Tag Archives: journal

Just on-edge

Daily Prompt: On the Edge.

I keep an even keel with many things: family, exercise, brewing, and lately, writing. But the job that pays me has been quite demanding today so I haven’t been able to get much else in.

I have three self-assigned topics including this one because I don’t write on the weekends. I’m almost ashamed to mark this one off the list with such a brief and benign effort. But so it goes –gotta pay the bills.

Advertisements

Strangers

Daily Prompt: Standout

I talked about anonymity yesterday in Pride. But in truth, there’s a dichotomy in my hopes for this space. Forget the reason behind the anonymity in the first place. The important question is do I truly want anonymity?

I don’t want any attention from the people who know me. You see, I value their opinion the most. And I haven’t yet created anything worthy of their time. Maybe in a few years, I’ll finally have a body of work, or maybe just that one masterpiece, that I’m willing to stamp my name on.

At the same time, I definitely don’t want my current work to be overlooked, forgotten, disregarded. I yearn for approval, criticism, just to be seen. I have no concerns about sharing who I am and what I create with strangers. Now, there’s a dilemma.

Pride

Daily Prompt: Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall.

If writing is your release, you can’t completely let go without anonymity. I don’t care what anyone says about honesty or transparency. Any person who cares even the slightest bit about at least one other person has a few things they feel but will never say.

Even with anonymity, I don’t think I’m there yet. I don’t know if I’ll be there in a year. Why? Pride. Even a few days in, I’m proud of some of the things I’ve written here. I’m not proud enough to think any of my work is going to become an overnight sensation. I don’t entertain any delusions of unexpected wealth (and I’m obviously trying to avoid fame). But I do want to be able to share what I’ve written with my family one day.

Knowing that will happen –knowing I’ll one day invite them in –is it possible for me to really ‘let it all out?’ If so, will I have to lie? “Oh, I embellished a bit. It just makes for a better story.” Is it selfish to even ask? Am I more concerned with hurting their feelings or that they’ll be angry and upset with me?

Must I create a cellarsubfloor? Do I need an outlet for only my deepest and darkest thoughts? What if one of those stories ends up being a masterpiece? Can I smother my pride and carry the secret to my grave?

Even now, I realize how proud I sound. How presumptuous of me to think my family and friends will care about my work –the things I think about them at their worst –at my worst.

In reality there is, perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history. For even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility. – Benjamin Franklin

My Dilemma

Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is. – Thomas Szasz

My mother has always said I should write. “Oh, you’re such a great writer. Why don’t you ever write anything anymore?” Everyone’s mother wants them to be great at something but maybe when it comes to this, I kind of always believed the hype.

But here’s the rub: I’m a chronic non-finisher. I start lots of projects and I rarely finish any of them. I’m good at most things I try –there’s just never a finished product. (Brewing may be the sole exception here but making alcohol is its own reward so I’ve never thought of it as a challenge.)

Ultimately, I just get bored and it seems like a waste of time to pursue things further. Maybe I bite off more than I can chew. Maybe I just lack the discipline to complete projects. Maybe I’m not good at defining goals.

Then there’s my renewed health kick. A few weeks prior to my son’s birth, I quit smoking. Then, when my wife was starting to feel like her body was hers again, we returned to the gym (sporadically). We’ve since gotten much more serious. I track my food and I’m consumed with the idea of losing weight and being healthier.

I walk 10,000 steps per day at least. When you make yourself walk 5 miles, you have a lot of time to think. There’s a lot of serenity. I don’t get bored because I can finally think about anything I wish and I’m completely uninterrupted. Maybe that’s its own reward. Maybe Thomas Szasz is right. Maybe finding serenity in my hobbies, distractions, and work is the key to avoiding boredom.