Oh, I’m up. It’s my turn again. Blog Time.
Blog Time ain’t exactly Miller Time, you know, where the point of the thing is to kick back and relax, raise the beer to the lips and press “play” on the remote. No, Blog Time requires effort. It requires that I have some kind of opinion on some matter of the day that means something to someone, including me.
Maybe I’ve said everything I have to say. Did you ever consider that?
No, that’s ridiculous. I’ll never have said everything I need to say. Although there’s still a chance I could make that move to Tibet, don the orange jumpsuit and meditate my way to Nirvana. And if there ever comes a time when you don’t hear from me, that’s a good place to look. It sounds oddly comforting – no Facebook, no outward communication, no blogs. I remember studying Japanese literature and religion in college and I was struck by one faction’s belief that the only purpose to life was to meditate oneself to a higher plane. Something like that – I mean, really, do not quote me on this stuff. But part of the discussion was that the poet or the artist should remain silent, too, because to engage in writing poetry or doing one’s art is an act of selfishness that ties one to the flesh. That is, it is a projection of self into the world. Why write poetry or anything if not for the satisfaction it brings us when others read our words? So, it comes back to self, ultimately. I’m sure David Corbett will have something to say about this – in fact, I invite him to jump in now and finish my education on the subject. Because, as we know, a little education is a dangerous thing – and I’ve only had a little education here.
Still, the concept strikes me as truthful, the concept that the writing is meant to fulfill a sense of self-satisfaction. Not that that’s a bad thing – do it if it makes you feel good. But so much of the time I see people writing in an effort to get “successful” or “famous” or to finally “get respect” from others. And, I admit, that’s been a big motivator for me, through the years.
But all along there’s been that nagging thought, that voice from my Japanese Literature and Religion class saying that the purpose of life is to focus on elevating our connection to the universe through meditation, and that even the act of writing is something that distracts us from this goal. It kind of freaks me out, that this should resonate with me. Because I don’t want to stop writing. I’ve always felt that writing is at the core of me. It’s my essence. So, why do I entertain this notion that writing is a masturbatory process? Was I just in a really susceptible place when I took that class? Corbett, help me out here.
My relationship to writing has changed over the years. I sacrificed everything so that I could produce writing that would get me that recognition, that “respect.” Is it worth it? Was it worth it? Yes, for me, in my experience, it was. However, I’ve had to do some repair work in its wake – I’ve made a point of spending more time with the family I ignored while I wrote those books and screenplays. I left the day job and spent a year writing at home so I could really be with them. But dwindling finances required a return to the work-force, which put me in the tough spot of having to prioritize my time again, which in the past has meant that the family gets the short end of the stick. And now I’m not willing to drop those precious relationships back to the third-tier, behind the day job and writing.
I no longer need to prove anything to myself. I no longer need to win an Academy Award, or to have the most successful book series in publication. These things would be nice, but I no longer live for them.
Instead, I’ve grown to appreciate this ability to express my views in writing for its own sake. The ability tell a story. This, in itself, is a prize. And I know that I can tell a story when the time for telling stories presents itself. I’ve discovered, in the process, that I’m a different kind of writer. I’m not a one or two book a year guy. I think my agent discovered this long before I did.
I think of all the experiences in life I’ve missed by sitting at a desk writing about the experience of life.
I wonder if it’s in me to sit silent and watch the world move about without the narration of my words. Maybe, someday. But I doubt it. I think I’m the guy who steps back and observes, then jumps in and produces, then steps back and observes. I’ve always been a sprinter, not a long-distance runner.
It’s nice to know the mountain is there. For the day I have nothing to say.
Which isn’t today.
See, I found something to blog about.