Monday, June 18, 2007

"The saddest thing in life..."

I just caught the last few minutes of the movie A Bronx Tale. Of course, this was a popular movie throughout my family when it first came out, as our last name ends in a vowel. (However, I am still yet to see a single episode of The Sopranos...)

The film ends with the young boy (played by an actor who, terribly enough, now faces murder charges for a cop's death) reminding us that, "The saddest thing in life is wasted talent..."

I feel like I am wasting my talent lately.

A bookstore is one of the saddest places that a writer could possibly work at. You can't really understand that until you've been there. While there is one side that goes, "A BOOKSTORE! I get to be surrounded by books ALL DAY LONG! I get to read them when it's quiet, I get a 30% discount, I get to toss around literary references and the people that surround me will understand is the most heavenly place in the world to work!"

However, there is another side...a much darker, frustrating, depressing side.

Did you know that there's a thing that bookstores do when paperback books don't sell out?

They rip the covers off, send the covers with the barcodes back to the vendor...

and put all the coverless books in the dumpster. (We were allowed to take home strips, which was one positive.)

I remember the first time I had to strip a book. It wasn't even an important book, I believe it was a little Powerpuff Girls chapter book from the children's department. My hands absolutely SHOOK as I ripped the cover off. I knew it would be much less painless if I just tore it off (like ripping off a band-aid) but it was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.

I worked at the bookstore for five years, and probably stripped, roughly, seven thousands books. I brought home as many as I could, but I never got around to reading most of them. They accumulated in the trunk of my car, until last year when I got a flat tire and had to get at my spare. I finally emptied out my trunk, and the multitudes of strips, and started reading these random titles on the train and discovered some gems that I never would have read had I not had the compulsive desire to give these strips a home...

Back to being depressed...

I like to consider myself a writer...but am I, really?! I have several completed manuscripts in my possession, and I have no idea what I am supposed to do with them. I know what a special piece of me is in all of those works, and when you are in a place such as Barnes and Noble for as long as I am, being around all those books, seeing all the names of those authors that nobody will ever really hear of again...knowing the love and hard work they put into those books, only to have them stripped and, if they're lucky, be read by a sympathetic clerk.

And the worst part is realizing that you're not so special after all. While when I was in high school, my old English teacher would refer to me as "the next Danielle (Steel)"...but the bookstore is full of those. I'm no different from any of them, and it seems pointless to even try.

Then I remember that the "saddest thing in life is wasted talent."

What have I been accomplishing lately???

My last job was rather mundane. My salary was quite less than staggering. I answered phones. I stuffed envelopes. I picked up packages. I was barely using my talents there, except for my sparkling ability to brighten up environments and make people laugh. (What??? I'm allowed to acknowledge my strengths, right?)

Since I was fired ("let-go", but, does it matter how they put it? I was fired). I haven't been doing much. At all. I send out about 100 resumes a day. (Since I got Optimum last week, I am hoping to increase that to 400 resumes a day.) I got on interviews. I rip stockings. (And, last week, I also fell in the street and got my first skinned knee in about 15 years.) I watch TV, and remind myself that I'll never be as pathetic or disgusting as those girls on the Maury Povich show who need to test fifteen men before they find out who the father of their baby is. (Then I realize I am pretty pathetic for watching it!)

I want more.

Right now, a friend of mine is getting ready to star in a Broadway show. I had appointed myself his PR rep a few years ago, and like to take some credit for his current success. (Not really.) I am so happy for him, and so excited, and yet there is a part of me that doesn't want to be the girl who just gets excited for her talented and special friends.

I want people to start congratulating ME because I've done something great. I want to be able to tell people that my book will be on stands in February, or my play is finally being produced, or I've finally landed that reality show! (Whatever, if Ashlee Simpson gets one, why can't I?)

I'm tired, and I feel like I am getting old.

"The saddest thing in life is wasted talent. The saddest thing in life is wasted talent. The saddest thing in life is wasted talent. The saddest thing in life is wasted talent. The saddest thing in life is wasted talent."

Diana Rissetto

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Diana:

Like you, I just watched A Bronx Tale and heard the words that felt like a stinging slap across the face: "The saddest thing in life is wasted talent."

I Googled the phrase and stumbled upon your post.

You say you feel like you're getting old. How I wish I could be 25 again, to have a chance to change the path I've chosen. I'm unhappy with my decisions in recent years and know that the older I get, the more locked into this fate I become.

You have all kinds of time, Diana, but you have to make it happen. No one is going to "discover" you. That was my mistake. I had adopted a "if I build it, they will come" mentality. It doesn't work that way. You've got to pimp yourself and suck up the rejection because one day, you may find an agent who will be happy to represent you.

"The saddest thing in life is wasted talent." In time, the sting of those words fades away, but it takes perseverance.