I can’t say I was a loser in three successive lifetimes.
John wasn’t a loser. He had a rough life, but he was brave, resourceful, and resilient. He was no more of a loser than Longespee, and every bit the lion on the battlefield he’d been in that life 700 years before, but had opposite fortunes at birth and the nightmarish modern phenomenon of total war to contend with.
Phil wasn’t a loser. He had a difficult time (quite possibly because of fallout from what happened to John) and he never got the recognition he deserve in his lifetime, but he still became one of the last good postmodern authors (before Franzen’s indulgent ennui killed postmodern fiction).
So am I a loser this time around? I don’t know. I’ve certainly been called one more than a few times, and I don’t feel I have much to show for being a worthwhile person. I suppose the thought of not knowing my true worth until after I’ve died is what scares me the most. I want to be acknowledged within my own lifetime for once instead of overlooked or (in John’s case) damn near forgotten about altogether.
I see the same patterns emerging in this life and it really does feel like a karmic rut. I’m almost as neurotic as Phil which makes getting and keeping jobs in such a highly-competitive market full of aggressive people damn near impossible, I’m dealing with a lot of the same issues of poverty and all that comes with it, and I’m definitely making less on my books this time around. Kind of puts a damper on a literary comeback that transcends death if I’m only selling a few dozen copies of my books a year…
Will things ever change for me? I don’t know. I’m doing better in school than Phil, at least (no mandatory ROTC to worry about). I’m set to get my BA (finally) next Spring and I’ll be going for a MA or Ph.D. if possible. Maybe I’ll be able to worm my way into a comfortable middle class lifestyle and a cushy job as an administrator or academic researcher and support myself doing that while pursuing my real passion for writing fiction, like Tolkein did. Or maybe I’ll have an epic breakdown like I always do, and fail at yet another attempt to better my life because I couldn’t collect enough badges of normalcy to be accepted by this amorphous blob we call society.
I really feel like my life is teetering in the balance between ruin and prosperity at the moment. It’s a gut-wrenching feeling and I just want to know which way things are going to tip so I can brace for whatever’s coming. I can’t say I feel entirely in control of my future, and I haven’t felt that way for a long time.