The Next Ten Weeks

I’m always surprised at how much I miss writing after taking a week away. In the past I’ve taken months away, even years, and it’s always jarring at first. Eventually you move past it and find other ways to fill the time. But it’s been such a consistent part of my life this year that coming home from work and not “getting back to work” can best be described as unusual.

Part of the reason for the time off is that I got behind schedule. Life gets in the way. I had to really scramble to get back on track and, in doing so, burnt myself out a bit. I wrote nearly 3,000 words over a three day period which is a breakneck pace for me. Dad and I both have yards to mow and the weather hasn’t always been great recently, making it hard to find the time. Our last talk was a follow-up that took place under the roof overhang while it poured down rain.

It’s also the busiest time of the year at my day job. I work in a warehouse and spend my time on my feet walking and lifting and pushing and pulling. My job is not a sedentary one. Couple that with 5am workouts and I’m dragging ass by the time I walk through the door into the glorious AC of my house. After making dinner and sitting down to eat I’m often tapped-out. Sometimes I can gut my way through it, but it just becomes too much at times, physically and mentally.

But I’m good now. We’re still crazy busy at work, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. The plan is to wrap up the process over the next ten weeks and get a solid first draft of the memoir that I can work on polishing. That takes us to around Thanksgiving, which is right where I wanted to end things. The 50’s and 60’s was a bit of a trudge, but we made it. Now we’re into the 70’s, where Dad has shown excellent recall. It’s the decade where he got his license and started working and found independence. As always, good times await!


What does it mean to be an artist?

It’s a question I broached with a friend of mine this past week who is an artist herself. She’s quite the talented painter. I was curious if she saw things the same way. She seemed to but, admittedly, it’s hard to get in a word when I reel off about artistry. I think about it far too often, over-analyzing every minute detail.

But maybe that’s part of being artistic.

Whether you write or paint or dance or play music or woodwork or do anything creative in life, it all breaks down to the same core essence: expression. And there is a lot of fear and insecurity that come with any form of expression. Translating your inner-self, your soul, is difficult because the words are never right or the canvas is never big enough or the movement isn’t graceful. You’re bringing imperfection into the world; imperfection that is a deep part of you. There’s vulnerability in that.

But it needs to come out. That’s why we do it. It’s already inside; it just needs a path forward. In doing so you’re inviting other people into your world, most of whom won’t understand you, and they’re going to bring their own cynicisms and insecurities and issues along. And then questions are going to arise in your mind.

Is this good? Is this right? Am I saying what I want to say? Am I saying anything at all?

And there are no correct answers. There is no shortcut or quick pass. It’s all a journey into the unknown. And those are equal parts exciting and terrifying and mysterious and confusing and beautiful and horrible. And you always come out different on the other side. Every single time. It might be miniscule, but you are not exactly the same as when you started, for better or worse. Because a piece of you in now manifested in the physical reality. It’s still a part of you, but now others have access.

Something to think about as I gear up to tackle my next project.