“So Jackson,” some have asked. “What happens if you hit it big?” Today, I thought I’d expand on that by describing my “If Mesh Takes Off” author success wish list, things I plan to do with success when it arrives.
To be sure, it’s a little odd to be thinking about what I’d purchase in the middle of this pandemic; I’d buy an end to our vicious reality if I could. But Coronavirus is making people face the fact that some things in life cannot be ignored, wished, threatened, or purchased away.
Maybe some day they’ll wake up. Until then, I’m thinking about what I would do with success if I’m fortunate enough to receive it. So here are some things I’ll do when the ‘Author Success Sequence’ lights are lit:
I’m Still Me
Some authors are comfortable with the spotlight, the attention, and media. I learned a long time ago that I’m not one of those people. My mental and emotional state are such that too much attention does weird things to me, so part of my success plan is to maintain myself, and my life, no matter what happens with Mesh.
That means that I’ll continue to maintain the same level of anonymity that we’re enjoying together right now. I’m Jackson, I tell stories, and I interact with people online. Media interviews and stuff? Um, that’s not going to work out for anyone. Let’s think outside the box, come up with other ways to promote myself.
The good news is that this will work out in the long term for everyone. I couldn’t tell you what Beverly Cleary looks like, but I can tell you how much the ‘Ramona Quimby’ series of books meant to me as a kid. Funny thing, if you go onto Wikipedia and look up Cleary, you can see a picture of her with her tabby who looks a lot like Mason the Author Cat.
The short answer, though, is that I’ll be following the Bill Watterson school of ‘I’m an artist, please leave me alone with my box of crayons and let me get about my business.’ Calvin and Hobbes was never diminished by Watterson’s reluctance to give media interviews and I’m confident that Mesh will do the same.
Some for Me – Some for You
Having seen what success does for people, or to them, has given me a lot to think about. It’s a common story, the fire hose of success turns an unknown person’s dream into a nightmare. So for me, it would be important to think about what I’d do with a firehose of success if it were pointing my way.
The answer I’ve come up with is pretty simple – firehoses, like any other amount of water, can be helpful or destructive depending on how you channel them. I can’t think tactically yet, so this is more of a strategic answer. I’d start by creating channels into items #4 and #7 – ‘Achieve Sustainability’ and ‘Do Nice Things for People.’
Some people see a million dollars and go “ooh, house in Malibu.” Uh-uh, not me. Just because you can pay for something does not mean you can afford it. I have no idea what I’d need in terms of food, clothing, and shelter over the next few years so I’d be focused on making Item #4 something that means I can take care of myself and not rely upon others.
The strategy for Item #7? The details are fuzzy, but I’d want to start channeling a portion of capital that allows me to maintain Item #4 and then start looking for simple, objective ways to do nice things for people. If it’s something I can do myself, great. If not, I’d hire someone who, like myself and the characters in Mesh, got screwed in life before they got started. We would focus on making Item #7 into something that can last for the rest of our lives and beyond.
Let’s Pause Here
Looking at this, I realize I need more thought into these ideas so I’ll pause here. For now, this is my “If Mesh Takes Off” author success wish list. Mesh is still out there, waiting to find its tribe. So that’s where my focus is, and I’ll return to this topic from time to time as I figure more out.