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A career is an interesting thing in comparison with a life. The career is temporary, but the life is both temporal, and temporary. The other day, for some reason, Ezra Stone was bothering my mind, as I tried to remember why he had contacted me so many years ago. I did a quick search of my Google Docs and his name popped up in a document titled — “David Boles’ Personal History” — dated December 13, 1994. That file turned out to be a wowser!
I am not sure why that document was originally written. I was three years out of my MFA at Columbia University in the City of New York. Oftentimes, these personal histories are written for grants, but this file was too personal, and specific for a grant committee — the file reads as if I were forcing myself to remember what happened for some existential reason.
One thing I noticed about the file is that it is filled with names — and that still astonishes me, that so much effort and time for what I was trying to do was not really ever about the actual work, but it was more about the personalities involved. I’m an INTJ, not really a people person, so it makes sense I had more ongoing success working alone in Nebraska than I ever did working with the creative gangs in New York City. On your own, you’re on your own to live or die; I always thrived. In the City, you a play a limited role by design, and you have to hope others are as dedicated to you, and to your idea, as you are — but it never turns out that way.
Nobody wants to pay for anything; they want every idea for free; and you always hope it’s about the work — but as you’ll see — it’s never about the work. It’s only about — the money!
This document may have been a tipping point or a turning point — two years later I started Go Inside Magazine — and began writing and publishing on my own. I could serve only the Master I knew, and no longer the talents I did not understand.
I’m a computer guy, but I grew up in the days when, if you wanted to write something, you sat down in a chair, behind a table, and you took up a pencil, and you started filling in a blank sheet of paper with something that meant something.
Too many of us are obsessed with the bottom line, making money, and taking advantage of others if it means increasing the balance of our bank accounts. America has always been about betterment — even if it means taking advantage of others to get there.
The American Way is no longer the American Dream, or home ownership, or education — no, the American Way is all about serving, and collecting, the mighty advertising dollar. Sell your eye for a penny; click your wrist for a nickel.
One of the first things my friend, and mentor — and Columbia University in the City of New York professor — Howard Stein told me, was that he was once a produced, and award-winning Playwright, and when he decided to teach other Playwrights at the University of Iowa for a living, he gave up his Playwright life because he didn’t want to compete with his students. I thought that instinct was honorable and right and the lesson sticks with me today. New plays have a hard enough time getting produced on their own, and when you’re in direct competition with your professor for stage time, and production dollars, you quickly discern how easy it is for the amateur Playwright to fail in the same professional arena as the Professor.