Hello, it’s me, that guy who used to enjoy writing this blog. The guy who couldn’t wait to open his computer in a coffee shop or quiet bar and transform raw thoughts into blog posts or essays that left him grounded and allowed people to understand what was going on in his head while potentially helping themselves. The guy who used to love working out complex thoughts for hours or days before settling and channeling a flow state and walking away with a finished product. It has been so long since I have written anything of substance that you probably forgot who I was, and maybe I have forgotten a bit of who I am.
So what happened? I like to think it was the perfect storm of moving, buying my first real coffee brewing device, podcasts, writers block, seasonal affective disorder, five seasons of Breaking Bad, and a myriad of distractions, but in reality it is just laziness, and maybe some fear. The last post that I wrote at the end of 2015 caused me to freak out a bit because it was the first time in a while I sat down and was fully honest with myself, especially about some of the things that I really need to change in my life, which rapidly triggered several weeks of near constant panic attacks. That type of negative reinforcement for writing made me want to stay away from the keyboard and focus on other things. I think that enough time has passed that I can try and get back on the horse, but even now I feel the anxiety rising, but fear not faithful reader, I shall push on.
Even though it was primarily laziness I have to say that there are a large number of smaller issues that have influenced my hiatus. Moving to Burlington last fall made life a lot easier for me and definitely produced a lot of benefits for my social life, but it did cut down on the time that I had to spend waiting around for open mics or shows or events. This was time that I would normally spend sitting in coffee shops or libraries trying to write. I have never been good at writing or studying at home, it has always been too easy to fall into other patterns or to attack one of the dozens of other projects that I need to do, especially since I now have an Aeropress coffee device so I don’t need to go out to get magical caffeine fluid. Writing is hard, so hard that even fighting the continuous laundry beast is a much more appealing task. With this myriad of tasks and distractions hanging over me I just haven’t felt like sitting down and forcing myself to work on writing long form material. I have developed a bit of writing ADD where I can bang out a 4 line joke a few times a week but every time I started to work on writing I would get halfway through the first paragraph and then lose interest, even this post has taken me months of thinking and procrastinating to generate and I still may not even post it.
I think that another big factor in my silence is the lack of silence in my own life. I am a bit of a loner and have spent large portions of my life by myself. While I would often listen to music I was able to push that noise to the background and have a dialog in my own mind (or sometimes out loud to myself). Whenever I would drive anywhere I would talk to myself and work though thoughts and generate ideas. It sounds stupid, but it is something that kept me sane and awake during the 25 or so thousand miles that I drive each year, and along the way it helped me to wrap my mind around a lot of deep thoughts. In November I got a new phone and one of the first apps I downloaded was called Podcast Addict, which has actually turned myself into an addict. I listen to dozens of podcasts and have focused on catching up on years of backlog and have been pumping this information into my brain every chance I get. Now whenever I am in the car, or in the kitchen, or alone at work, or even in the shower I am barraging myself with other people’s thoughts. This is an easy and effective way to attain and process information, but it is filtered through other people’s lenses which keeps me from generating my own ideas and pondering my own views. I recently took a two day podcast fast where I was able to revel in being alone with my thoughts.
The shocking thing for me was that I really didn’t miss the silence in my life. I have to credit this to my new found practice of meditation. I took a stance this winter that I was going to delve into the world of meditation and after reading a bit and trying a few things I have been able to setting into a daily practice that helps to bring me some calm. I think that having 10 to 15 minutes of concentrated silence and stillness has given me the ability to fill my life with so much more, which is something that you hear from a lot of people that meditate. I often get up after sitting for a few minutes to find myself energized and focused in a way that I haven’t been before, and I use that energy to tackle bigger and more pressing issues than writing, like fighting the laundry monster. I guess it is some of those things where since writing hasn’t be in the fore front of my mind I haven’t been going after it, especially since writing has felt like such a chore. I will occasionally snap out of a meditative state with the title for an essay, but I haven’t found a way to unlock my mind to generate more than a passing thought let alone a fully formed idea.
So where do I go from here? I suppose that this is the point that I make a grand statement about how writing is the most important thing in my world and I will unveil my plans to write the great american novel in one sitting. Or it is the point that I give up, close the website and spend the rest of my life staring vainly through whiskey tinted eyes at the writing career that could have been. I think that I am going to take a less extreme path than either of those options, I am just going to write. I am going to write about things that matter to me, and things that make me uncomfortable, and things that make me laugh, and hopefully over time I will develop a practice where I can consistently produce writing that is better and better. But for that I need your help, I need you to hold me accountable for producing, debate with me, argue about the things that you think I have gotten wrong, push me to be a better and more prolific writer and to have stronger convictions. Tell me what you love, tell me what you hate, tell me that I am making a difference in your life, tell me that I matter, because knowing that what I have to say is not inconsequential is the first step to fighting off the anxiety and sitting down and putting words on the page.
Yes I know that this essay is poorly written and choppy, but it was written and that is the first step. Also yes I know that I used a double negative in the last sentence, want to fight about it?