Yes, it’s been a while..and I am back. YES!!
Last month, was a time of great transitions through rapid change. These happenings include a new job (clerking and stuff at a law firm), losing that job (massive sudden layoffs). Also, I held on to that other nightly part-time job at a local hostel, and ended that. From there, moving into a new apartment, for now. For the present moment, I have no job and more time. The writing streak must and will come back.
Meanwhile, I learned a few things that changed my outlook on life. I share them below.
First, coffee is a terrible addiction. Not so much the act of drinking any caffeinated coffee, but the availability of gourmet and special blended coffee in Seattle. This lead me to drink in excess. Is there a name for this? Coffeeholic?
I consumed an average of five daily cups of specials, usually bearing a geographic origin, and method of creation. Example fav flavors I enjoyed included the Organic Maui Blend, Premium French Roast, Ethiopia Sun-Dried Yirgacheffe, Locations were often independent coffeehouses, and certain Starbucks bearing the rare Clover brands. I craved the variety, with the desire to have something special inside, every busy day. The flavor and textures were nice, and I felt a satisfaction, of that special brew or blend.
And so, my preferences grew. I drank in the morning, during work, and after work I stopped before the sunset, so I could sleep later on. Coffee became my new candy. I craved and consumed constantly. I needed that caffeinated rush to survive my 12+ hour work days and to keep smiling. For the days that were less, I needed more done. So in that, I needed more coffee. If there was no time for coffee, i felt there was no time for work. I might be late.
More on this coffee consumption later. Next…
I have a new-found love for audio podcasts. Much of my new job was very repetitive, with lots in sorting, stamping, filing happening. Thankfully. I was allowed my musical imports through my headphones.The work was also a bit lonely at times. Music wasn’t enough, though welcome at times. So, I needed friends that could talk, but didn’t necessarily have to be there. So, through peer suggestions and exploring the iTunes catalog, I made some awesome discoveries.
Recent favorites of mine include NPR’s This American Life and Fresh Air, Junk Food Dinner, The Nerdist, Clarksworld Magazine, Art of Manliness, StarTalk Radio with Neil deGrasse Tyson, BBC 4, BBC Documentaries, and more. The countless hours of short stories, news commentaries, interviews, worldly views, local opinions, and reviews of the old and new..all as important to me as coffee.
In time, I must write and share more delving into the exciting sub-culture of coffee and podcasts. Now, I must share the most important of revelations.
This, refers to the title. Me and sadness, after writing often in the early spring and coming to a complete standstill. I didn’t have time to blog, to write, to share. In the last weeks, my focus on job work, job hunting, hustling for money, finding a new place. Sadly, no time for writing.
Yet, I could sleep, drink coffee and beer. I conversed with people, many random. I sat on the grass, ate tacos and gazed at the passing ferries of Elliot Bay. I did everything except for write. Why not? The time did come back after I lost my job.
I was frustrated, distracted with a mundane schedule. I remained busy, figuring out the summer and future beyond. There were nights, I would come back to this blog, or held my notepad with my lazy pen sliding down a blank page. I wanted to write, but drew a blank. At a few times, I managed to give a few brief, sort of apologetic posts (see last few entries). It was all wrong for me, now I think.
It so happened, I needed help. So, I looked to a great inspirations in life; Ray Bradbury, celebrated writer of hundreds of books and short stories. His most well-known works are Fahrenheit 451, Martian Chronicles, and The Illustrated Man. Personally, I more enjoy his short stories. For now, I stumbled upon my copy of his more autobiographical book of inspirational musings on our favorite craft: Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You.
Here, is a certain truth he reveals early on in that book:
” Not to write, for many of us, is to die.
We must take arms each and every day, perhaps knowing that the battle cannot be won, but fight we must, if only a gentle bout. The smallest effort to win means, at the end of each day, a sort of victory. Remember that pianist who said that if he did not practice every day he would know, if he did not practice for two days, the critics would know, after three days, the audiences would know.
A variation of this is true for writers. Not that your style, whatever that is, would melt out of shape in those few days.
But what would happen is that the world would catch with and try to sicken you. If you did not write every day, the poisons would accumulate and you would begin to die, or act crazy, or both.”
Ray summed up how I felt, something I had trouble sharing with other humans in personal conversation. I died a lot in the past weeks, with no blogging, no scribbling of words on paper, even Facebook was cut drastically down. I just worked, and lived without really living. Ray Bardbury gives much great advice on coping and dealing with art abandonment, through many short stories and metaphors. Rather than quote him again, I will share my own metaphor..
For me, the lack of writing was myself crossing through some desert, with no water. I became thirsty. Yet, the sustenance was not available. Or was it? This water was there. I just needed to stop and take a sip, not necessarily a drink. So, I got up this day and decided to take that sip. The sip, became a long drink.
That felt good. I wrote a bunch of other things, not yet published. I will drink more. In reality, I may cut back on the coffee. Podcast listening will continue on, perhaps in my long walks. If you see me with my headphones, laughing..ask me what I am listening to. It might be for you.
My next post, I think will about a flea market and punk music. Til next time..