A Letter to Everyone I Don’t Keep Up With

Hi. How are you? You’ll probably say “fine.” That’s what we all say, all the time, because it’s what we’re supposed to say. The basic response that shares absolutely nothing about how you are. If you ask me that question. I’ll say “Fine.” But that would miss all of the details, so let’s just skip the question.

Mostly, time passes, life plods along, and before I know it another month has gone by without note. Watching content has taken a huge chunk of my time. I’ve watched a lot of Netflix, lots of YouTube. I have some DVDs I’ve wanted to watch but no way to play them. I’m trying to read more books, but not really succeeding. I want to take in stories that will spark my creativity, and remember what it’s like to feel inspired. I’ve also taken about 2.5 million pictures of the dog. Most of them are very similar, but I can’t help taking more.

I wrote some song lyrics. I had the beginnings of a melody at the time, but I’ve forgotten the little snippet I had then. Pretty good structure though. I think the lyrics are basically done–I won’t even need to edit much. I still feel like I need to actually learn an instrument if I am ever going to be able to write songs. Do you know I used to want to be a singer, as a career? Then I kept hearing how impossible it was to make a living that way and I was already so tired from thinking about it…

Miscellaneous things: weight gain, need to get outside more, trying to start working out again, decluttering, realizing I am barely in touch with anyone and how many friends are you supposed to have in your 30s again? That you actually see and talk to, I mean? It’s definitely more than I have.

I’ve started unsubscribing from most brand emails and newsletters. I can’t keep up with my inbox anymore. There are still a few glimmers of enjoyment and value in there, so I’m weeding out all the noise right now. I always used to think, what if I miss something? But think about it… how often do you read an email (that isn’t actually from someone you know) and feel like you really got anything out of it? Am I really supposed to keep all these things coming into my inbox just in case they have a few useful tidbits, five minutes of real value in a month, a year, of email messages? No, no. I can’t keep wasting my time like that. I’m still getting way too many emails, but I’m working on it, and I highly recommend unsubscribing from as many things as possible.

I finally paid off my student loans, and it feels oddly anticlimactic.

I’m stuck in an unfortunate in-between place right now. Some things have started to get better, but they aren’t good yet. I don’t care if my life looks like what other people might expect, or even how I thought it would. I care about waking up and wanting to participate in the various parts of my life, and going to sleep with a sense of contentment. Maybe nothing we do really matters, in the grand scheme (is that phrase cliché yet?), so I want to do things that at least matter to me.

I wish I lived by the ocean. Any time I need to let out some feelings I could scream into the waves like seagulls do.

I wonder often what my life would be now if I had done a few things differently. I felt like I had to do certain things in certain ways because that’s what’s expected, and I didn’t think I could take the eternal struggle of scything my own path through the tangled woods of modern existence. Realizing how difficult everything has been anyway, doing more or less what people are supposed to do (a little less, but not in ways that did anything positive for me), I feel cheated by my younger self. Or by whatever it was that turned me into someone who couldn’t bear to take risks.

Now I feel different. Everything is a risk, and risk is necessary for growth. Doing what’s “safe” will not give me the life I want. Doing things that drive me and satisfy me can. But I’ve been naively trying to avoid risks for so long, I feel like I’m trying to break out of a solid shell that is peeling off bit by bit. I want this part to be like a movie montage–just enough screen time to show the studying and the building and the progress without having to sit through all of it, with fun outfit changes, random dancing, and an epic background song.

Now I’m sitting in bed, sipping my morning coffee. The dog is curled up near my feet. It’s colder out that it has been, and I really can’t believe it’s almost June. I can’t believe it’s 2021. I can’t believe I’ve let so much time pass without being fully myself. I’m getting too old for this.

Translating

I’ve decided I should re-learn how to write. I want to be able to write like I used to, when without much struggle I would have a concept, a topic or story, and a clear outline of what I wanted to say. That’s not to say I didn’t work at writing, or know where a piece would end up whenever I sat down with my paper or computer, but I always had a starting point.

It seems like now whenever I have an idea, I either forget it instantly or I’m crowded with so many related thoughts that I can’t pick out a narrative stream that I can actually get onto a page. One thought usurps another too fast and I eventually lose track of the main point. I’ve heard, somewhere, that regular journaling can help you make better sense of your thoughts — so, essentially, practicing writing will pay off.

It feels unfair to me though. It all came so naturally once, and while I can’t claim everything I wrote was good, the flow of words and sentences just worked. I could rely on it. All the gears and mechanisms were in place and I could sit down and let my hands express my thoughts.

Even this is a story — the devolution of my writing skills. I hesitate to try to explain how I got to the point where I am now, when I can barely sit down and start. Mainly for fear of being judged, but also because I worry that I won’t be able to get the explanation just right. I find it increasingly difficult to get people to understand what I’m saying, and I wonder how many people I’ve known in my adult life have a very inaccurate picture of who I am because I was not able to say what I meant in the right way.

Now that I think about it, I want to learn to write BETTER than I used to. I want to become good enough to explain my inner world, and the stories it creates, better than I could in the past. Does anyone really want to hear it? I don’t know. Those nagging voices at the edges of awareness are assuring me that no one cares. But as some creators I like have said in the past, if I write a story and only a few people, or even one person, takes something meaningful from it, then it’s worth doing.

Here Goes Nothing (literally)

Guess it’s been a while.

When you’re not a writer by trade, it’s easy to let the other aspects of life take you away from the act of writing. This blog, while being something I was always planning to connect to a writing career, has just been a hobby in the past.

I know what no one’s asking as they read this: “Have you been writing otherwise, privately, things you don’t post on the internet?”

Not really… not creatively, anyway. I’ve done a little (and I do mean LITTLE) journalling, a little bit of bullet journal practice that has decidedly not become a regular habit yet… and that’s really it.

I started writing a song the other day, I had what would probably be the chorus just come to me and sit in my head while I sang it a couple times. I never ended up writing it down, and now I can’t remember. So that’s probably gone and I don’t think I should count it.

I have been thinking about writing, though. Lots of thinking. So much thinking that I have absolutely no idea where to begin when it comes to returning to the land of the blogs … where some people are happy to dump their thoughts in raw form, and others spend much time and effort creating a very formal, well-presented, brand-appropriate collection of posts that would never dream of revealing just how difficult things really are.

I thought about deleting my old blogs and starting new ones from the beginning. Then I thought, I don’t mind if people see the starts and stops of my old posts, old self, to several years later. This particular blog will probably never be a professional one, and I could spend the time crafting a “brand” for myself here anyway, but chances are that by the time I’d established one I would want to change it.

I can’t promise regular posts, or give a reliable account of what I’ll be writing about, because I don’t have a plan right now and I don’t know what I’ll want to write about. But I know I’d like to be writing again. I might as well try (before we enter a full-on climate/societal dystopia).

The (Un)Importance of Leap Day

The hourglass is a fitting timepiece because time slips from our grasp like fine sand.

Today was February 29, the disproportionately talked about “leap day.” Some people like to make a big deal about it, but really it’s just a day. You hear all kinds of things about leap day that don’t make sense. A whole extra day! I’m going to [get more work done, go on a trip, clean the house, spend time with friends, finish my novel]. It’s leap day, nothing that happens really counts (yes, this is a 30 Rock reference).

Aside from being a date that only occurs every four years, there is no difference from any other day of the year. You wake up, go through your routine, and try to survive life. It passes before you know it and you wonder what happened to that extra day you were so excited for.

An extra day will only give you more time if you make a plan to use it. Realistically, a day is not a lot of time. Sometimes they drag on, but afterward every single day that you have experienced is no more than the blink of an eye. It’s almost as though none of it ever happened at all.

Blogging Back to Life

What do you do when you stop blogging for a significant length of time and no one seemed to notice, when you’ve had a blog for years but have no more than a few hundred followers (literally what would be called a “drop in the bucket” on the internet, even if it seems like a lot to me personally) and no more than a handful of likes per post, and you know this blog will never have a niche, which seems so important in the blogging world?

It’s tempting to let this gasping site die and start up another one, but I renewed the domain name in August or September, so I have a few months left to go in order not to totally waste my money.

I bought this domain name specifically because I wanted this to be my personal author website. It’s definitely not what most people would call an author website, not least because I haven’t actually been published. One could argue that this is mostly my fault. I never really put myself out there, except for a few timid attempts here and there. It’s no wonder I never get anywhere…

The reason I want to let this blog go and start a whole new one is because I would be able to form and shape it with intention from the beginning. But I don’t want this one to disappear. A lot of work has gone into it in the past, even if not recently. A lot me is captured here. Call me clingy, hopeless, or whatever you like, there are ideas and thoughts expressed here that I believe were worth sharing. Instead of cutting this path short and starting an entirely new one, I’m just going to keep building on this one.

Yes, I’m going to start blogging again! And I know that of most of the people who see this post, only a small number will care. That’s not important right now. The important thing is relearning how to express my thoughts. At the beginning of the year, as I try to get myself used to writing again, I will probably do a lot of personal journaling that will be seen by me alone. In other words, don’t get too excited, because I don’t have all that much to say here yet (that’s sort of a lie. I have a lot to say, always, but I need some time to figure out how to say it), and there won’t be any new fiction for some time unless serious inspiration hits, but soon enough this will be a platform for my weird brand of creativity to come out once again.

 

Don’t touch that dial. We’ll be right back.

Untitled

They say that in your dreams you can be anything you want. You can travel to incredible places.

I can no longer even dream the world I want. My dreams now are too strange, inscrutable, and usually end with a group of people watching tv.

And in so many of them I see you across a room, near but too far.

The words do not want to come.

Another month. Another Monday.

More questions.

Less certainty.

For some time now it’s felt as if everything is about to fall apart. I’ve been standing on the edge for so long, somehow managing to balance. There are all these saying about how things falling apart might be the best thing that’s ever happened to you, but I am extremely doubtful. I think I’d be too tired to build anything out of the rubble.

I know I cling too hard to things sometimes. It’s a side effect of loss.

If I look like I’m not affected by things, it’s because I’m so overwhelmed that I can’t begin to express it.

If this little piece of writing is a little lacking, it’s because I have so many thoughts running around in my head that catching one long enough to get it to stand still is nearly impossible.

I would like to tell you all my secrets, but then I’d have to let them go. And it’s hard to do that when I’m not sure I understand most of them myself.

Halfway 365k365day Update

It’s one of those mornings when my eyes continue to burn with sleep even though my mind wants to be awake. Those are almost more difficult than the other way around. When your mind is asleep but your body is awake, there are numerous things you can do until it catches up. This tends to just make me feel restless.

My 365k365day challenge has not been going well. I’ve barely written anything for the past few months, and even my updates about it have been neglected. Although it’s pretty pointless to update if I haven’t written anything. More than anything else I’ve done journaling, ranting, brain-dumping sort of writing, which is sometimes necessary to clear a bunch of crap out of your mind. At this point I am VERY behind in my word count, and I’ll only be able to catch up if I am very diligent about writing every single day from now until 2016. This may not be possible. There’s a good chance I might not reach 365k, but if I can manage 200 that’s still quite a bit for me. Maybe next year I can do better.

I’ve had a thousand million thoughts, tons of writing ideas–most of them I’m sure have been not as good as they seem in the moment so it’s probably a good thing I can’t remember them–but they never seem to get on the page. I tend to get ideas when I’m in the middle of doing something else, and I have never been one to stop everything to write down my ideas. When I was younger, I remembered most of them anyway. Maybe I’m getting too old to keep track of ideas? Well, I have though a few times about started to do that–interrupting whatever I’m doing to record my writing idea–but I already have trouble paying attention to things lately, and I don’t think this would help. It would probably tempt me to go work on the writing instead of whatever obligatory thing I was already doing.

When I DO remember, I have a hard time placing the piece. I can’t figure out where it belongs. Should I publish it on this blog, my other blog, or submit it to some other website for publication? And then somehow the whole thing gets lost in the dark maze of my brain…

I’m slowly trying to train myself to have better habits, so that I can stop wasting so much time. It’s a process though, and it’s one that backtracks a lot. There’s no smooth path to becoming truly productive…

Friday, Be My Friend

I have a different relationship with Friday than most people do. For almost everyone I know and everyone on the internet (judging by the memes), Friday is a day of relief. The break from work is just around the corner. The end is in sight. Whether the day is full of productivity and a push to get lots of things done or mainly goofing off on the internet, in a few hours they all have until Monday morning to live life, doing whatever non-work-related things they want to/can do.

My thoughts on Friday are a little different. Instead of being glad the weekend is here, I think, “It’s Friday already? How did another week pass and I’ve still gotten nothing done? Before long it’ll be the end of the month. Time just keeps passing and nothing ever changes. Why can’t I just have a little time to breathe?” It doesn’t help that there is always some bill looming.

If I had been able to stick to a regular schedule in my work, it might be different. But usually, the weekend comes around and it’s just the same as any other day to me–I have to get as much work done as I can manage. I’m not such a fan of a “regular schedule,” but it would certain help in changing my Fridays. Of course, I also don’t get that sense of dread or just general grumpiness other people experience on Sunday evening, knowing that they have to return to the office the next morning. So it’s a trade-off.

I have to say, though, I don’t really like being the one person wishing everyone else would stop being so happy about Friday nights.