Suicide Season

‘Ignoring your passion is slow suicide. Never ignore what your heart pumps for.’

  • Kevin Claiborne

Let’s play a game of Russian Roulette.

You and I are seated at a table in a smoke filled room; there’s an old six shooter positioned perfectly between us with a single round floating in one of its chambers. The heavy aromas of mildew and fear cling to your skin causing you to perspire. We’re alone. There’s no one here to save us; the only entrance to the cell is destined to remain locked until only one of us remains. You’re scared. So am I. Our lives have been reduced to this moment where we’ll play a game of chance to see who survives. Nothing else matters right now. It’s just you and I.

There’s a coin beside the gun. We’ll flip to see who shoots first. I pick it up and use my thumb to send it spinning through the air. You call heads. It lands tails side up. I shoot first. I pick up the gun, spin the barrel and stare you dead in the eye. It’s nothing personal. We just lucked out you and I. Our only chance of survival is to have the six shooter’s hammer strike home while the weapon sits in the palm of our hand.

My arm lengthens as I draw down on you. Time slows. Your blood thickens in your veins, your heart rate triples in a desperate attempt to push it through your body. Your hands are clammy. You’re freezing despite the humidity in the room. What do you think about in this moment of absolute fear? What decisions do you live to regret? How many passions were left wanting before you found yourself locked in a room with an irrational writer and a gun?

The answer should be none. We should be living every day to the fullest. Regret should be just a word in the dictionary. But it never is. We humans are creatures of hindsight; we are forever bound to look back at moments and note missed opportunities and failures.

Did you fail to chase your dreams? Or tell your lover how much they mean to you? Were you disappointed that you didn’t invest in those risky shares that ultimately paid huge dividends? No matter what you thought of in your moment of fear you did have regrets. At some point you settled for something other than your true passions and now when your life flashed before your eyes you wished you’d never been so foolish.

You ignored your passions and committed slow suicide. The final scene of your self-sabotage was merely a crazed writer with a gun. Every single sacrifice you had made prior to you and I being locked in a room was what lead you there.

It’s a loaded statement I know. To say that you are committing this form of slow suicide is sure to anger some; and it should. When Kevin Claiborne coined the expression he wasn’t trying to make his audience feel good. He was trying to piss them off. He wanted readers to sit back from their desk, or rise from their armchair and say, “Screw this guy. I’ll show him who’s ignoring their passions.” He wanted anger and emotion. He wanted you to rise and stop settling for less than you deserve. So do I.

It’s why I locked us in that damn room. It’s why I put a busted old six-shooter on the table and told you there was a single round in the chamber. It’s why I ground back the hammer so that the round would never fire. I don’t want to kill your dreams. I want to piss you off to rouse you from your slumber so that you actually start chasing them.

The only thing standing between you and your dreams is the excuses and sacrifices you keep making. You’re comfortable and I get that. I am too. But this state of comfort is suicide season for anyone who dreams of becoming something more. My comfort comes in working a cushy job where I earn a decent wage for doing very little. I could sit here for the rest of my life and allow the flames of my passion to die. I could let the momentum with my writing fade until all that’s left is stone cold ashes of what could have been. Or I can douse the flames of creativity in petrol and watch it burn brighter than ever.

It’s easy to ignore a passion and to deny your heart the opportunity to accomplish what it pumps for. But to do so is a travesty; it is to commit emotional and creative suicide. Think back to those moments of fear when you were staring down the barrel of that shitty old six-shooter. Think of the regrets that haunted you. Remember that spike in your pulse as you fretted over an end that you knew was ultimately inevitable. Do you want to look back on your life and shudder at the comfort you achieved by allowing passions to die? Or do you want to be someone who set the world ablaze and turned a passion and a dream into a reality.

Commit emotional suicide, or step outside your comfort zone and follow your dreams. The choice is yours. You wouldn’t play Russian Roulette with an unstable writer and a loaded gun unless you had no other choice. So why do we actively chose to do so with our dreams?

Author: Chris Nicholas

Chris Nicholas is an author from Brisbane, Australia. He has published two novels, and is currently working on his third.

260 thoughts on “Suicide Season”

  1. And that’s exactly how I was – I lived my life to the full. When I thought I was going to die with Cancer – my only regret was that I hadn’t passed enough of my knowledge on to my family – but I survived – and now I am just putting my house in order. Any thing else is a wonderful bonus.

  2. Argh. Well. I regret. I still regret. Things I don’t do out of fear, things I don’t do out shame, things I don’t do out of unwillingness to move my ass :/ Great post, does put things in perspective.

  3. It took me longer than expected to come up with a list of regrets, surprisingly it started with not being able to play the song “regret” by Anathema. Actually I wish I was able to cover quite a lot of songs. I’ll keep this experience in mind when I try to learn more advance guitar lessons. Is this a thought experiment though? Quite useful if I may say so. Well done!

  4. Nice writing and interesting twist in the plot. Somethins to consider: we’re not all neurobiologically able to live our passions. Another thing to consider: not all passions are worth pursuing them, and not doing so doesn’t mean you’re not living up to your greatest potential. For an alternative prspective, you might have a look through my blog, which chronicles my own struggles to living life to the fullest. You could also get a sense of my life-long struggles with suicide in this post We are fellow writers and so share many of the same struggles. As writers, of not as humans, we should strive to understand the myriad ways in which human life plays out—ideally without judgement. I look forward to following your blog and reading more of your work. All best, kjns

    1. Is it possible that following your passion could lead to suicide. As for death, it is I disputable, that following your passion has on many occasions led to death.

  5. Brilliant piece. I feel lucky to be able to say I could die now with no regrets. I’ve spent almost my entire adult life following my heart. It hasn’t always been easy but it has always been true. I’m now 65 and feel blessed with the life I’ve had, and continue to have. I didn’t set *the* world on fire, but I did set my own world on fire, and that’s enough. More than enough.

  6. Excellent post. Glad I found your blog. The feeling you conjure up in that locked room with a loaded gun should be the feeling anyone with a dream has any time they are told to ‘stop reaching for it and settle for the mediocre like the rest of us’: a pulsing anger that wells up deep from within for having to justify having a dream. The majority of adults in our lives, when we are children, will tell us we can be anything we want to be (remember the commercials, as children, of teachers inspiring us with that very notion? Want to be an Astronaut? No problem! You can do it! Want to be a Doctor? Just go for it! Want to inspire people with your words and move metaphorical mountains? Knock yourself out, kid!) Why then, why-oh-why does that change once you are old enough to pick class content for your college semester, or when you finally decide that chasing your heart is more important than chasing a paycheck. It seems to be the only time when the hammer of oppression likes to strike; Follow your dream, and I’ll go out of my way to knock you down. Perhaps we writers need a screensaver with a Smith and Wesson shown pointing at us every morning as a reminder that following our bliss is a risk we are all willing to take.

  7. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    This is a clever bit of writing. The imagery of the shooting scene was excellent. I felt I was there again with my patient’s mother who did not want me there. She had a pair of long-handled pruning shears. She repeatedly wiped the long blades with a paper towel while I talked to her son. All she had to do was lunge forward and those blades would have easily penetrated my chest. My patient fussed at her, but she refused to obey him. I figured my thumping heart could be seen through my blouse. I know my breathing was rapid and shallow. His mother had had mental issues for years, but was never violent. When I use this incident in one of my novels, I may borrow some of your wording. I’m thankful I had God with me and he stayed her hand like He’s done for me before.

  8. I don’t know if this is the same thing as passion but what gets me writing is inspiration. Sometimes I come across an idea for a story that feels so perfect that I have to write it down or I won’t rest. I guess you could say inspiration drives my passion. One can’t force or manufacture inspiration, but one can attract it.

  9. Chris,
    You are an excellent wordsmith!
    I completely agree that one should live life to its fullest.
    Personally, I do not. When I do consider and imagine living life to the fullest I see myself accomplishing many things. What I inevitably discern is that without a relationship with Jesus the Christ and his Father God, I can never truly live life to its fullest. No amount of treasure, giving, excitement or peace of mind, will ever be truly obtained. As you can probably see, I have not made that relationship but truly hope someday that I can.
    For the heart is foolish and to let our emotions lead us is to follow a path dictated by desire and disdain.
    I don’t write this to discredit or nullify your post, but present this idea for consideration.
    I look forward to reading your future posts!

  10. Wow. Excellent post, excellent writing. I’m glad you liked one of my posts, so I found yours. This is me right now… trying to push outside that comfort zone, to be more. The only problem is, I’m not totally sure where I want to go. The only thing I know, is where I don’t want to be, and that’s here. I refuse to be sitting there, at the end, with regrets.

  11. Stellar post Chris, but the way you write is so good, it must be natural! Once upon a time I could have related to your “pushing” idea, now I just do it – screw the consequences! Life is too short to not do what you love, even if you have to start out with baby steps – just do it! Keep up the great writing!

  12. The dream is all there is really. Nothing else is worth the energy. As the Buddha said “Why would a man exchange his days for gold?” And Thoreau “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to their graves with their song unsung.” To misquote two dream-weavers haha. Another brilliant post Christopher! So glad I found you.

  13. Over the past year, I’ve been “really” listening to God’s voice in what to do, and in doing so, I started my own business and walked away from a full time paying job. It’s been tough at times, but living my passions is much better than dreaming about them.

  14. Good writing. Nice imagery. I actually have a Deer Hunter (great movie) inspired routine in my comedy act about Russian Roulette. Laugh through the pain and keep on going forward.

  15. Like your writing . Well said . Now that my boys are grown I’m committed to
    go after what my heart desires . Thanks for posting this .. We are here for a purpose .. Dream it , find it & do it .

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