Back To The Grind
I don’t know what it is that makes me stop writing. But when I look back a few years, I notice a pattern. I see that I’ve written different blogs, about different things, feeling different ways, seeing from different perspectives. Life is about change, and sometimes we lose that in the pursuit of our own comfort.
In the past I’ve written about writer’s block. It’s as if the well of creativity just dries up and leaves nothing. I refuse to be discouraged by this any longer. It is a test of resolve, and a journey to renewal.
I wish that everything I wrote down was profound and full of meaning. But it’s not. I wish I could embrace my artistic tendencies and create true masterpieces in the form of songs, stories, and poetry. But I can’t. I wish I had maintained discipline long enough to craft story after story, day after day, year after year. But I didn’t.
Sometimes the best thing is to stop wishing and just ‘do.’ Sounds like the catchphrase in a cliché motivational poster, but I mean it in a different way. It means more because it’s personal: it’s a challenge. Because writing these words isn’t about who reads them (if anyone ever does), it’s simply about writing them. Putting thoughts into words, words into sentences, and sentences into some coherent structure that lends itself to a theme or meaning.
So, if for no one else but myself, I will renew my dedication to creating. To writing songs that drip with passion. To creating a story that I get lost in. To expressing metaphysical thoughts and desires. We can’t always know, but we can always wonder.
I will never allow the curiosity of youth to be outdone by the reality of life. I don’t just mean the ‘reality’ we hear about: “the real world is tough. challenging. cold. cruel. unjust.” Fill in whatever word you want, it doesn’t make it a universal truth.
Life is what we make it. I never want to forget to make it for myself instead of just waiting.
Sometimes life is like an Untitled Note. Hear me out on this one.
Let’s think about all the times that you couldn’t quite remember the heading, but the filler was golden. The moments in between that carried all the meaning, the meat on the bones, so to speak. That’s the beauty of the thing: you can’t just explain these moments in words. You can’t put a title on everything, on every little moment you experience, but a lot left unnamed remains of utmost significance. To you. And probably only you, right? Don’t be so quick to make that assumption.
What limits are there on each person’s experience? Namely, it is their own, and only theirs….but there is more to it. We are connected through our humanity. Race, heritage, culture: these are all social constructs created by the ONE race. ONE humanity. But does this connection mean that we will all ride into the glorious sunset together, happy and content and singing songs of togetherness? No, and we probably never will. But that doesn’t take away from what is, it just shows us how things are. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t all one, it just proves that discord and imperfection do exist. After all, the world isn’t without its share of problems, and we as fallible creatures virtually guarantee it will stay that way. Is that a sign of giving up? No. To me, that is the joy of acceptance, the contentment in the imperfections, the happiness with what is….and what cannot be adequately defined or summed up.
Which brings me back to my point. Too many people put all their hope in some particular event or time in life. Graduation, marriage, career promotion, buying a house, etc. These “worldly” desires are supplemented by hopes for afterlife, greater treasures and rewards beyond this world, etc. But could it be true that while we look ahead to “titled” milestones, we miss some of the more valuable untitled moments? Some of the moments that might not be worthy of the history books, but they sure as hell are meaningful to us individually.
I would like to think that some of my most interesting memories and stories start off as an Untitled Note. Because it gives you the freedom to decide what the title becomes, and how the story unravels. I’d rather lack the title until the moment is through. Until it defines itself, not until I define it from the outside. I envision an organic progression through life, one that is not hampered by the need to meet some norm or status quo at a particular interval in time. One that is strictly defined by the lack of a strict definition. That may sound like an oxymoron, but think about it.
I arise in the AM torn between a desire to save the world & a desire to savor the world. That makes it hard to plan the day. -ee cummings
7 Billion And Counting…
Sometimes, when presented with a unique situation, you experience unusual emotional pairings in your life. What I mean is, you may feel at peace, and content with self-identity…yet still a little sad. Or you might be happy and optimistic about the ‘big picture,’ but still pull an Eeyore with attitude or personality. We allow these feelings to shape how we appear and act.
I think a part of it is that we are human, each with our own identity and struggles. I wrestled with that statement for a long time, because I figured in a world of almost 7 billion people there’s gotta be some similarities to each person’s experience out there. People move all the time, people get different jobs. People finish school all the time, people start new degrees. The list goes on and on and on….and by the end of it, you wonder how unique we really are.
The journey for identity is a lifelong venture. Although I think I know myself now, I wonder what 35 year old Jonathan would think of my contemporary self. Would he be proud? Optimistic? Or worse….disappointed?
A couple of weeks ago I went through my old writings. From blogs dating back to when I was 16 (xanga anyone?), to stuff written a year or two ago, I got a glimpse of the same man, but with much different priorities. It was a little difficult to read some of what I had written at 16, because there HAS been a lot of change between then and now.
Maybe I was just a teenage boy growing up. Maybe I know a little better now. And I’m sure that would be a decently fair assessment. But I think I also know that, no matter where I’m at, there will still be more growth and change ahead.
So I think the phrase “staying true to yourself” goes two ways. Never be afraid to be the ‘quintessential you.’ But also, be open to letting your experiences teach you new things every day.
Ramblings Of A Frustrated Writer
Here it goes again. I feel the urge to write, to get my thoughts down in coherent fashion, yet I’m at a loss for focus. Thoughts consistently barrage me from all directions, but there’s no thread….
In the college days, I might attribute this to attention-deficit. Now I know better and am concerned that it’s just a lack of inspiration, of material, of things that I can actually mold into some form of expression. As I meticulously improve my craft, I find myself focusing more and more on ability, and less and less on creativity. Where’s the flawless union of the two? When is the ability to “do” intertwined with the ability to “see?”
That’s what art is to me. It starts with a vision. You have to see beyond the obvious, beyond the mundane, beyond the routine. And that can be a challenge. Either you accept the fact that others will contribute, or you get off your ass and contribute yourself.
So maybe all I need is a pep talk. Maybe all I need is to write down these thoughts, however disjointed, and make sense of the mess. Because out of that will come something beautiful.
It’s not just the vision. It’s the confidence that, whether or not your vision will fulfill anyone else, it will fulfill you.
The old feeling, shrouded in apathy, struggles to make itself known. It wants to control, to manipulate, to deceive the inner self. And many times it succeeds. “There are too few hours in the day,” says Apathy. “You just don’t have time.”
But it must be fought off. It must face resistance. Or else the day will come when you look back and realize that there WAS time, you just didn’t utilize it. You allowed the anxiety and stress of routine to completely choke your ambitions. Mediocrity becomes the norm; the ‘norm’ itself is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Normalcy is overrated…why do we feel the need to fit in?
Each one’s journey is unlike any other. So treat it as such. Live it in a way that YOU are proud of…..don’t let others tell you that there is a formula for life. There isn’t.
That’s the great failure of humanity…we are always looking outward to find meaning, never realizing it within ourselves.
“True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.” -Albert Einstein
And, as quickly as the moment is here, it’s gone again. You are left wondering if it ever came at all. Was it all just a dream? If it was, would you even want to know?
This week has sure seemed like one hell of a dream. I feel as if I’ve been walking in another person’s footsteps. It’s been as much of living in the moment as it has been living in the past. But it’s been worth every moment.
The challenge is making the next moment the one you want to live in.
It is a wonderfully odd feeling knowing that you are about to embark on a journey. There is the anxiety and the excitement, all bundled together in one confusing package. There is the desire to make memories that will last a lifetime.
I am preparing for a cross-country road trip to return home to Texas. Having been gone almost 5 months, I’ve noticed many things about myself that I may not have seen had I stayed. So many, in fact, that I can’t help but be curious about what kind of emotions my return will elicit from me. Will I feel the exact same way I have felt in those places over the last 15 years? Or will it be a fleeting reminder of the past?
From grade school, to middle school, to high school, to university, to now….all of it has seemed as a forced progression into the future. But now, everything seems open-ended. The choices I make are not predetermined, but instead are made on a day-to-day basis. You find yourself asking, what do I want to do with this week? This month? This year? How can I make it stand out, and more importantly, how can I be satisfied about my own personal growth?
My trip may not answer all of these questions, but it will shed some light on how I have grown since I’ve left. I can hardly wait to see my friends, family, and my old home. But I can’t help wondering, what will I learn about myself while I am there?
Maybe that’s part of the adventure….not knowing, but finding out as we go.