For the past couple of days I’ve slowed my pace. After a fairly hectic and expensive summer, I am allowing myself time to decompress and enjoy the weather. I’ve thought, but I’ve not writ. I’ve watched films. I’ve read. I’ve cleaned the house and bombed for bugs, and then I cleaned again. (The cleaning and spraying/bombing process will continue indefinitely until the damnable yet useful creatures are annihilated within the confines of the domicile.) The kids are back in school, and my life is once again sedate.
I had lunch today with an old friend, a playwrighting/theatre colleague I’ve known since 1989. We talked about how busy he is and the inherent jumble, bustle, exhaustion, effort, and sometimes confusion of taking on multiple enterprises. He’s a professional commercial photographer, a traveled and sought after artistic photographer, a semi-professional playwright, a small-venue theatre and short film producer, and a novelist. He’s been doing all of them for going on twenty years, and he’s very, very tired. He’s quite happy with his achievements, but he’s just plain worn out, to the point that for the past two or three years it’s really not quite been worth it for him personally. He’s asked me off and on for the past umpteen years why I don’t do more theatre and films and write more. I often make excuses, but today I had an answer. It’s something I’ve thought about for a while now, since we last had a really deep conversation. I said (now paraphrasing, of course):
I learned about contentment and how to find it. I know what I like, what I enjoy, what makes me smile and be satisfied, and I know their opposites. I cut out the junk as much as I can, and I work on the good stuff as much as I can. The kicker is I don’t push myself. I don’t run, dart, dash, sprint, zip, or otherwise speed through things the way I always used to. I enjoy the stroll. I don’t attach myself to projects just to have something to do or because the people are cool and the like. I really take stock and make sure I have the time, the inclination, and the energy for anything, everything I do. If I’m missing any one of the three, I respectfully decline. When I’m in, I’m all the way in, when I’m working with others. So I don’t join in all that much. I’m concentrating on a balance of original work of my own on one side and collaborations on the other, and I’ve not found it yet. (And that I haven’t doesn’t bother me. It’ll get here.) The key is: I’m genuinely content. I did manage to find that, and that’s really the hinge for everything else. As an old Jamaican coworker years ago used to say, “It’s all good, man.”
I know that was a ramble there, but I expounded a bit here for the post.
I’ve also cut down on internet usage, soft drinks, white bread, tv news, and other things. I’m listening to more tunes and playing with my cat and my neighbors’ dogs and horses. The hectic pace of summer has subsided, and things are back to what passes for normal. It’s all good.
Garden Variety keeps roiling in my noggin. It’s taken something of a different direction. I mean… it may be taking a new direction. I’m not sure of it yet. There’s a new angle under consideration, influenced I’m sure by recent readings in a different genre. More on that as it develops.
Other than that I’m pretty boring.