JEFF SHATTUCK MUSIC

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For love or money? Part one of a four-part series.

(Note:  This is a re-reboot of an earlier post. I wasn't happy with the way the earlier posts were written; they weren't quite right. Argh! Sorry for being a little repetitive!)

Growing up I always wondered what I would DO for a living and the things that appealed to me most were things like money, fame and always getting the girl. In other words, while I wondered about what to do, I dreamed of the results more than the actual task. Because of this (and, let’s face it, not being all that smart was also a factor) I was a terrible student. The stuff I was being asked to study just all seemed so dull and irrelevant. I wanted to simply parachute into a position that afforded me wealth and influence and a beach house in Malibu.

Rock music seemed to be my best shot. I loved listening to it and loved playing it and it paid well. Unfortunately, I was no prodigy on the guitar. Almost as troubling, my singing voice could best be described as tolerable, my sense of rhythm and time were shaky and I had no self-confidence. I persevered, though. I played in bands, I tried to write songs, I worked on my guitar chops daily. Stardom remained elusive.

In my later teens, as the rock arena stayed just out of reach, I began to consider other potential occupations. College loomed and after that The Working World, and with rock and roll seeming to be a road to certain poverty, I needed a new dream. But what else to DO? Anything involving math was definitely out. Same with sports. I couldn’t draw… but I could write. Or at least I could write better than I could do most other things, which wasn’t saying much, but it was a start. And writing, like music, could lead to stardom, of sorts.

With my new-found sense of self, my gaze shifted from the rock arena to the writer’s desk. Specifically, Hemingway’s desk. Never mind that I had no ideas for novels, had never written much of anything I was proud of and hardly had the balls to drive an ambulance in war-torn Spain – or any other war, for that matter – I wanted to be like Hemingway. Dammit. I wanted to be the tortured artist, the pained soul who toiled over single words for days, who sought the Truth, who could delve deep into the human condition and come back with a very fine read, and yes, earn a serious paycheck and gain fame and allure for his troubles.

Thankfully, despite my bad grades and no indication whatsoever that I would ever amount to much, I was accepted to college, so against all odds, I was going to be given a chance to ponder writing and other notions for four whole years. College would be to me as Spain was to Hemingway, the place I became a different person, the place I would discover an inner, stronger, more talented me, the place where I would finally, possibly start to live my dreams.

Didn't work out that way.

NEXT: COLLEGE AND L.A.