Monday, January 7, 2019

Back to the Grind.

Some years ago when I started writing this blog, the Earth was a different place. It was still ruled by dinosaurs. They had feathers, they were very dangerous. It was a time unlike this one. It was back before Twitter, before Facebook was an organ of a foreign power. I was in my 20s and I had SO MANY THINGS I wanted to just shout out into the world. I was impatient.

I’m still impatient.

The last several years though I’ve been in grad school and that took up most of my bandwidth and so I have not really been here very much. I feel bad about that because I have missed it here.

Back when I was a grown-up with a grown-up job and grown-up responsibilities, there would be days when all I wanted was to sit at my kitchen table and write something to post here. But that was a long time ago. Since then the dinosaurs have all died out, followed quickly and obediently by all the bloggers. I think the bloggers all have podcasts now. That reminds me, I’ve been working on a joke:

Q: What do you call a group of white men?
A: A podcast.

I’m not saying it’s a good joke, but then I’m not a comedian.

What I am is a writer. For better or worse. That’s the thing I have to hold onto right now. I’m in one of those post-grad school type slumps. The freelance gig that was supposed to be paying my way right now turned to vapor, so I’ve been having to look for work while simultaneously trying to figure out my next step in life and as a writer.

None of that is terrible on its own, but I’m no longer in my 20s and going through a transitional life period is far less charming when you’re old enough to have gray hair peppering the stubble along your jaw.

But I’m diligent and I know that one of my super powers in this life is the ability to grind it out harder and for longer than is really even reasonable. It’s how I once ended up running an accounting department without ever having been trained as an accountant. It’s why I have an MFA now after years and so many rejections. It’s why I still go running, even though I am literally the slowest and silliest runner anyone has ever even seen. People who drive past while I am running probably DO consider me a comedian.

For Christmas I received as a gift Rachel Aust’s new book called Less: a visual guide to minimalism. I am a big fan of hers and while so far nothing in the book is really new, it is a beautiful book and it has reminded me that back in 2012 I committed myself to living a life like the one the book describes. A life with less crap in it. I committed to owning less and to carrying around less baggage. I committed to a life where I try to do my best, every day, every time, every chance I get, and in so doing am relieved of the existential dread that comes from living poorly. I’d rather be poor than live poorly.

And let me tell you, it has at least paid dividends in this regard: I certainly am poor.

I also fail at that whole thing quite a lot. Like alotalot.

I’m telling you all of this not because I think you’ll find it interesting - “you” don’t even exists, no one does or has ever read this blog - I’m telling you this because today could have been a shitty day and last week could have been a shitty week. And this whole life right now could just be a shitty transitional period. But sitting here and writing it all out helps remind me that today was not really a shitty day, it just wasn’t an ideal one. That’s not the same thing.

What today is, is my life. It has not been a life well planned, but thus far it has been a life pretty well lived. So I’ve got that going for me.

Sometimes I wonder why I’m the last unembarrassed blogger walking the Earth, but then I realize it’s because I can’t do THIS on Twitter and it would make a really boring podcast and I’m not funny-ha-ha enough to make this kind of thinking into a stand-up act, but what I can do is sit here and think everything out with this keyboard. I think you can think anything out with a good keyboard.

You know who didn’t have any good keyboards? Because they didn’t technically speaking have fingers or an alphabet? Dinosaurs. And they’re all dead now. And I’m still here. Writing. Because I can grind it out.