"Writing is never going to work unless you go all the way."
It wasn't what I wanted to hear.
On the surface I was a normal 32-year-old. I had a car, a job, and an apartment.
But when those annoying "go all the way" words entered my ears, I had just finished promoting The Life of Larry Chovaka...So Far, my self-published book about the life of my fictional character, Larry the self-made Weatherman.
So yeah, maybe I wasn't that normal.
My friend, Edgar Rider, who also goes by Bob Eager, was daring me to take the next step. "We just gotta do it. We gotta put writing first no matter what," he kept saying that day at the library.
Since I was a teen, my life revolved around two things: escaping Iowa AND my creative output. I had escaped Iowa; there was a slot open for my main priority.
So in August 2016, I jumped off the bridge. I quit being a Realtor and got a job as a busboy. I sold my Honda Civic and got a bus pass. I paid $1800 to break the lease on my McCormick Ranch apartment and rented a room in Mesa.
I started over with only my priorities in line.
On this life-changing journey, I lived with a roommate who stole my granola bars, I slept on a couch that was owned by a lady who let dogs poop on her floor, and I lived in the living room of a lady who thought bugs were crawling on her face. I heard stories about stolen iPads, bizarre parties, and people who had come back from the dead. I crossed paths with addicts, mooches, a murderer, and a man named Melvin who, at one time, rented half the bug lady's bed. I had potential mates look down on me and I lost contact with several old friends.
But Edgar was my buddy through every second of it. He never flinched on having my back; he led the way down dark alleys, told me shortcuts through neighborhoods, shielded me from the really weird stuff, exposed me to countless community resources, and eventually sold me his car.
We were in a situation about a week ago where I had to say, "If they attack me will you jump in?" Not even a micro-second passed before Edgar said, "Yes."
The Edgars of the world are everywhere. They're sitting on the bus by themselves. They're wearing old clothes to avoid being approached. They're in the back of the classroom pretending they don't know the answers so no one will notice them.
They've gone through things well-adjusted people don't understand.
But once you get past their defensive conditioning, their experiences will keep you entertained for years!
"Why was the midget in the shopping cart? There was a Madison Square Garden in Phoenix? What's it like when you have to sing Christmas songs with your family? Is 'Backpack' her real name? How was your open mic in the tunnel? How long have you been writing stories about barnyard gypsies? Do you think your alter ego is holding you back?" were just a few of the things that activated my mind during the time Edgar was my guide through The Underworld.
Being kind to an Edgar produces an authentic friendship built on core values. There's a depth that "So what do you do for fun?" relationships will never have. The freedom to be yourself hatches an honest vulnerability that makes society's expectations laughable.
We can find the friendships we all long for in the Edgars of the world.
Edgar loves animals and children and has several projects that will impact countless people as he reaches the apex of his self-discovery journey. As wrestling fans, we joke of a "double cross," but waking up together in the living room of a lady who thinks she could die any minute from the speck of mold on the windowsill, creates a bond that's hard to break.
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