A friend sent me a link to 43 Things last night. I sent back a message saying, “saw it already. Here is my entry.”
After I finished patting myself on the back for discovering it first, I forgot about it.
My 43 was only 3. Partly because I was too lazy to put in any more. Partly because those were easy to think of. I could probably think of 40 more. But maybe there is something important in those three because they came out so easy. Learn an instrument. Write a novel. Make a movie.
If I suddenly came into a lot of money, if one of my ideas actually paid off, if I didn’t have to worry about money. These are the things I would really want to do.
Maybe I should shut up and dance.
Here is an idea from my notebook. Nothing earthshattering. A t-shirt with a small breast pocket for holding your PEZ dispenser.
Back in the day, when PEZ MP3 was a blog, I half-jokingly floated the idea of a Yankees logo Urinal Cake that could be sold to Boston bar owners and vice-versa. Turns out the custom urinal cake business is real. Complete with clever domain names and spokesmodels.
Seth Godin says, “You Should Write an Ebook.”
OK. I will. For Christmas I got a Speedball Screenprinting Kit. It got me thinking about t-shirts and the t-shirt business. I made a page full of notes. I thought maybe it would make a nice little niche mini-site where I could put affiliate links and Google Adsense. But follow up isn’t my strongsuit.
I think I will take Seth’s advice and write it up as an ebook and give it away to the world. It will further my reputation as the guy with a million ideas and no follow through.
In the fourth grade I received an honorable mention in the district-wide Young Author’s Contest for my short story, “How The Turtle Got His Shell.” The following year I repeated with an honorable mention for “The Fire.” My efforts at a three-peat fell short when “The Clown Who Wouldn’t Die” received no honors in the sixth grade.
Even at ten years old, I realized two things, 1) “The Clown Who Wouldn’t Die” was overreach. I tried too hard to win an award. 2) I was in love with the idea of a creative life as much as I loved being creative. Dangerous.
The rest of my creative life has followed similar patterns. I have had small moments of success. Teachers and professors who have seen promise in my creative talents. Projects that might lead somewhere.
I wrote a short story called “Masks” for a college creative writing course. The instructor thought it was good enough to publish in a small literary magazine. I sent it off to a few places and got a few rejection letters in return.
A dozen years ago, I received a small grant to make a documentary. “Neighborhoods” was an experimental, contrapunctual, non-narrative, exploration of Detroit’s neighborhoods from the point of view of children (talk about overreach.) I gave super8 cameras to school kids and had them film life in their neighborhood. I then edited the footage together with overlapping audio interviews with neighborhood activists and street sounds. It was shown at the first annual Detroit Film Festival. But that is as far as it went.
I started writing a novel a few years back. I wrote several hundred pages of a first draft. Then my third son was born and I took a short break. Then I came up with the PEZ MP3 player and it sucked up three years of my life.
My list at 43 Things is incomplete (of course.) But what is on there is pretty much what I would have written in the fourth grade.
I have had big ideas all my life. Normally, I think about them, a lot. But I don’t follow through. One time I did. It ended up being the PEZ MP3 player.