I’ve been thinking about writing. This is dangerous territory as thinking too much about something is an excellent way to squelch the joy. It’s also a bit of a time waster as I am thinking and not writing. I’m the sort who falls in love with the accolades without the actual achievement. It’s a closed loop in my imagination free of accountability or satisfaction.
Writing is different. I carry a notebook to write down random thoughts. If that isn’t available, I’ll send a text. The long stretches of solitude allow my mind to wander into conversations with myself. In this way, I am always writing.
It was pointed out to me that lots of middle-aged ladies take up writing, which made me bristle and cringe simultaneously. It wasn’t lost on me that most of that product isn’t very good. Ditto for paintings, jewelry and the like. But, it could be. It isn’t age or gender that makes those things lackluster, but a lack of practice. Diligence, persistence, and ultimately a realization that the pleasure is in the doing are the antidote.
There is a great scene in The Office where Creed (the old guy weirdo) wants help manifesting his heart’s desire, a perfect cartwheel. Michael (the boss) offers to spot him to assist in this lifelong dream. He executes one half-assed cartwheel and immediately stands up beaming. I think about that in relation to my brief flirtation with stand-up.
Years ago, when my brother was finally beginning to get traction in his MMA journalism career
, my dad commented, “stick to the dumb stuff, it’s your forté”.
That story always makes me laugh. It holds a whole variety of truths. That dumb is in the eye of the beholder, not everything needs to be an intellectual pursuit, prolific output is the most direct route to improvement, and my dad isn’t afraid to use his acerbic wit on his kids. He can’t say we didn’t come by it honestly.
My brother worked every day without a plan, mentor or set career path. Talking about fighting all day every day isn’t of interest to me, but it was to him and others. He now has a large and engaged audience upon which he’s built a solid profession. I’m proud of him even if I have no idea what he is talking about.
It’s a mystery as to why, but I believe in myself. Unreasonably so. At forty-seven I have the confidence to uphold what I think is funny or interesting. To produce what delights me. That I think it’s good is enough.
This little newsletter is an experiment into what’s possible. Setting aside big plans and the pressure that accompanies all that is the only way I’ve ever propelled myself to something better.
I’ve published seventy-six issues of something no one asked for. I love the dogged obtuseness of that. More than mastery, I’d like that to be my trademark.
Today, right here, I write. And tomorrow, and the next day. What’s to come of all that? That’s the wrong question.
Am I enjoying my half-assed cartwheels? Immensely.