Growing Pains

Tonight is probably one of those nights when I should just declare defeat and go to bed. I find myself sitting here asking myself deep, philosophical questions and I’m not coming up with any satisfying answers. Perhaps there are none. Perhaps I need to write some short fluffy memoir about growing up in a sleepy little river town during an age of social unrest and political turmoil.

Or maybe I should write my coming of age story. That is both too stereotypical and too private to publish in this venue at this time. I may be able to screw up my courage and tell that story at some point but not yet.

How about the story of the college freshman that wanted to be a writer but had no idea where to start. The one that would type a couple of sentences on his manual typewriter, rip the page out of the carriage, wad up the paper and throw it over his shoulder. Eventually, I started keeping those abortive starts in a notebook. They never amounted to much except as a reminder of the desire to be a writer. When I found Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way I was primed to take that first step toward actually becoming a writer.

There have been so many pieces to the puzzle that came together to be the person that I am today. I’m still adding pieces. It’s hard to make them all fit some times. I keep feeling urges to do things that seemingly have no relationship to the things that I’m already trying to accomplish. I don’t know what to do with them sometimes.

The other day Ann Marie Martin said something that resonated strongly with me. She said that some times she has characters that talk to her. She has to sit down and write what they are saying to get them to shut up so that she can finish the other things that she has on her plate.

I know the feeling. With me, it’s not always a character that is demanding my attention. Sometimes it is a program that I must write so that I will quit thinking about it. Sometimes it is a song that I’ve got to write so that it will quit haunting me all the time. Sometimes it is a dish that I want to try to cook. There are so many things that I want to do and there is so little time to do them all.

So I concentrate on doing one thing at a time. Much of what I do is done out of habit. I get up in the morning, take my shower, get dressed, and write my journal entry. I come home at night, I eat dinner and talk with my wife, sometimes I watch TV, then I write my blog post.

Habit is a powerful force for getting things done. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in the day. At some point, if you want to add anything else to your routine, you have to drop something else. I’m struggling over that right now. I’ll let you know what I figure out.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.