Here We Are Write Here

Steven King (On Writing) cautions against spending your time not writing when you could be writing (or reading). He doesn’t have much sympathy, nor should he, for people who claim they want to write but whose time is spent doing other things. When he wrote this, his example of time misspent involved television. Now, of course, the would-be writer has it even harder. Blogs helped us pretend we were writing, and Facebook and fake news sites help us pretend we’re not watching TV. But neither of those activities are writing (or reading).

It occurs to me I’ve done a pretty good job of not blogging. I also do a pretty good job of not watching TV, though I am a sucker for a movie (any movie) watched on a laptop perched on our supine bodies in the bed space. The problem activity remains Facebook. Even the recent loss of my phone (not to be replaced until tomorrow) didn’t slow me down. I just take a laptop into the bathroom with me. If I were to claim I was doing less Facebook, no one should believe me.

Still, I’m trying to write more. I’m certainly more driven than I’ve ever been. The trouble is, well, everything else. Right now, for example, I’m (happily) designing a one-sixth scale mockup of the installation Sunya will do for the Crocker Art Museum later this year. They want a picture of her holding a model for the magazine. We don’t have the model yet. I’m trying to design the parts and produce them on a laser cutter without any 3D CAD knowledge but just by faking it in 2D, and the photo meeting is day after tomorrow, so: I’m not writing right now. But I will. Soon. And she apologetically reminds me she won’t need me after this and I (happily) remind her this is our project, not just hers, and I’m enjoying myself.

And if it isn’t that it’s a thousand other things, festivals every weekend with some level of work involved, cars that don’t quite run right, a house needing work (e.g. fix the dryer vent, detox the pool, strip the front yard and landscape it on the cheap, I do go on don’t I). Even so, I do a lot of research, and a little writing, and a little more rewriting, and a bunch of thinking; and I try to read but I get bored so easily, gah.

And no, I don’t want a damn job. I want us to figure this out, and suddenly make it.

Another thing King said (I was reading his book today because of my lost phone — there’s some sort of lesson in that — and I will paraphrase because I don’t want to fetch it from the other room): It’s not possible to make a competent writer out of a bad writer, nor is it possible to make a great writer out of a good writer, but with a lot of hard work it might be possible to make a good writer out of a competent one. I’m a competent writer, and I intend to become a good one. We’ll see if after fifty eight badly-managed years I have time for that. We’ll see.

Mystery

I don’t know how it’s going to happen.

I’ve felt a lot better, been a lot happier, since deciding to hell with finding a job. I don’t want to work for anyone. I want to bend my energies towards building our arts business, i.e. big works for festivals as a means of exposure / marketing, and smaller works at household prices for the interior decorating market. In addition I want to write my damn novel, and branch out into other stories. That’s what I want.

Meanwhile you might say I need an income. I have a house with seven people in it and at the current burn rate the remainder of my retirement will last about a year. But, while it’s possible I’m being a moron about this, I just don’t care. I don’t want to live carefully. My father did that, my brother does that, my ex-wife, indeed everyone I’ve ever been family with lived soberly and cautiously and left the planet quietly with no undue fuss. But I’m not interested in that model. I’m living now, not a decade from now, and trying to do what I want, and if it doesn’t pay off, so what? I’ll be broke. Who cares?

It seems my influences fall into two camps. The majority are young creatives with varying levels of self-support, some building up a level of prosperity, others unable to keep a car or get their driver’s license, but all of them creatives of varying sorts, while the other group, the smaller group, seems to be older people like me who are retired or nearly so, who played by the rules and are now doing whatever the hell they please. Some are well off, some are not, but all are happy in the main, being themselves after a lifetime of finding out what that meant.

This past weekend was spent at a party, a mini-festival you might say, but a private party really, with a few hundred attendees, aggressively screened against creepers and predators such that the subtle unknown creepers like me can enjoy the fact of many beautiful young women being completely comfortable dancing etc with their exotic costumes mostly removed and just having fun. I call myself an unknown creeper because I know I look like one saying that, but in fact I am happy that people felt comfortable exploring themselves, and don’t care about the details of it. The fact of a social scene in which all manner of young people felt safe, really felt safe, is a great thing to celebrate.

I realized as the day and night wore on that I have become one of the tribal elders. Young men tell me they respect me and the way I’ve supported my lady love’s growth as an artist, both young men and women tell me they are impressed with the open and trusting relationship I have with her, older folks embrace me fully as one of them. It’s a peculiar revelation, to be a tribal elder, when I’ve spent nearly sixty years trying to “succeed” at just being the youngster I thought I had to try being in order to move forward. Well, whatever youngsterish things I did or didn’t do, I moved forward anyway, and here I am feeling loved and respected by a bunch of amazing people. As I say, it’s peculiar. It seems I need to grasp and accept the person everyone else knows me to be, rather than the somewhat less accomplished person I keep thinking I am.

Which brings up a question. Is it all right for tribal elders to make out with young warrior women? I did that, with just one (I’m not an aggressive fellow), and wondered later if I looked the fool I thought I should. But my lady love extracted the details from me (did she kiss back etc — oh yes) and concluded I was worrying too much. I’m a handsome old devil, evidently, so what the hell. No worries.

Right. Yeah. I dunno. I’m thinking at some point there will be alignment between monogamy and dignity that will cause me to care about both of those things. Not yet! But it’s in the wind.

Overall point? I’ve spent a lifetime hiding. Don’t seem to have that impulse anymore. Socially, I’m visible to all, and it’s high time I understood that and quit with the denial. Professionally, I have no interest in following another’s lead. Well, some, if it’s going somewhere. But in not having a boss I’m not at all lost. I know what to do. I just don’t know if there’s any money in it.

Dangerous times. I titled this “Mystery” when I started typing, because it really is a big mystery how it’s going to happen, “it” being the creation of some sort of life that is self-sustaining. It’s headed that way, but I only have so much runway, and have no idea how much runway I actually need. Probably more than I’ve got. But a regular full-time job, while extending the runway, would bring a virtual end to my acceleration. What would you do?