Sunday, August 16, 2009

Running From The Dreaded Bubble…

I’m back! Is there anyone still listening? Was anyone here listening to begin with? Hard to tell given how reticent you all are in commenting… And yet, thanks to my StatCounter I know you’re out there! So for now at least I’ll keep writing and pretending that any of this has a point…

Writing can be a solitary existence at times. Especially if, like me, you are one of those writers who works best when distraction is eliminated. Maybe I’m just stubborn (or too old?!) to adapt to writing on a park bench or in a busy coffee shop or maybe I’m just too damn lazy – let’s face it, going out means taking a shower, dressing in socially acceptable attire and being forced to deal with people that appear busier, have more structured lives and make a more predictable income than I do. Are they happier because of this? The grass if always greener, you know, over there where the “happy” people are playing.

When I actually do find the courage to venture into the world and when I have one of those rare days when I feel I can hold my head high and proclaim, “I write for a living!” I often meet people who look at me with that certain look in their eyes… There’s that glazing over, that sad smile that says “Wow, your life must be so interesting…” There’s that subtle sigh that comes with it that says, “I wish I was able to ignore every bit of common sense my parents and society ever grilled into me about making sure I abandoned my dreams in favor of being a responsible adult…” Ah yes, the grass is always greener where the “happy” kids play.

I say, (usually quietly) “Um… I wrote an Uwe Boll movie…” then I look over my shoulder to make sure my secret is still safe. And it IS still safe! Because nobody is listening and that includes the person standing in front of me with the glazed expression and the sad smile. They’re too busy playing in that imaginary green land of possibility and dreams pursued, not abandoned, to pay any attention to my contribution to the sewers of the cinematic kind.

So it’s usually with a sense of relief that I return home, back to “the real world” of writing in my solitary bubble… I like my office at home. I like my tattered leather chair that I picked up in a garage sale for $10. I like the 18” Robocop figure looming over me from the shelf above - the thin layer of dust on him gives me comfort that little in this bubble-world has changed in awhile. Most of all, I like the peace of mind I get from knowing my bathroom is just a few short steps away, that it does not require a key on a giant stick and that, when nature calls, I can be assured a clean, comfortable and safe cathartic experience.

Safe + Quiet + Routine = Creativity!

Normally I cherish those words. They are what I need to do what I do. At least that’s what I’ve convinced myself they mean. Unpredictability? “Begone!” Noise and distraction? “I banish thee!”

But who the hell am I kidding?

This existence, though conducive to the actual writing process I am accustomed to now, does not alone bring about creativity. Well- it does… But it’s a kind of creativity that is mired in safeness and routine. It becomes boring. Anyone can bang words down onto a page in some kind of order (one only has to read this blog to know that!) but for it to be about something, for the words to connect in that special way that invokes an emotional reaction other than a yawn??? That takes a perspective. A perspective that comes from emotional experience and the unfettered desire and desperate need to delve deeper into that emotional experience and transform it into something else! And that kind of experience cannot be got living inside a bubble.

So today I am thankful for my recent time away from my tattered leather chair and 24/7 clean, comfortable and safe bathroom access… I’m grateful for the amazing places I got to visit between here and Edmonton in the last 10 days. I’m grateful for the super genuine and fascinating people along the way that I got to cross paths with. I’m especially grateful to my girlfriend for dragging me kicking and screaming into my first camping experience (Shock! Horror! I have to pee in those bushes? With no light? With mosquitoes, bears and god knows what else lurking around every corner?!). Among many things I discovered: That I have a massive allergic reaction to bug bites; that there are miraculous places in the world where you can swim right above a giant waterfall and NOT plunge to your death; that despite my hatred of the Edmonton Oilers, Edmonton, and the people who live there, really are quite pleasant; that A & W makes a damn tasty breakfast when you’re hungover and that you can never ever have too much ice for your cooler…!

Now that I am back in my homely little writing bubble, sitting in my tattered leather chair, my back is aching… I’m kind of sad to be here because the grass really IS greener and besides, this chair sucks! Robocop and his layer of dust gives me no comfort at all and I’m noticing for the first time ever that he’s holding a gun to my head…! (“Your move creep!”) And yeah, my bathroom is close by. And yeah it’s clean. But now that I think about it, I’ve seen some pretty hilarious bathroom wall graffiti over the years! (“Jesus lives!” then, scrawled beneath, “What about my Easter vacation?! Screw you Jesus you self-resurrecting sonofabitch!”).

To hell with safe! Bring on unpredictability! Am I scared? Terrified. But you know what? For awhile at least, I’m okay with that.

Until next time folks… Keep running from that bubble!