanks for sharing...

~Bobby Ozuna

Zulmara said...

wow...what an awesome write...this is so profound and so deep...and it says so much of what all of us feel...

Thanks for putting it into words so eloquently...

Cuidate...

Zulmara

Chris Wood said...

Do not quit! I think that's the first complete no-no part of the whole writer deal. It is NEVER acceptable to quit. You will have to wade through some shit. I do not like the idea of going back to my dayjob - teaching is hardly an easy option - but it's happening and that's that.

I will still write. I will still dream, and some people will consider me childish or irresponsible or whatever.

Do what you need to do, but the words must stay.

Remember, it's just a ride ...

Bobby Ozuna said...

Zulmara:
There you are...I've missed your feedback...

I was fighting such a mood yesterday and nothing I could do--not time with my kids, not a nap, not even heavy heavy prayer time could temper the sting in my heart...and yet, when I could bare it no more...I wrote it, late at night when I should have been sleeping...

Thank you for sharing...I woke up this morning unsure of why I posted this article...but it seems as though I am not alone, in my lonely road as an artist...

Thank you for sharing!

Bobby Ozuna said...

Chris:
Where did you come from brother??? I meet people and let them in my private world and my life and my existence is overpowering to them. It's emotionally draining I think to be around me or talk with me too often, as my high's are higher than most people will ever feel in a lifetime and my low's will make you wonder how I dragged myself out of the coffin to start my day...Its the duality of Bobby Ozuna... If I could change it I would, but for reasons beyond myself, I cannot. I had to share this with people...and let them know the truth of the matter...that being normal is the wish but being different is the reality of my life...

Thanks Chris...

Jessie O. said...

Bobby it is always refreshing to read your post. I have myself been struggling lately, not able to put into words the things I want to purge. Yet I continue to journal every night (or most nights) and continue to rewrite and reread my work in hopes of finding that high I had at one time when, as you know, I was writing like there was no tomorrow. Still I know that just because I am in a "low", as you put it, that God did bless me and this "slump" is preparing me for something yet to come. I am always grateful to be so blessed with my talent and every time I feel like giving up, I get a nudge from the universe and today it was as simple as being called friend. Thank you Bobby for being so open and honest. God bless you man!

Bobby Ozuna said...

Jessie:
What can I say to a really good friend and supporter? I always hold my breath a moment when I venture as far as to lay my feelings out there with this blog...and then, like tiny rays of sunlight, my most trusted allies in this daunting, grueling world come to my aid and tell me it was okay.

I suppose in the end we have only two choices...do it or die trying....

I haven't made up my mind yet which one the Universe wishes for me yet...

Thanks girl! I hope you are loving your new world!

Anonymous said...

Bobby, I left a comment earlier, but cannot see - so I start again.
The power of the written word is an amazing thing. For those of us who hold it to a higher standard it is magic. To be able to take these 'mere' letters and write stories, poems, books, that literally touch people.
The energy to write doesn't acknowledge 9-5, or 'you want fries with that'.
While there are many who try to juggle work with passion, it is hard, and sometimes completely impossible.
The Muse calls - one must follow.
God has given you a talent - use it as you need to honor His gift.
The rest will fall in its place, and hopefully things will ease.

ellen in atlanta said...

Bobby that was ellen leaving th 5:31 post that says anonynous - why it did it, who knows?
Have faith.
e

Bobby Ozuna said...

Ellen:

So true...so true... One day I will come clean and tell more of the story behind my relationship with the Lord but I will offer it now in chunks...baby steps... baby steps...

As far as my present state, I know understand the basis for most of my struggle--the struggle we all must endure--but I wasn't understanding the further, more insightful and gut-wrenching struggle I have been dealing with lately until I had a moment of enlightenment. It took many long hours of prayer over the course of the past few months to understand and now I get it... it has been my disobedience and reverence to God in the gifts he has given me that has put me in this place of worry and doubt. What I should have done all along is acknowledge my abilities as God given and then utilize my gifts for the benefits of EVERYONE who needs a voice, a platform or a herald to announce their struggle and their success.

Thank you so much! I hope you listen in tonight!

Rai Aren said...

I am reposting my comments from the Amazon forum:

********

Bobby,

What a great blog post - very heartfelt...I, like others here on this forum, really identified with it. I have felt the same struggles, powerfully so, ever since I set out on this path to be a novelist, many years ago. I have agonized over so many things, questioned so many things, struggled with decisions, wondered and worried about the future endlessly, but one thing has always rung clear - I love what I do as a novelist, I love everything about it, it fits me like a glove, in a way nothing ever has, it is perfect for me, yet it exacts a heavy price. And, once you set out on this path, you can never really go back (I would never want to) it changes you, it becomes an inextricable part of your being.

I'm still figuring it out, still struggling, still confused at times, sometimes I'm up, sometimes I'm down, but I know that my life has been made far richer in a myriad of ways because of its presence in my life, and I am only learning to appreciate it all fully as I go. Sometimes I make sacrifices for that dream, sometimes I will have to sacrifice spending every waking moment dedicating myself to it, agonizing as that may be.

In the spirit of things, I thought I would share these quotes:

"The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been." -Alan Ashley Pitt

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - Eleanor Roosevelt

I really loved the section you shared from Paulo Coelho's 'The Alchemist':

"...we warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that the Universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we may not understand how."

I felt better just reading that & reading your blog post :)

Thank-you for sharing.

Rai

Abbie Sonntag (www.myspace.com/dirtmatters) said...

THANK YOU.
THANK YOU.
THANK YOU.

I am talkless.

So glad to know you are alive out there, somewhere, doing what we do.

Never stop.

EVER.

Abbie

Bobby Ozuna said...

Abbie:

Thanks for the kudos! I hope you stay connected and subscribe to this blog and become a continual supporter. Thanks for stopping by...I hope you get a chance to listen to some of my archived shows on The Artist First homepage: http://artistfirst.com/bobbyozuna.htm

Thanks!

~Ozuna

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