Wow! The response I received from yesterday's post was amazing. I put out a bit of an open-door piece on personal feelings as a writer and I received such a supportive and candid set of responses I feel it necessary to keep the energy moving.
Before I dive into my thoughts for today, thank you all for being part of this. I enjoyed reading how many of you have experienced similar shifts in friends and social/work life over the years. It was fascinating to hear how some of you managed these shifts and how some of you continue to struggle.
Here is my take on yesterday's post.There is no such thing as a proximity friend. We are either friends or we are not friends. My frustration in this situation was much more with myself for being a poor judge of character. I take pride in my listening skills and my propensity for empathy. When I am wrong about someone it forces me to go back down the line of interactions and wonder where I stumbled. Usually I find I ignored a sign because I wanted the friendship or the job, in some cases more than I was willing to listen to the truth in my head.
I am not a hermit by any stretch of the imagination. My use of the word madness may have been a bit strong for such a serious piece. I used the term madness to express humor in my self-imposed isolation. Currently, I am teaching myself a level of discipline I have not had to possess in my life. I have chosen jobs at will and worked myself into the ground doing work for other people until a level of burnout then I would quit and try something new. Working for myself and creating a path into the darkest part of the forest requires the isolation I have self-prescribed. I am in this for ostensibly the rest of my life so I need a pace that will sustain itself. Having no forced work hours, no boss, and only loose deadlines makes self discipline paramount.
My hero, Joseph Campbell, went into the woods near Woodstock, NY and read alone for almost 5 years before he emerged. While I am not suggesting I go to that extreme I am easily distracted by human interaction and human observation. At this point in my life it is a struggle to be without it and yes, to take many of my readers' advice, I should get out to a coffee shop once in a while just to break the day. However, what I was suggesting I want was a bit of a pie in the sky scenario.
I would like to be in the company of like-minded friends and colleagues. I would love to put a few of my fellow bloggers in a wondrous writing space with me each day so that we could create and also interact. In essence, I want to be a writer on the Alan Brady show (and some of you actually think I am young). How great would it be if we could all have coffee, cook lunches, read, write, and bounce ideas? We could be a blog think-tank. I know this is not feasible so the isolation is part of the game at least for the time being.
Social media is not the devil as one of my readers put it. Without it I would have almost no chance to publish, I would never have reconnected with some wonderful people in the world, and I would not have developed and owned a successful travel business in Italy. Social media like alcohol, chocolate, and exercise can be overwhelming and all-consuming and must be consumed in moderation.
Perhaps I have been a bit all-consumed and at the same time I was recently bored out of my skull and wandering aimlessly towards my perceptions of joy without putting in the work. Being alone for a showman level of extrovert like me is misery. At the same time, I refuse to believe that it is not a misery of habit. I am willing and making strides to change my capacity to function without needing to periodically show off in the company of colleagues. What am I saying? I need this time to suffer and cocoon.
I will return to the stage and I will long for the time alone. I know this intrinsically. What I am doing now will lead me once again to a place where I am tethered to a public expectation. This is what I want. I want to be an entertainer and story teller. I want to be on television and selling out readings around the country. This is a lofty goal but the only one that gets me through the muck. I know this nesting space will not last and I have found it far more productive to not attempt a two front war.
What I mean by this is: I have never managed to succeed trying to do multiple things to a level of excellence. Now, my focus is to write and all the associated components. I considered returning to a simple position in a wine shop or consulting for another restaurant. However, I am not one to do a job any way other than to excel. To excel takes time and there are only 24 hours in a day. In addition, wine and travel jobs require require action and I am so easily distracted by action and especially if I am "needed". It has been so hard to realize I am not needed and at the same time it has been liberating.
I used to wake up every hour through the night checking my phone for work related emails. Those days are gone and my phone sits on my desk in another room with the ringer silenced so that I may sleep soundly and dream freely in order to create each day.
I have some amazing close friends and a wonderfully supportive family. I am of the belief that if I am your friend nothing will change that. I can see you every week or once in 10 years and to me we will simply roll right back in without missing a beat. Being a connector personality I do my best to keep my friends at no greater than arm's length; however, this is not everyone's view and some people will come and go as they will.
I now know that once again, I am not all alone in my thoughts as the amazing WordPress community showed me yesterday. I take great responsibility for what I publish here. I take your comments as loving and supportive of fellow writers and friends. I will answer all of your comments from yesterday at some point today.
For now, I may go get a cup of coffee and watch the world.