In the 17 days since I last posted anything, I have done the following:
- spent a sordid Easter long weekend in a Chicago hotel with a woman OTHER than Goddess
- fired fully automatic assault rifles with members of a SWAT team
- ran after a cop to videotape him as he chased a suspect in a shooting who was fleeing the scene on foot, whilst realizing that perhaps only cops wearing Kevlar should tear after people who might have a loaded weapon on them
- was bitten by a police dog…voluntarily.
- spent another weekend in Memphis where I drank far too much, mostly because I found out that the one woman I’ve ever known carnally that I wanted to marry just got engaged to someone else
- did most of that drinking with a black blues musician who calls himself Dr. Feelgood Potts as we watched an attractive English girl with hot pink hair dance with some annoying Australians who had haircuts that made them look like the Doodlebops, all of which served to add a mild Wes-Anderson-like quality to my melancholy
- attempted to sneak upstairs at Graceland, was caught and escorted off premises by security.
- after several attempts finally finished Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby, which is no reflection on the excellent book or its author so much as a signal of my reluctance to commit to anything that might take longer than a few weeks
- have put on at least 5 pounds eating Southern cooking, including (but not limited to) country fried steak, fried chicken and waffles, chicken and dumplings, old fashioned barbecue served with either fried okra, fried pickles or cheese grits…oh, and biscuits and gravy too.
- visited the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, where amongst other things I purchased an actual Bill Clinton action figure that makes various famous comments from the man when you press its chest (strangely “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” was not one of them)
- last but not least, I have spent 10-14 hours a day recording the efforts of police officers as they try to prevent students from making bad choices, despite the students’ determination to make them anyway.
So you might say I’ve been too busy living my life to blog about it. More to the point, I’ve been too busy living life to actually assign meaning to anything that’s happened in the past two weeks plus. Which is not to say it’s not required – there are a few items on the list that will need to be unpacked in subsequent blog posts, and my experiences there may’ve helped me become a Better Man. But I haven’t consciously sought betterment of any kind, so I can’t say for certain. As you can tell, I’ve been…well, preoccupied.
I have been anxious, which may be no surprise if you’ve read any of my past entries. However, this time it’s not a general malaise. The source of my angst is very specific, and strangely it’s giving me a certain measure of satisfaction. You see, I’m worried because I haven’t penned anything in 17 days until now. What makes that gnawing anxiety oddly gratifying is that I’m uneasy not because I haven’t written anything for you to read so much as I haven’t written anything, period.
There is a saying that goes “once you sell it, you never want to give it away again.” When it came to creative self-expression, that was precisely my attitude. I once enjoyed the privilege of working at jobs that allowed me to show off - I was indulged and permitted to demonstrate how smart and funny and clever I could be. However, in so doing I developed a rather mercenary attitude. I couldn’t see the point of expressing anything unless there was someone there to pay me for it. Even when I started this blog, I had plans for what might come of it; a rapturous audience obsessed with each new post and whose slavish devotion leads a broadcaster to give me a TV show, or a publisher to give me a book deal, or a maitre’ d to give me a good table at a nice restaurant.
None of that has happened, of course, but that hasn’t kept me from posting and I’m realizing why – I feel better when I’m writing, and I feel worse when I don’t. Money’s got nothing to do with it. This is a major breakthrough for me. Despite a career in communications, I could never find the internal motivation to articulate even my most basic feelings. The result is that I was strangely disconnected from myself. I’d pursue some ill-advised course of action or mutated strand of logic that made little sense to anybody, and I didn’t have the resources or the self-awareness to realize how far down the rabbit hole I was.
Thanks to writing, I can summon the self-reflection needed to see and possibly avoid such things. Moreover, writing so that one or two people can read it and possibly identify with my experience puts a little more distance between me and that nagging feeling that I’ve been behaving insanely inappropriately my whole life Or perhaps I have been acting insanely inappropriately and only now I can understand why, thanks to people who’ve perpetrated the same anti-social behaviour and can tell me they relate.
Of course, life will continue to rob me occasionally of the time needed to write, and the Muse may not visit as frequently as I would like, but it’s going to take a lot to dislodge my newfound motivation to write, to make sense of the world and my place in it. If there was ever a big step in becoming a Better Man, this is it.