Friday, July 23, 2010

Just like a faucet that leaks

Foot shot
Sunset in Wisconsin

It’s another one of those days when I don’t know what I’m doing or why I’m doing it. Why am I crafting my day into words, explaining to strangers how I occupied my time? I’m grateful for this place, the space that I’ve carve out for myself to create, but I don’t feel like I deserve it. I still feel like a vampire, living off other people’s good graces, their gifts, their leavings.

I am truly grateful for the thing that have been given to me, and I try to accept them in the spirit in which they’re offered, but the nagging voice at the back of my head says: when are you going to start pulling your own weight? Earning your own living? When are you going to give up on these juvenile dreams? When are you going to get a real job? When are you going to come of age?

The whole time I was in California, I drove around in other people’s cars, rather than bothering to rent one myself. I spent more on hotel rooms than anything, but even then I spent most of the time being the guest of others, availing myself of hospitality rather than paying my own way. I drove cross-country with my brother partly as a fun adventure, but mainly as a cost-saving tool—that way I could add wear and tear to his vehicle, not mine, and piggy-back on the fossil fuels he was already burning. Even the hiking trip was just a way to avoid paying for another week of lodging.

Maybe it’s being back here, my adventure for the summer mainly over, and realizing that I still don’t have a place of my own. The land decision hangs over my head. As the stock market dwindles, so does the cash I have to plunk down on acreage. I want a home, but at this point it just feels like another abstract goal to mark down on a list.

The real business of researching, contacting realtors, calling about listings, driving around country roads to find another disappointing piece of dirt, and then starting from scratch again is exhausting and heart-breaking. Worse yet, it takes time away from the writing work that I have put at the top of my list. But can I write with a good conscience until I have a carved out my own space in the world? And how can I carve out my own space until I stop doubting myself, and forge ahead, doing what I believe in?

My California host has a son, a 24-year-old jazz drummer living in New York City, an excellent career choice which I endorse heartily. His story did make me take a step back and wonder to myself which career path is harder: aspiring writer, or aspiring Brooklyn musician? Maybe I should put fashion model, movie star, and astronaut on that list, too. I’d never question the dreams of anyone else. I want my nieces to be able to pursue any ambition they have. But when it’s me, by myself, bashing my head again and again against these same doubts, these same obstacles, it’s tough to not throw it all to the wind.

Here's a link to his band's music: Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. Go help an artist out and spend some cash.

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