Since I’ve been working primarily on edits for the book, I have found that I am creatively starved at the moment. That isn’t to say that with editing you aren’t being creative, but there’s a huge divide between plucking a thought out of the aether and hammering one into a recognizable shape. Both can be exhausting. But one is a little bit more fun that the other. With full on creativity, nothing is wrong. The idea is pure and perfect in its own way. With editing, you are looking for flaws and imperfections and wondering with some things how it even made it to print in the first place.

The first draft carries with it the beauty of possibility. The second draft bears the burden of responsibility. It has to be true to the story and context and all that other shit that isn’t any fun, but makes the story hold up and separates the wheat from the chaff. I’d like a little bit more freedom to create right now. Which is why I’ve been making these posts. It is a fair substitute.

Yesterday was a different kind of creativity. I took my camera along for the drive and let Penny cool off in the mountains. Later, we tried to catch Golden Hour and took some pictures. I’m happy with some of them. I’m less happy with others. It would be nice to know how to make money on photography. I enjoy it, and I feel like I have a good eye for it, but right now I am a little concerned with making money. There are things I want and things I want to do, and money is the underlying thing that facilitates these things, or holds me back due to a lack of funds.

I don’t really have any desire to be rich. I’ve known rich people and poor people, and out of the two, I found that rich people were the most miserable. Maybe it’s because poor people don’t know what they are missing, and maybe it’s because rich people are too aware of how their world can change. It’s much easier to lose than it is to gain.

I want a simple life. Maybe a nice tiny house in the mountains, a hot tub would be nice. A place to hike, watch the stars at night, or know that my stuff is going to be there when I get back from a trip. Maybe a nice grassy spot for my dog to enjoy the sunshine. I want to travel. See things in the world I’ve only ever read about or heard about from friends. I want to make friends for the moment, whether it is just a train trip or if it’s for a weekend. Maybe we stay in touch. Maybe we don’t. I have a few very close friends that I rarely see in person. I’m fine with that now. Or it could be that I no longer trust the idea of seeing someone more often.

I’ve witnessed the hypocrisy of the Church. The most materialistic people I know have the most disdain for being Worldly. They think we should hate the World. I happen to enjoy this big mudball. I think it is beautiful. It’s usually the people in it that are shitty. Their politics. Their religions. The way they enjoy fucking each other over. But people have built some beautiful things. I’ve met strangers who have no reason to hurt you, and I’m blood related to people I would never trust.

I’m thinking of ending therapy. I know I’m melancholy by nature, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. I used to think there was something wrong with me for how I think. Why I didn’t have my schedule booked to hang out with people I barely knew. Or why my inbox wasn’t flooded with birthday wishes or party invites. The last time I was invited to a wedding was in 2016. I couldn’t go because I was broke and couldn’t afford to go to Hawaii. Not that work would have given me the time off anyway. Now I would probably chew my arm off rather than go to one. Even in Hawaii. I would probably just use it as an excuse to go to Hawaii. Probably ditch the wedding and go exploring.

Only when you have a whole world open to yourself, you don’t need excuses. You just go. Excuses are for other people anyway. I’m happy staying up half the night writing and sleeping all day when it is hot. I might get a tisk-tisk for taking naps when it’s 90 degrees out, and not having been showered by 7am like everyone else, but that’s not my problem anymore.

Therapy helped me though a lot of rough times. But the last time I went, I just didn’t have anything to talk about. Just the work. Why I procrastinate. Why I’m afraid of taking chances and getting rejected, or taking chances and changing my life. My biggest challenge right now is just seeing each day slipping past and not feeling like I did enough. But whose standard am I holding myself to? Therapy was a good way to get validation. To ask questions like “Wasn’t I a good person? What did I do to deserve this?!” and they never had any good reasons for when things went wrong and I was hurt. Other than most people are just fucked up and it’s not your job to fix them. I’m tired of reaching out a hand to pull someone out of the water, only to have them try to drag me in with them, or spit on me.

The bad thing about therapy is it breaks you down to smaller pieces and you can really drill down into all that trauma. Eventually you have a choice. Do you let your trauma define you? Or do you choose to walk away from it? Maybe a mixture of both. I think some people like to wallow in all that damage, like a ball-pit at a McPlay-Place. I’m just so tired of it all, I would rather not.

Today, I edited. Yesterday, I worked on photography. Tomorrow, who knows what that will bring? I’m no longer fighting for someone to love me back. I’m no longer trying to prove myself to anyone else. It’s freeing. I’m being nicer to myself. I know I’m not the guy making enough money to flash around and buy rounds of drinks at the bars to impress someone. I know I’m not the guy with the nice car, trying to fit an image. My car is paid for. I try to live within my means. I was the best dad my kids could have asked for, and they didn’t want it. They weren’t allowed to accept it. So, I’m trying to build something for myself. A life that right now seems ethereal. It’s not some kit you can put together with an included allen wrench and some diagrams. It’s more something that I have had to feel out. Sometimes it’s scary, but I’ve learned that panic doesn’t make anything work better.

I no longer want to be someone’s white knight. I’m tired of people doing things because of how it will make them look. I’m tired of people doing shitty things and then explaining why it’s someone else’s fault and never wondering why “I’m sorry” never enters the conversation. I’ve lost so much in the last year, it would make your head spin to know just how easy it is now for me to let go of just about anything anymore. I’ve hit that stage in my life where if someone doesn’t have that “fuck yes!” energy, I’m not going to waste my time. If I got that from therapy, maybe they created a monster.

Allowing myself to change how I think about getting things done has helped. Taking each day as it comes and allowing myself to breathe through things has helped. But sometimes it is like grind gears when you apply it to weeks that are dictated by days of the week with names attached to them and knowing that when Friday comes, nobody is going to read your emails, your pitches, your work you submitted. They will be at home day drinking or out on a lake or whatever they are doing on a weekend. And it will be 2am and you’ll be working because it’s too hot to sleep.

Or you’ll be taking a break to watch an hour of TV before diving in again, second guessing your work. A book you are fairly certain nobody is going to read, just like the last one. But god damn, if this work doesn’t pay in meaningful moments. A turn of a phrase you think someone would love if only anyone ever read anything anymore.

Oh well. Back to editing. It’s nearly 1am, and I’m awake. I’m embracing the suck. I’m embracing the weird that has always been me, only I’ve been too much of a chicken shit to let people see it without feeling ashamed.