Thursday, August 4, 2011

On Why Sometimes I Ignore People I Once Knew

Today I walked past someone I used to know. At least, I'm relatively certain I used to know him: if not, he bore an incredibly uncanny resemblance to someone who studied poetry with me five years ago.

When you major in something such as Creative Writing and Poetry during your college years, you learn something in your workshops: there are other people as talented as you. And there are other people far, far more talented than you are. It's a good place to be, really, if you have an ego problem. Because unless you truly are amazing, the ego inevitably deflates more than a little as you help other people with what they wrote and realize Hey, this is far better than anything I've done yet.

Let's face it. Not all talents are created equal.

Anyway. As I walked into work today, this guy I'm pretty sure I once knew was walking in the opposite direction. He looked like...himself...from a distance. But when I got closer to him, I pulled out my cell phone and pretended to check text messages. I didn't want to make eye contact.

I always find it odd and sort see how many of my former classmates are living regular lives. Most of us haven't done anything exceptional since we left school. Only a small number of us have published--and that includes the talented ones. I don't know how many of us still try, or how many of us have simply relegated ourselves to living something different than what we imagined for ourselves just a few years ago.

And that's when I realized: I think I do stuff like this because I'm a little disappointed with myself. At what point did I opt to stop doing the brave thing and embrace the practical but not as gutsy thing? And was that decision really as wise as I liked to think it was at the time?

I think it may be time to dust off some dreams.