Going It Alone

Yesterday, a friend from what seems another lifetime, posted a job opening for work that I used to be qualified to do. He’s a good guy, working with good people and my first impulse was to dust off my resume.

And that’s me pretty much in a nutshell. I never bothered testing the waters with a toe, I’ve always just jumped in head first. More than once this has resulted in me gasping for air as my chest contracts and a vagus nerve shorts in both literal and metaphorical deep, arctic waters.

Back in 2012, faced with the genuine possibility that I might not be long for this life, I made a decision to leave my career position and set out on my own path. With little more than some inspiration from other writers as my guiding light, I’ve been wondering the deep dark woods of publishing now for five years. Yes, I’ve been lost. Quite a bit actually, but I’m trying to remain relentless in the pursuit of my dream. Too, I’ve been lonely much of the way.

Even yesterday’s momentary glimpse of life’s superhighway, jam-packed with traffic, got me excited like a hermit emerging from the wilderness. Money, companionship, a microwave and a water cooler, even lunch dates with other adults: all of this initially looked to me like the Emerald City. But then my van made me hold off a moment before I necessarily jumped in head first.

I had to load it on the ferry then drive home with a tired six-year-old. Somewhere between the calming rattle of the diesel engine and a merciless search for errant deer it occurred to me to give this whole idea a second and third thought. Sleep on it even.

This morning, I hopped a boat to the mainland once more, this time to buy a used MacBook Air. As I’ve written previously my 2013 MacBook Pro is borked, but good. It’s been desk bound since early last summer and is increasingly showing signs of its impending demise. Add to this that my most productive writing more often than not occurs at a coffee joint or bar, and you’ll quickly understand why my word counts have dwindled to nearly nothing.

All of this morning’s work has been on the drawing board for some time. I’ve been scraping together the funding for a used replacement because I’m just not terribly productive without a functional machine. Plus, tomorrow, I’m headed to my first Clarion West workshop with J.M. Sidorova. SQUEEE!

“I think the imagination is the single most useful tool mankind possesses. It beats the opposable thumb. I can imagine living without my thumbs, but not without my imagination.”
― Ursula K. Le GuinWords Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016, with a Journal of a Writer’s Week

On the boat this morning, sitting in my van, I realized that this is one of those pools of water I’d be better off avoiding. Sure, all that society looks terrific, but I know that soon enough I’d feel claustrophobic. Eventually, I am confident, the same soul-crushing work I spent nearly fifteen years doing would once again begin to pulp whatever remains of me today. All of this, all these thoughts about what looked like an oasis but which was actually quicksand, were before the realization that once again I can write.

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The Day I Knew I Would Make It

I have come to discover through earnest personal experience and dedicated learning that ultimately the greatest help is self-help; that there is no other help but self-help— doing one’s best, dedicating one’s self wholeheartedly to a given task, which happens to have no end but is an ongoing process. I have done a lot during these years of my process. A swell in my process, I have changed from self-image actualization to self-actualization, from blindly following propaganda, organized truths, etc. to searching internally for the cause of my ignorance.

The Warrior Within : The Philosophies of Bruce Lee (1996)

This is my third attempt at this post. But this time I know exactly where I’m headed, what I want to say.

This morning the company, where my wife has worked a mere six weeks, shut its doors. An unfortunate turn of events for all involved, something juxtaposed next to catastrophe for us. We’ve been struggling since I got sick. Every time it appears we’ve found our stride something or someone trips us up. I think worse, we’re both exhausted. That’s just the way it is, the only thing left to do now is take the next step along the path. Acceptance does not matter.

I just took the dog for a walk around the neighborhood. Always an adequate salve when the need arises. It’s hot and muggy once again so I walked as fast as I could, trying to whip up a cooling breeze without breaking a sweat.

This go at writing feels about the same. Walk only fast enough to get the breeze without overheating. Pacing is important, it makes the long road possible and the dream achievable. And despite all the ups and downs of employment, health and finance, I still have a dream. I am dedicated to the practice of writing.

Thursday I will rise long before the sunshine and head to airport. I will board an airplane and head to DetCon1. There is momentum in this run, maybe not much, but who can afford in the marathon that is life to sit and lose the race?