Mark Terry

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Lesson For 2009

December 21, 2009
I suppose this post could wait until New Year's Eve, but I was thinking a lot about it today and yesterday, so, strike while the thought is hot and all that.

For the last 5 or 6 months I've been meeting one of my oldest and dearest friends for lunch once a month, when our respective schedules can accommodate us. Our birthdays are 2 weeks apart and we grew up across the street from each other, so LITERALLY we've known each other our entire lives. In all honesty, I can say he's like a brother to me. We grew pretty distant for quite some time, but now we've decided to make sure we're still friends, despite all the changes in our lives.

Sitting around the table with my own family yesterday, I commented that one of the things that annoys me with myself in terms of meeting my friend for lunch is that when I do, I start comparing lives. In particular, he's a fairly successful business. So am I, for that matter, but we go back to economies of scale. I don't know how much money he makes, but my minimum estimate is that he makes double what my wife and I make combined.

And really, that's okay. I wouldn't trade his life for anything. I don't want employees, I don't want his job, I don't want his responsibilities, and I don't want his family or family dynamics, thank you very much. And I keep that all in mind, that the only thing I would want of his is the money. And even then, I'm not sure I'd use it the way he does. Priorities are just different. (Although he and his family are at Disney World this week and yes, that would be a lot of fun).

There's more to what I'm thinking here. Last night I actually sat down with the laptop and watched the pilot episode of MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE. I had planned to watch it on TV when it aired, but it's on at 10 PM, past my bedtime, and although I sometimes make exceptions, I was really tired, had a cold, and was battling to make a deadline, so I skipped it. I, after all, am a MAN OF A CERTAIN AGE--I'm the exact demographic of the characters in this TV show that probably will be canceled eventually. Not that it's a bad show at all. It's probably quite good, occasionally very, very funny (in a seriously black humor way) and it is very, very true. Three lifelong friends played by Scott Bakula, Ray Romano and Andre Brauer. They're all in their late-40s. Bakula plays a fairly unsuccessful actor who's trying to find other ways to make a living than endless cattle calls, realizing that by and large he's over the hill and whatever career he might have had is probably over; Romano plays the owner of a party supplies store, is separated from his wife, has a gambling problem, and to my mind, is suffering from clinical depression more than the other two; Andre Brauer is the sales manager of a Chevy dealership owned by his father, he's married with three kids, the youngest who is a baby, & he has a fair number of health problems, including diabetes. (And his father is a total prick, but the plot gave a very honest, brutal and totally depressing picture of how some people feel trapped in lives and jobs due to outside considerations like family and mortgages).

The show was sort of depressing, though true and honest. One of the things that made me write this post today, was when Scott Bakula was talking to the barista at a Starbucks he goes to regularly, and telling her there was an open audition for a TV show called "Cry Bobby" on Lifetime and how stupid it sounded and he said, "You're a writer, right? Would you want to write for a show called 'Cry Bobby'?" She says, "Yeah, because right now all I'm writing is this." And she holds up a coffee cup with a name on it.

Well, he does go to the audition and as far as I can tell, doesn't get the gig. Anyway, you know where I'm going, right?

Be happy with what you have; be happy with who you are; know there's always somebody worse off and somebody better off than you.

I actually am aware of how lucky I am, that my writing career in many ways is really terrific, and that people who are struggling to get an agent or to get published probably just wish I would shut the hell up when I complain about the publishing business. Well, fair enough, after all.

So today I'm thankful.

I hope everyone has an excellent Christmas and I'll be back sometime after the 25th. I hope Santa brings you a pony.

Cheers,
Mark Terry

8 Comments:

Blogger Maria Zannini said...

You hit the nail on the head, Mark. I wish you continued success and a wonderful 2010.

Ref: Would you want to write for a show called 'Cry Bobby'?" She says, "Yeah, because right now all I'm writing is this." And she holds up a coffee cup with a name on it.

Dammit! I might have to watch that show now.

6:41 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Yeah, that scene gave me a little jump.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

I saw the previews, and I totally want to see that show!

I used to make 6-9 times, cash-flow-wise, than I make now, although I would just give it right back to the kids (stupid). But lordy, I am ecstatically happy. Thankful, swear to God, to the point of tears, every single day. I get choked up on gratitude, LOL. I guess I've learned money doesn't buy happiness, and the lifestyle society thinks will make you happier, and the choices society wish you would make, won't always make you happier. My mother is DISTRAUGHT at my choices this year; I keep telling her I'm happier than I've ever been, but she Just. Can't. Process. That. She won't be happy until I marry a doctor and live in a big house and get a nice job as a secretary, ROFL.

I don't think you should shut up, Mark. Although you have tons to be proud of and thankful for. I mean... you have two kids, health insurance, you can still do martial arts, and you have a SWIMMING POOL. That is the COOLEST! You're rich in my eyes! :-)

7:18 AM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

I've been whinging on about not meeting my goals for last year, which I didn't. But as I set goals for next year I realized how lofty they are, far afield from what I'd dreamed up for last year (sell 8 short stories, get an agent). Well, I sold 5 and a novella, and no agent but I still have possibilities for that, and I realize how far ahead I'm from where I was, and also how far ahead I am for many people I know.

Of course one of my best friend's books is flying off the shelves, but like you said, you can't compare.

8:08 AM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

Oh, and Happy Christmas and New Year!!!!

8:09 AM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

Mark:
The tail end of this year, I have had my heart broken in more ways than one. It has put many things in perspective. Not that I think I often lost that perspective, but I definitely am both sad and grateful as this year draws to a close.
E

9:25 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Happy holidays, Mark!

2:31 PM  
Blogger Aimless Writer said...

How true. And a great reminder to count our blessings. A thing that always gets me through the tough times.
Would I want to write for a show called Cry Bobby? Hell yes! I'd write for anything that paid! lol
The starbucks waitress says it all.
I haven't seen that show yet, but I'm curious (and a bit scared-I'm not a man but I am of a certain age). I'll have to check it out.
Count your blessings, a good reminder for any time of the year.
Merry Christmas to all!

8:23 AM  

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