The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

The Perfect Place

| 21 Comments

I’ve mentioned before about how much of my career has been defined by extraordinary luck.  I was just reflecting on this again.

As a writer, one dreams of awards, of #1 NYT bestsellers, of the Hollywood money copter appearing and dumping barrels of cash.  Nice enough fantasies, but some things—I’ll leave it to you, gentle reader, to supply the specifics—are better left as fantasies.

For reasons I don’t feel like going into right now, I’ve recently been in touch with a number of other writers, many of whom are significantly more successful than I am.  They have layers between them and the rest of the world.  They need these layers so they aren’t bothered so much they can’t do their work.  I don’t need layers.  My email address is fairly public, I’m active on my Facebook page and Twitter (and here) and interact with people as much as I feel like.  I don’t have to buffer myself.  And, with all of that, I make a living.  Thanks to the level of success I’ve had (and to Patreon, and the amazing people who’ve been kind enough to kick in), I’m caught up on rent, I can buy groceries and tobacco, and I can even take vacations once in a while.  Would I like to be able to buy a Tesla?  Sure.  But it would come with all sorts of things I don’t want, things that would be bad for me.  In the worst case, I’d have to isolate myself at conventions.  That would suck.

I’ve been fighting off mild depression for the last year.  Shit happens, I’ll get over it.  But it helps to remind myself that, with one thing and another, I have stumbled into the perfect place.  I can write here, and enjoy the people and things I love while doing it.  Overall, I’m one lucky son of a bitch.

skzb

Author: skzb

I play the drum.

21 Comments

  1. I’m sorry you’re dealing with depression, and hope you get all of the support you can and appropriate medical care and so forth.

    I wouldn’t mind if you were more successful if only because I love your writing and am sad to see it receive less appreciation than it deserves. But I’m sure it is nice to maintain a genuinely personal connection with your fans.

    Best wishes,
    -Mike

  2. Many people think it’s impossible to look at richer people and have no desire to be one of them. They do not understand what matters.

  3. You, sir, are both talented and wise! A rare enough combination in the world today! May you continue to … Live long and prosper!

  4. I for one deeply appreciate that you can be in that perfect place without unnecessary buffering, and hope it continues for a goodly long while. Life wouldn’t be the same without your random exchanges of puns on Twitter.

  5. You have been a role model to me on your Outlook towards life. In your writing and on social media.

    I would agree you have hot the perfect spot based on your description. To have a career that one enjoys, that pays the bills of a modest lifestyle and leaves time for fun and exploration is something most super successful people don’t have.

    The balance is hard to strike, and lean too far one way your spare time evaporstes, lean the other way you can’t make ends meet.

    Congrats on acheiving this. Wish you the best in life going forward.

  6. The older I get, the more I see my needs & wants the way you are describing.

  7. As a concerned and informed citizen of the United States in the year 2018, I believe that some level of depression is quite warranted. I am very glad you are dealing with yours because you are a hero of mine. And, selfishly, I really want to read “The Last Contract” even though you haven’t written it yet.

  8. It’s cathartic to take stock of the good things in life – both big and little. I can only wish your connections to the world stay intact, and that they bring you even half as much joy as your books have brought me.

  9. “Close your eyes and pretend it’s all a bad dream. That’s how I get by.”
    Captain Jack Sparrow

  10. So much love.

  11. I’m glad things have worked out well for you. I expect nearly all thinking people are at least mildly depressed these days. A crazy government does bad things for our moods.

    As you point out, appreciate the things you have and what is sufficient. Keep writing, I want to keep reading. Vlad never fails to cheer me up.

  12. At the risk of sounding thoroughly sappy; we (your ardent readers) are the lucky ones. After discovering and tearing through Phoenix at twelve years old, I bugged the manager at Kenny’s News Agency and Bookstore outside of Philadelphia on a weekly basis until he procured all of your previously published works over the course of the next two months in 1990. I have read, and still manage to make time to re-read, all of your works on a nearly yearly basis and have never considered that time anything less than wondrous and well-spent.

    Depression’s a bitch; hope this snippet of gratitude helps. If not, personally I’ve found good tequila to be the answer to most of the news I read today…of course I may be turning into an alcoholic, but hey, good with the bad, right?

  13. Could you update your scheduled appearances? I so wish to see and hear you again, whether as a panelist or musician or reader or simply as yourself. I wish I could send a measure of happiness to you in return of all the gifts of spirit your stories have conveyed.

  14. A thousand times this: “Many people think it’s impossible to look at richer people and have no desire to be one of them. They do not understand what matters.”

  15. Who needs layers when you’ve got a hat, Doc and Captain Blondbeard?

  16. For what it’s worth, I think you absolutely deserve awards, #1 bestseller slots, and barrels of cash. Your books are amazing!

  17. My sentiments exactly, I just re read the first 14 in the series while doing my breastmilk thing at work after my kid was born. I found Jhereg at 12 years old, that’s nearly 20 years ago now, and that series is still the most enjoyable and revisited collection in my massive library :). It’s pretty amazing to be able to read and participate in the blog of someone that has had so much impact in our literary development, right? Maybe he only has 31 followers, but I’m STOKED to be one of them. So cook Derek, glad I wasn’t the only 12 year old losing my mind to find all his books haha!

  18. I’ll add that depression can have a silver lining. When I’m depressed, I just kind of go with the flow and later I find some creative thing that came out of it. So, maybe you are about to give birth to some new creative endeavor.

  19. Isn’t it time for Chreotha, or Lyorn, or Tsalmoth? That should get you out of depression. I don’t think I will live till the end at the rate you are going. Please!

  20. A Tesla? Even in my ‘a guy walks up and hands me a billion dollars’ fantasies I don’t think I could bring myself to support the most overt example of “actually, capitalism is good and will save us all” techbro worship in modern society, and that was BEFORE they started catching on fire.

  21. skzb

    Well, obviously, you can refuse to support whomever you wish. For me, if I only wanted to support the “kindlier, gentler capitalist” I’d be homeless, car-less, naked, and trying to subsist on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

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