The Journey of Being Creative

I was feeling a little bit down today.  This hasn’t happened like this in a while.  Maybe I can blame the clear blue Colorado skies, the thunderstorms in the distance at night, the hum of the cicadas outside my window.

I can blame the day job, which is more or less a lesson in redundancy and a monumental waste of time.  Work comes in.  I do the work.  A few days later another request comes in to change the whole damned thing back to how it was.  There’s a lot of entitlement in the Academy.  If a prof wants a four day weekend, they will move their times to Tuesdays and Thursdays, at a respectable hour, and I have to figure out just where the hell they can teach when there are hundreds of others doing the exact same thing.

There’s a lot of blame going around, but like Jimmy Buffet says, it could be my fault.

Today I hit the realization that I haven’t been writing for myself much.  I’ve been working and catching up on paid blogs.  The fascinating work of tree removal, boats, and HVAC companies.  The work has slowed down a little bit with the writing gigs, which isn’t good.  I rely on that income to make sure I can do things like pay the light bill or buy gasoline for the week.

It has been over a week since I’ve written something for myself, whether it is the travel blog or here on my personal blog.  This morning I chatted with a friend of mine, the only woman who has inflicted more pain upon me than my ex-wife; and we are still friends.  She’s my dental hygienist, and she is also a creative.  Not only does she do a mean scaling and root planing, but she also paints amazing watercolors.  When we visit, we almost always talk about the Work.  Not scheduling or cleaning people’s teeth, but the work of being a Creative.  It usually gets me fired up to write something, which is great.  Today, that sorta fell flat for me.  With two posts to write about boat epoxy and dinghies, I didn’t feel creative.  I felt overwhelmed with deadlines and suddenly wondered why she had concerns about my teeth grinding.

Another friend of mine was venting on Facebook today.  She is an award winning horror writer, and today hit her hard too.  She was feeling rough and though it felt good to try to lift up a friend, I thought the struggle is very real when you are trying to make a name for yourself in writing.  There are a lot of truly talented people out there who are your competition, but also a lot of jackasses who phone it in and seem to be doing much better than you.  Why even bother?  As a creative, the production of writing, art, and just about anything else always seems to be along the lines of entertaining for others, but “don’t quit your day job.”

Of the three creatives I encountered today, the last is my lovely and talented girlfriend.  She is a self-taught graphic artist and writer.  She is also one of my biggest fans, and I cannot begin to explain how much enthusiasm and encouragement she gives me everyday.  I am blessed to know her.  Today, we were talking about places we want to travel together.  Also we discussed Comic Cons and getting inspiration from other writers and artists and creatives.  It dawned on me why I was in a funk.

How many creatives I know do the work as a side gig?  How many never get a dime for doing something they love?  At the end of the day doing and redoing and redoing work you are just beat to hell and really all you want to do is sit back and watch the sky go from blue to pink to deep blue and throw wishes out at shooting stars. Only you have learned to stop wishing because they rarely ever come true.

Sometimes it is hard to keep going, to keep motivated when life happens and things get in the way like bills and kids and back to school and child support and Cub Scout meetings and sometimes it seems like everyone has a piece of your day.

Time is the only non-renewable resource, and unfortunately we all think there is plenty of it.  Days like today, a whole week passed me by without engaging my brain and doing the Work and I could feel it, like withdrawals.  My London trip occupied so much of my creativity, and with the final post done last week, I felt an emptiness.

With a few days left to go on the deadlines for boat blogs, I decided I needed to dust off the creative part of my brain and get these words down.  For me.  For my readers. For anyone who is feeling a little lost on a hot summer day and they are watching their days slip past them, marching towards the inevitable.

Sometimes our muses remind us who were are.  I might not be in a place where I can write full-time just yet, but I do have a goal in my head.  I want to travel and write, I want to dream up new worlds and write, and I want to fall asleep every night knowing that I didn’t waste a minute of my day fussing with someone else’s bullshit, so they could sleep in and have four day weekends. And still make three times what I do each year.

At some point, you get tired of working for someone else, when there is real Work to be done.  So, for now, I keep punching the clock.  I keep my heading and my course as true as I can make it in spite of the waves and wind.  I have a good crew with me and hopefully I show enough gratitude for them.  But the important part is continuing on with this voyage until I reach my destination.

Steady on.

Thanks, boat blogs.

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Life lessons learned from video games

I saw a meme once that said, “Life is like video games.  When you keep running into enemies, you know you are going in the right direction.”

Today marked the second day of Administrative Leave at work.  Tomorrow, I go back.  Long story short, it’s a lot of hoops to jump through.

Higher ed.  Always with the hoops. The people with the alphabet soup of letters after their names who love to remind you of how important they are at all times.  I’m sick of it.

hidden valley

Today I went on a hike in the rain.  It was what I needed. Not to sit around and fuss over emails and evaluations and other things.  Just to walk on the red clay soil, to hear the rain falling gently around me.  To not even think about the work situation.  To daydream about future hikes and good people who I am lucky to know.  I thought “I wish this was a typical day at the office.”

There is no reason it can’t be.  I just need to keep working at it.  Keep writing.  Keep looking forward and not letting the Lumbergs and PC Load Letter errors keep me down.

I thought about my next trip, other adventures I want to take, the rest of my life, and just letting go of worry.

I nearly stepped on a tiny frog on the trail.  It hopped away as I tried to take pictures of it.  I listened to birds singing once the rains passed.  I visited with an old friend and got caught up with his life.

As Ice Cube would say, I gotta say it was a good day.

frog