Some personal stuff related to writing and my life in general follows. Maybe this stuff will be useful to somebody else, and I apologize in advance if you choose to click the spoiler link and find the following text empty, useless or pointless.
There are other habits that one should hold on to. Keeping up on household chores, paying bills on time (if one’s economic situation allows), things of that nature. It can be a lot easier to fall out of these habits than it is to lose the habits that are bad for us, mostly because the more effort something requires, the less inclined we are to do them, especially if there’s a dayjob and other responsibilities involved. Firing up a game or watching a movie requires a lot less effort than washing the dishes or changing the car’s oil, after all.
But the more we put those things aside, the longer we stay out of the good habits, the worse things get. Detritus piles up, be it dirty silverware or engine deposits or recyclable waste. Then more effort than what should have been necessary is required to deal with that detritus, leaving us even more drained and less inclined to do the task on the following day. It’s a cycle that perpetuates itself, and it takes conscious effort to put a stop to it.
The habit of pursuing art is no differnet. Gone are the days when the artist could seek a patron as a source of income that kept them fed and clothed while they pursued their vision. Nowadays, to appease the exorbidant rates of utility companies and maintain even the most meager of households, one has to submit themselves to the will of a corporate or small business master. And while the cost of living goes up with shocking regularity, the salary of the day worker often remains the same. Make a single mistake, indulge in a single distraction, and you can expect nothing but disappointment if not scorn from those above you.
Thus it falls to the artist to engage in the habit of pursuing art in one’s spare time. The reduction of a life-long passion to the status of a hobby can be a crippling one. Your dreams limp along, gasping for air and vying for one’s attention admist distractions that require much less effort, input and time. After a long day of disappointment and doubt, a film or game or night out holds a great deal more appeal than even more disappointment and doubt, even if it’s in the form of something you love.
As my big sister was in the habit of saying, “Suck it up and deal with it.”
Without our passions, we’re nothing. We’re empty husks trudging from day to day banging away at insignificant tasks and spewing preprogrammed corp-speak jargon. Living that way isn’t really living. It’s existing. Amoebas exist. We should live.
I know it may seem like a lot of whining or grousing on my part but it’s been made crystal clear to me that I have once again gotten out of the good habit of seizing appropriate opportunities to write. It’s a habit I need to return to and this is my way of expressing that. Maybe somebody reading this will come to a similar realization and re-engage in a discarded good habit that leads them to freedom from a vicious cycle of depression and a dimishing self-image.
We, as individuals and especially as artists, are so much more than cogs in a machine, regardless of what anybody with a higher pay grade might say. It’s necessary for most of us to become a part of that machine just to afford a warm place to live and clean food to eat. But the machine need not be our lives. It doesn’t have to be our reason for being. There’s a reason people put faith in things that cannot be proven by science, other than ignorance or stupidity – there’s hope in the notion that there’s something more than what we see every day, because most of what we see every day can be pretty damn depressing.
I know I may never really succeed at writing. I know I may be doomed to working thankless, underpaid jobs for which I have little passion until my body begins to fail, my mind starts to unravel and all of the fire in my heart goes out.
That’s not going to stop me from trying, dammit.
I just have to try when I’m not getting paid to do something else.