Saturday, May 24, 2014

State of the Soul: An Address

I've always been one for big, lofty pronouncements with no real teeth. I talk a big game, but really I'm always packing a squirt gun to a shooting match. In college someone said one of my short stories was nothing but setup for a bunch of big lines that were ultimately hollow. It hurt like a bitch. It was true.

I enter from the side door, say my piece, and go out the way I came. I'm interested in the sideways things, the in between things, the little subjects just adjacent to the Big Subjects (Money, Sex, Religion, Politics, etc). I've been mucking about in a sandbox for all of my adult life. Always wanting to take off, always thinking about it; never doing much about it. I'd say I'm content but I am not that, not too much, not really. Like a cat who doesn't want to kill the mouse he's trapped (or maybe doesn't know how to), I sit at a keyboard from time to time and make myself do the thing I say I love, that I was born for: to write. I have a rich fantasy life in which I imagine writing all kinds of tomes. Novels, works of staggering philosophy, withering polemics, high comedy, low comedy, motion picture scripts and a sprawling serial television show, (similar to whatever sprawling serial television show I am enamored with for a season).

If you want to do something great you have to do something you've never done before. I have spent the last 15 years trying to find a way around this intractable bridge. Can't I just be comfortable and safe and continue to muck around until I've produced something of great worth, both artistically and monetarily? Can't I keep my same habits, proclivities, efforts, insecurities, fears, but write whatever it is that I want to write?

I guess when I think of my soul I think of a writer. But that's not what I am. That's a small part of who I am, probably even smaller than I realize. I need spiritual chiropractic, like the rest of us. I am husband, father, son, brother, manager, teacher, disciple, reader, man, person. I am all these things, but I allow myself to be consumed by an idea that may or may not be true: I am a writer. I don't know if this is true, but it's an idea that I cannot walk away from. I've probably said it elsewhere in a post, but it bears repeating:

Get busy living, or get busy dying. That's goddamned right.

I am embarrassed to be on the verge of 32 and still be talking about this, still be feeling this, still be struggling with this. As the years tick by I find myself more and more interested in late bloomers. I like to think I'm percolating, and that I am incubating something massive that will emerge whenever it is ready. It is another lie I tell myself, but every once in awhile lies come true.

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