“What do you write about?” a friend recently asked. “Mostly anecdotes from my life. I usually wait until something interesting or odd happens, and then I try to give it a humorous spin. I’ve had my blog for about 14 years, but only have a handful of followers – mostly friends and family who I’ve successfully bullied. I really just haven’t put in the work to write consistently or build a following.”
As I reflected more on the conversation, I realized this recent lull in writing was brought to you all (or not so much) by not having anything to say.
Normally, I have a plan. I’m involved. I’ve got an adventure in mind, but I don’t – not today. I don’t have a plan at all – not for tomorrow, or next month or even the year. In fact, I began the year by resigning from the board I served on for the past two years – an amicable parting – we all agreed we’d miss each other and keep in touch. They’re nice, hard-working, committed professionals, and I’m the reliable director you could count on to do any task presented to me. I just wasn’t passionate about their mission. And because of that, there won’t be tales of our big conference in the Spring, nor a future trip to Philadelphia. No “stranded by another Lyft driver” stories or thoughtful reviews of what a true Philly Cheesesteak tastes like to look forward to.
To build on that, at the end of May I plan to step-down as a mentor. This little girl is amazing, good, thoughtful, and kind, and I know she will go even further with her new mentor.
And it’s not a matter of me wanting to quit all the things, I definitely want to do something – something creative, something to help improve myself and grow. I just can’t figure out what that is – what that looks like.
It leaves me feeling unmoored.
A friend recently asked, “if you won the lottery, what would you do?” I didn’t have to think, I said, “I’d volunteer.” “Where would you volunteer?” “I don’t know.” Then I spit balled a few ideas, which led to greater/different ideas. It was truly a good conversation; however, I still feel stuck. And the truth is: I just want to make out with a Scotsman in a bar in Edinburgh, which probably isn’t the best goal I could set for myself since it involves a single man who is likely blind and a bit loose. But since punching Jay in his ethereal throat is off the table for the foreseeable future, I figured daydreaming about this mythical Scot wouldn’t hurt.
So, I guess the real purpose of this meandering blog post is to ask questions: What do you do when you’re stuck in a creative rut? How do you go about exploring new ideas? Have you ever re-discovered yourself, and if so, how did you embark on that journey?
I take a class – improv was good of that. It could be a creative sort of class – Austin has tons of those – or even a language course, etc. The Writers League of Texas offers a lot of courses, worth checking out. Or I take a walk, not to “work out,” but to meander. Meandering helps.
I mean, obviously skip improv. But something like that could be helpful. I really recommend the Writer’s League of Texas. Their classes are topnotch. And they have events once a month – 3rd Thursday at Bookpeople. I’m starting to attend those, so let me know if you want to go with!
Man, I have been feeling the same way lately. What kind of legacy do I want to leave my kids? My friends? My community? Honestly, I want them to remember me kindly and forgive my faults, and I want them to go on living. If I came into a huge sum of money, I’d pay off the loans we took out to put the kids through school. Unless it was a HUGE sum of money, I’d have to keep working. There aren’t that many places I want to go or things I want to experience. I want to spend time with my kids as adults, but I know they have their own lives. Visiting for more than a few days would be an imposition. Then I get really dark and think I’d be like Dexter, only I’m not going to do a bunch of investigating to see if someone is really guilty and can’t be handled through the justice system. But I don’t have a “bucket list” or long for anything except living in a warmer climate. I loathe my job right now & want a job where I feel useful. If you come up with anything on your end, let me know. Otherwise, I’m going to spend time laying on the floor at friend’s houses, drinking liquor, and musing about where I went wrong in my career. (Most of the time, the friends will be home and they will have invited me, but I can’t make promises for every occasion.) ******************** Action figure sold separately!
You should totally do that here at my house!!!! (While I’m here, of course!) Let’s do Austin!
On Sun, Jan 27, 2019 at 3:03 PM The Big Blue Mess wrote:
You’re shedding your skin. Always a bit of disorientation and restlessness with that.
I think it’s good you’re stepping away from the directorship and the mentoring – not that you aren’t capable and good at those, it’s just time to move on. When it’s over., it’s over and out the door.
When feeling adrift, I usually go outside somewhere – the dog’s a reasonable excuse – and we look around and talk to ducks, trees, and anything but people – they just add noise. Small things like rocks hold a lot of stories and water, waves crashing with gulls – wind in palm trees – I stare a lot at nothing…the brain loves that. These days I’m also drifting for several reasons – partly because I need travel or mountains and those streams and wind sounds.
Maybe you really should read a few historical novels of England and then go there – see the places you’ve read about….Maybe Scotland isn’t such a bad idea – just go before summer and tourist…ever thought about walking the El camino Santiago? (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2159915/Walk-lifetime-Why-epic-Camino-trail-Spain-route-true-happiness.html) My oldest girl cousin did part of it after a family tragedy. You can go alone as she did or with a group. She said it was amazing and came back recharged. It’s something I’d like to do someday, too.
You know, you’re the second person who has mentioned the El Camino Santiago, and over the weekend I was looking at the various routes to try and figure out which would be the most feasible giving the time I’d be allowed.I have a tiny limitation, which is the lack of an ACL in one knee (yay Warrior Dash!), but I still think it would be doable.
Seeing the Royal Portraits last weekend (thank you for sharing that) re-kindled my love for English history. (Although, that first room was crazy crowded, with a lot of jockeying to read the information or activate the audio tour), and I had to move on after I stood a proper amount of time in front of Anne Boleyn, and the moved to ponder Cromwell a bit. I felt a bit jealous, though. There were two women in fascinators, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of that, too. I would have totally worn a fascinator through the entire exhibit.)
When I was in 7th grade, I would read everything, and went through many of my grandmother’s Reader’s Digest condensed books. I remember reading a fictionalized story about Elizabeth and Sir Robert Dudley. That was right around the time that Charles married Diana, and it launched many parades around the house where I would pretend to be a princess. I had my sites set on Edward. 🙂 (A few years before, I went through a phase of pretending to be Deborah Kerr in her role as Anna (in full hoop-skirted splendor) in *The King & I*.)
An opportunity may have presented itself that would take me to Scotland, and while i joke about Scottish men, the truth is I want to go to explore the history of Edinburgh and see some very specific parts of the city like Mary King’s Close. I also understand that in Scotland you’re “free to roam,” which allows you access to private properties (as long as you’re respectful, and mindful to close gates as you pass through), and I do feel a need to roam, and I’m sure the Scottish Highlands would fit the bill nicely.
All of that to say that I think we’re in agreement on how my next adventure may take shape. Thank you, as always, for the brilliant ideas!
On Tue, Jan 29, 2019 at 6:53 PM The Big Blue Mess wrote:
Scotland offers trails like you say and history and local places. Sigh. Hope to get there someday…the Scotsman across the street who plays bagpipes keeps the dream alive.