Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Burning Time

My wife tells me she'd like to see me with more friends. I tell her that if I want more I'll write them. She hasn't told me specifically why she'd like to see me with this burden but I tell her that I don't want to take the time.

I'm too busy with other things to maintain them, at least in person. My two best friends live in different states and while we rarely see each other, we have frequent telephone and e-mail contacts. Sometimes I go hiking with other people, which is nice, but I also go alone, which is often nicer. Not because of the lack of company per se, but when I'm alone it feels more like I'm in the wilderness and I can push the pace much faster (improving my health is a primary reason for going).

At the end of the Appalachian Mountain Club's Winter Hiking Series, one of the other participants told me that if I ever wanted people to go along on a hike, to let him know. I reversed him instantly. I said that if he ever wanted company, to just let me know and I'd be there. I told everyone there I'd be up for an excursion any time, any place. Just don't count on me to do the inviting. I hike alone often so when I go, I just go. It's very simple that way.

All this has lead my wife to label me a wannabe hermit and I guess I can't argue. But it goes deeper than that. I don't have an aversion to people and I'm not uncomfortable in social situations. Quite the opposite, in fact. I'm often (though not always) very extroverted, especially in a group setting, and long periods of time without social interaction often (though not always) makes me seek out some form of human proximity. The real thing is, I just don't have the time.

Growing up in Minneapolis, my brother would stay home if he couldn't find some buddies to go out to the movies. I thought that was ridiculous and if I couldn't find anyone when I wanted to go, I simply went. For some reason that surprised people. Perhaps it still does.

My time now is mostly given to family matters being not only a stay at home dad but also school teacher to our five year old. It's also spent working on the house projects, moving things along to the point where things that have to be done are actually done so that life can smooth out a bit as we age along.

I'm writing about this because my main focus is on my own personal writing process ("career" would be a better word but I don't have one yet). I don't want to get involved with anything, or anyone (in the form of society) that will take away from writing. I'd love to learn to play the piano and the guitar but it's not going to happen any time soon. I'd love to take a drawing class and a painting class, to study history, to learn Romance languages and to dance with my wife in a competition. Um, not quite yet.

Tomorrow starts the laundry room project which has abruptly superceded the bookshelf project due to a failing clothes dryer. Once the shelves are up, my books will be liberated from their cubed cardboard cells and I will have access to the wisdom of millions of pages around me. Then we pore over the budget again to be sure we can swing an au pair so that the kids can terrorize someone in the morning hours while I write, and voila or presto, something worthwhile could, in theory, materialize from the milieu.

I constantly agonize over the formalities I've put between me and a writing schedule but the reality is that I can't think of a better way to do it. My health is still not restored; I don't have a full productive day like I used to. I'm good for a certain number of hours and then I'm shot. When my CFS was stronger I'd actually pass out every afternoon so the fact that I'm at least conscious till dinnertime is progress.

So here I am, writing blog entries semi-regularly, a smattering of e-mails, and so far one short story that nobody seems to care for overmuch but me. But I have hopes, me. And dreams. And all these plans are a waste only if I don't follow through and actually do the writing, but that's not me. I've met many, many, many people at conferences where it's clear that while they may believe they'd like to be writers, they don't show much of a passion for actually writing. That doesn't appear to be my problem. Just ask my friends. As soon as I write 'em up, that is.


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