Thomas Galvin
Purveyor of Fine Pulp Fiction

I write about vampires. A lot.

Right now, as I’m typing this, my manager is meeting with a producer about turning one of my novels into a TV show.

This isn’t some indie producer looking to make an art house film that fifteen people see, either. This guy is the real deal, and he works for a company that one-hundred percent of you would know, if I told you the name.

This meeting might be one of the most important things to ever happen in my life, and it’s happening on the other side of the country, where everything is completely beyond my control.

That’s not why I’m worried, though. I mean sure, I’m afraid that my manager will come back with a “no.” But I’m more afraid that he’ll come back with a “yes.”

Which is stupid. This is one of the biggest opportunities I’ve ever had. It could completely change my life.

And that’s why I’m afraid. I’m an engineer, and I’m trained to work with systems, with algorithms. Right now, I have a very neat algorithm running my life. I wake up, I work out, I go to the office, I come home. I’ll be completely debt-free, no school loans, no credit card, no car payments, no mortgage, in about five years. I have a nice little IRA going, and I’m on schedule to retire when I’m fifty, with enough money to live forever.

If this deal goes through, I’d be debt-free the moment the check clears. And then everything would change.

I don’t know where I’d live. I don’t know what my schedule would be. Instead of cashing a paycheck twice a month, I’d have to set up my LLC to pay myself a salary. I like to think I’m better at math and money than the people who win the lottery and go bankrupt three years later, but I can’t prove that I am.

There are a hundred different things that would change, and I’m not even aware of most of them.

And then there’s the risk. Nothing in television is a guarantee. This show might go on to become a cult hit. It might go on to become a regular old six-seasons-and-a-movie hit. Or it might get canned after three episodes. There’s no way to tell. I’d be betting my future on a maybe, and as an engineer, that’s just not acceptable.

But I’d do it anyway.

Because this is the chance of a lifetime, and fear can go fuck itself.

19 responses to “I’m afraid of success”

  1. Eve says:

    How incredibly exciting!! Best of luck to you. You’ll do just fine. You’ll write a new algorithm. 🙂

  2. Jenna says:

    That sounds very understandable. As someone who has a family of her own and is a fellow “grown up” (and I use the term liberally), I get how routine is a security blanket. The entertainment industry isn’t so much a sure thing.

    You seem like you’re a level-headed individual. You’ve got things in order, and if they change you can put together a new game plan and go with it. I think you’re as prepared as you can be. Take the chance.

    • thomas says:

      Thanks Jenna. I think I’m fairly level-headed, too. But I like patterns and certainty. Trouble is, “safe” and “lucrative” are generally separated by pretty wide distances.

  3. Rachel says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve commented on here. This is really big news, and I completely understand your fear. Change is scary, even if it can seem to be for the better. The fact that you’re anxious shows how grounded you are as a person.

  4. First off, congratulations and good luck!

    Mostly, I’d just say “cross each bridge as you come to it.”

    For now, you have your ass at work on time every morning, give the boss a good day’s work and make sure you don’t say out loud what you really think of him until you’re sure he’s out of earshot.

    You’re right, what’s going on in Hollywood is out of your hands. Someone is sitting at a poker table with your chips and the anticipation/uncertainty will jack your heart rate. All you can deal with is what’s within your reach.

    When it comes through for you, you approach it the way you celebrate releasing a novel.

    Start on the next novel.

    You’ll write a new life-routine. I don’t see you changing a whole lot. You might make TV, but TV won’t make you.

    And everybody who’s older that you, from yours truly to the little old ladies I take care of in nursing homes will tell you: You never end up regretting the things you did, you end up regretting the things you didn’t do.

    I told a rep from Arista Records “thanks, but no thanks” in 1994.

    I’m still waiting for the next offer.

    • thomas says:

      Damn, man. That’s a mother fucker of a story. And good advice. I’m going to go crank out a few pages.

  5. Sofia says:

    Wow! Great and exciting news Thomas!
    You’re right, it could end in many different ways and tv audiences are fickle things but I agree with Brian; you only regret the things you didn’t do. I understand you in a way, I’m a fan of control and a certain degree of predictability as well, but DAMN! Imagine how much fun you could have with something like this! I don’t think it would change the person that you are and I hope you won’t be to cool for us little people when your big and famous 😉 And all that money won’t mean you’ll do something crazy like run out and get a light sabre and a fire breathing, full size, mechanical dragon. Oh, wait… No, all joking aside, it’s really great and if everything works out you’ll find a new routine and new ways to organize life, don’t worry. It’ll be crazy but worth it 🙂

    Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

  6. Brittany V says:

    That is incredibly exciting! Good luck!

  7. Katie says:

    Wow! This is huge, I see why you’re scared. I wish you luck! Remember to not stress things beyond your control and you’ll be fine. <3

  8. kim says:

    Congratulations! that is incredible Thomas and if there is one regular person like us folks out there who can kiss ass at this tv gig it is you! I look forward to being an avid viewer as I am now an avid reader of your work 🙂