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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Getting On With It

I was talking to my therapist last week about acting, which I sort of do, and he and I were exploring the possibility of it one day (far, far away) becoming more than just an amateur, "sometimes" pursuit, and making it a professional, bread-and-butter pursuit, since it's really the only thing I'm reasonably sure I do well, and it's definitely the only thing for which I'm qualified.

"How do you reconcile, though, what I think is your core belief about acting," he asked me, astutely crossing his legs and cocking his head slightly in the manner of an inquisitive Border Collie, "that it's vainglorious and indulgent?"

"Well," I said, "it is.  But, I suppose, if one is going to make the decision to pursue it professionally, you kind of have to just get over that and get on with it."

I feel that way about writing, too.  It can be purported to be done for the writer's own demon-wrestling purposes, but I think we all know I'm after the comments.


While the twins are napping, there are other things I could be doing.  I could be dusting the... thing in the dining room.  I could do dishes, wash bottles, clean the high chair trays, prepare lunch, organize... things.  But here I am, at the computer, writing.  Writing for the first time since we put our sad old dog to sleep.  That pain and that loss has subsided some over the weeks-- has it been months?  I don't even know.  But, after I'd dressed the babies this morning, and we were playing around with toys on the bed, as I was tickling my daughter's foot, I caught myself thinking about Finley.  My wife gets triggered when she sees a dog, who maybe looks like him, or maybe doesn't, around the neighborhood, or when she sees a "Science Diet" commercial on TV.  That stuff doesn't strike me in quite the same way.  Finley comes to me at random, quiet moments, times where his rough panting would have been the background noise, times where I wish that the babies, who are far more interactive, could have spent more time with him.

There's a lot of things I wish for, and most of those things center around time, and wishing I had more of it.  More time to spend with my wife and children.  More time away from work.  More time for writing.  I've been working every other weekend, that's Saturday and Sunday from 7am-3pm, friends, for more than two years now, and I'm so tired of having my weekend family time halved like a grapefruit.  I'm so sick of cramming things into my weekends "off" (you don't really have time "off" anymore when you have children, for those of you who don't and consequently don't know) and I'm fed up with disappointing my wife, who, good fortune be praised, actually likes it when I'm home.

That fact is part of what's stopped me, incidentally, from writing more-- either on this blog or as part of something else.  When I'm home, and the babies have gone to bed at 7:00 and I know we have to be in bed by 10ish or I'll be a drooling idiot at work the next day, and there are lunches and bottles and wash to prepare for the next day, how can I reasonably justify excusing myself from my love's presence while I shutter myself away in the office for an hour clacking away at the keyboard?  To be honest, I know that, if she really believed it was important to me, she wouldn't mind, but I can't justify it to myself.  I guess it's too vainglorious and indulgent after all.  I even feel guilty doing it while the babies are napping and there's no dog to walk anymore.  If I close my eyes for a moment, though, I can visualize all the dishes and bottles in the sink, and they're calling to me.

The babies are probably going to wake up soon.  There's so much in my head that I want to talk about-- no, write about.  I hate talking.  My voice is flat and heady and boring, and my words come out in a jumble of sleep-deprived fits and starts and half-cocked ideas and trailing off sentiments.  I want to write about politics (sort of) and George Takei Facebook bullshit and memories and dreams and my family but I don't really think I know them anymore so what would I say anyway and the mess in the basement and the crawling and the teething and the changing and the graying and the rolling and the tolling of the bells bells bells and I want to connect-- with you, I suppose-- and that's what we all want, isn't it?  Your time, your thoughts, your attention.  If you give me your attention, I will tell you what I am:

I am the very model of a modern major-general.

I am the monarch of the sea.

I have a song to sing, O!

I am a writer, I suppose.  One who writes.  I string words and thoughts and phrases and ideas together and I give you paragraphs and periods and you make of it what you will, and I like that.  I think I do.  I really think I like that.  If you give me two numbers and ask me to put them together, I will give you a fucking mess in return.  But words I can cope with.  I'll take words for eight hundred, Alex.

No, a thousand.

Give me a thousand: I have twins to feed.  


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