I Want to be a Dentist!
Gore Vidal died this week. Google him and 35,400 results appear. Because he was the greatest essayist of his age.
Yet, he failed at the two greatest ambitions of his life: to hold high political office and be considered the pre-eminent writer of his time. He lost 2 runs for office and was judged by most literary measures to fall behind rivals such as John Updike, Saul Bellow and Philip Roth. Was he a failure in his own mind?
This all got me thinking about my own greatest aspirations. What is it that I most want to achieve in my life? What is the holy grail? And how am I doing on the path to achieving this? What is yours?
For many years mine was finding love and starting a family. Got that one sorted after 40 years wandering in the desert. Next up is publishing a book. That feat is nearly complete and said book, currently titled A Lonely fool’s Masterpiece, should be available in the next 6 months. So what’s the big endgame for the duration of my life?
The answer has something to do with raising happy kids … but that feels to abstract and too easy a response. I need a finite achievement. Like the elf in Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer who is absoultely clear that he wants to bail from Santa’s toy factory to be a dentist. What I really want to be is a philospher king. But barring that, I’ll take working author/artist with five books, at least one of them a novel, on the shelf before I kick.