For the entire month of June I’m planning on writing a series of blog-a-day posts based on a set series of open-ended questions to myself. This is one of those posts.
June 21st // Something You Want To Experience
If you have been following this blog’s June blog-a-day series, you may have noticed a theme. The first ten days are trying to be backward reflections on my life, the second ten days are intended to be timely, in-the-moment glimpses of my little world as it currently stands, and the last ten days are questions asking about some indeterminate point in my future existence or supposed state of being. Of course, these things are never so cut-and-dry, but the aforementioned theme does exist… however abstractly. And one might have also noticed that, given it is now June 21st, the third and final phase of that trio of themes kicks off today: The future. (*cue ominous music*) Which is a whole different thing to write about, now isn’t it?
Additionally, having asked something as vague as “what is something you want to experience” is not only making my brain hurt a little bit, but forcing me to consider where to even start: experiences — big, small or otherwise — can be intensely personal quips of life or insanely public bursts of whateverness, and everything or anything in between, of course. So, where do I even begin to get my head around this one?
In the past couple weeks I’ve written a lot on running, a lot of fatherhood, and a little bit about my professional efforts. And why is that? Well, it’s probably related to those efforts being mostly what I’ve been doing and thinking about lately. It was all relevant for those “past” and “present” posts: I’ve been running, lots. I’ve been doing daddy-type things constantly because, well, it’s hard to ignore that little nearly-four-year-old who lives in my house — hard to ignore her both for sentimental and legal reasons. And the professional bit has just sort of happened out of due course and routine responsibilities of that whole working-guy hat I wear. But as far as what I’ve been ignoring — what I have not been writing about much, let alone thinking about and working at — is my writing in itself, as the meta-type concept or topic it happens to be. And as far as bucket-list-life-experiences go, the whole vague idea of ‘Recognition for Accomplishments in the Field of Wordsmithery’ has been on that bucket-list for a very long time. So, it seems that I really should think about it more. Or, so I tell myself.
The thing is, my mild obsession with writing goes back to a definitive point in 1985. I was in, what at that time was called, a “Challenge” class, where — for kids silly enough to get their regular work done promptly and sit quietly and eagerly waiting for more — we were “challenged” with non-curriculum activities while everyone else struggled through the arithmetic and spelling lessons we brushed off as trifling inconveniences on the path to higher knowledge and social stigma. Sounds a little pretentious, doesn’t it? I’m not going to deny that, but hey… I was nine.
It was in this extra-curricular school-based group that I spent a whole semester during a very susceptible phase of my cognitive development (apparently) being trounced by the notion that every single one of us would, could and should aspire to greater things through the delicate and beautiful art of storytelling. We should all be writers. Novelists. Wordsmiths at age nine and forevermore. And for some reason, that selfish and pretentious little notion has stuck in my head and — despite my (current and acute) awareness of what that notion actually is and how it got there, the little muse-like parasite living in a dark, brooding corner of my mind — it refuses to dislodge and just go away, leaving me (I assume) in a less-broodful place. So here I am, nearly three decades later, pattering away on keyboards feeding that parasite and contemplating what destiny it has in mind for me.
Hence, something I want to experience is…? Well, what then?
For a long, long time that was very simple answer. The whole my-name-on-the-cover-of-a-novel seemed like the obvious way to go for someone seeking validation for the whole putting-words-on-paper craft. It was the only way to go, really. It was, despite the vast, uncounted collections of mixed quality novels filling the shelves of bookstores, libraries, and history itself, publication on pulp really was the measure of success. And maybe it still is. Maybe, well.. what do I know, really?
But as far as seeking experiences, looking out for that moment when I can check something tangible from my unwritten, mental bucket-list and get on with my life, I’m not exactly sure what that is anymore. Maybe it still is the my-words-in-pocket-book-format goal of yesteryear. Or maybe it is something else entirely. Maybe it is experiencing something other with the whole creative effort that doesn’t fit that easily-defined moment of time, that absolute, or that fixed paper-bound goal of my aged-nine-self. Maybe that experience is something I haven’t figured out yet. I just know that something I want to experience still seems to be something relating to words, writing, and something yet ill-defined that goes with it all. And is that so much to ask?