There’s only one thing I trust less than the weasels and that’s public transit.
That quote tend to be the general thought process of the average bus rider in this city. Granted that I presume most people that require public transit are jaded and disgruntled there are those that may surprise you while you ride.
An example being the low waisted, big sweater and side-turned-hat hooligan who runs for the bus so he can get there before his baby’s mamma, set up the seat so the stroller can fit then plays the role of a doting father during the entire ride.
This world is full of surprises if you take a chance to listen to it rather than blocking it out with headphones and dark sunglasses.
I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not exactly the most culturally… developed person out there. I grew up in a small town with a small highschool that had 3 people that weren’t white. Combine that with the fact that once I moved to the big city with a tangled web of public transit that I avoided for years but now, due to new circumstances, I’m forced to ride for an hour everyday and what you have is (the longest run on thought ever) Adventures in Bus Riding.
Recently I bought a house (huzzah!) But the house is well and away from my job (double huzzah!) So now I get to ride with the all too colourful masses of London City and experience a whole new world that I fervently denied the existence of for the past 10 years.
Today I saw a woman who looked like she took a bath with a toaster and watched a seagull eat a whole wet napkin. Where’s the nutritional value in that??
This is meant to be lighthearted and not taken too seriously as I’m sure you’ll soon find out over the coming days.
Now how the hell do I post from a mobile…
As simple of an idea as “Just Write” was it still remained an issue to keep up with, and beyond self pity, excuses, and distractions it’s becomes more a matter of simplifying the focus. No longer should I focus on the concept of consistency or the ideals of episodic entries chronicling my simple day to day but rather embracing something we can all relate to.
When you’re struck by that overwhelming urge to just write.
The house is quiet, the cats are asleep and it seems like time is simply non-existant. The problems of life are set on their path to a solution, so we sit there… distracting ourselves waiting for time to be visible again. Dinner time, bed time, time to get ready for work, time to leave for band practice. All situations where time is practically tangible. All times where I don’t have time to think about what I want to write or think about the last time I wrote simply because time is keeping me distracted enough.
So here I sit. Listening to “Mother Mother” with the cats perched on the back of the couch, my life partner off at band practice and the only thing I have left to mark time is the silhouette of my window frame crawling down the wall changing colours like a chromatically challenged chameleon.
I like alliterations.
That is all.
I’ve been debating about how I’d start this entry out for some time.
While I started out hot and running with this blog, it eventually tapered out like many of my other hobbies, something that I warned about when I first started writing here. With a zeal so strong, and a motto so simple as “just write” it eventually became easier to “Just distract”
In all truth, I planned to start this out with something along the lines of “I’ve been wanting to write but I just haven’t had the time”
An easy enough out.
Because lets face it, time is the easiest thing to blame and we, ourselves, are the hardest. It’s much easier to make excuses than to be truthful with yourself, and lets face it, when you run out of excuses what do you have left? Simply put, distractions.
We can all sit here, or there, or just go about our day to day keeping our hobbies or plans of self development in the back of our head on some distant ‘to-do’ list. Continually procrastinating and excusing ourselves from the chore that can be self-development. I should know the most about that as I ignored problems in my stunted development for as long as 9 years, continually making excuses and procrastinating until I eventually ran out of excuses like “Time” and “Money”
So what then?
Distractions of course!
Video games, girls, and work were among some of my favourite, each one less enticing than the previous but Work gave me money for girls that liked to play video games and with that chronologically fatal combination, time faded and was heavily consumed with continuous distractions.
A shame if ever there was one because although there might seem to be an infinite amount of women in the world, more games than anyone could play and work for anyone who’s willing to put their backbone into it, the one thing we don’t have a definite amount of is Time.
While we can give vague ideas like a life span, anything can happen and time could be shucked out of existence without the existee even having the… well, time, to realize what they lost.
As I watch my grandmother’s time run shorter by the day I find myself caught between guilt and denial. Although my grandmother loved me more than anyone else because we have a ‘connection’ I’m guilty for exactly what I’ve been talking about all this time. I didn’t make the time to see her in her health because it was easier to make excuses than solutions. Easier to distract myself than to think about how important she is to me, easier to let time slip past my eyes and identify problems rather than work toward a solution.
And that’s a damn shame.
So when you next find yourself thinking “I don’t have the time” I ask you to really look at your day and think about if that’s really the truth.
It’s 430am on a Wednesday. One of those day’s I’m getting away from work this week. I run through a mental to-do list the broken clock mocks my pre-mature idea of accomplishing anything. The clock battery has been dead for days… weeks? But it still has enough life to stare me down and challenge me to change my ways, to accomplish something, even something as easy as replacing its battery. Still, I ignore it. Making a beeline for the chair in front of my computer I amuse myself thinking how midnight shifts have a tendency to animate inanimate objects. Who else do you see but the cat, the clock, and the drug dealer. No self respecting person is awake at these hours of the night… day? Ah who cares.
While I sit in my computer chair and muse melodramatics with myself time continues counting away, relentlessly, despite what the sad grey clock says on my “apartment beige” painted confines. I can almost hear the clock ticking, echoing off the bare walls and business carpet. Ticking seconds, minutes, hours away all inside my head. No matter how hard I want to believe I can stop time, I know it’s impossible, I just want it all to stop and give me time to sober up, time to get ‘my shit together’ but I just don’t care. I’m alive, I have a job, pay rent, pay taxes, I’m alive… Right? What more do I need to do? I need a break from all this thinking so I step out onto my balcony. When I cross over the border between my single bedroom apartment and onto grey paint chipped balcony, for just a moment, I feel like a king overlooking his concrete kingdom. Kicking the cheap white plastic
chair throne out of the way I approach edge and lean over the banister that shares the same tone of beige as the apartment interior. I can feel the chill in the morning wind that comes in from the west competing with the rising eastern sun. I light up a joint and my knee-jerk reaction that flashes through my mind-that always flashes through my mind, is that this is a bad idea but still, I inhale. I get high to make the thinking stop but all it does is make me think more, think more about everything I’m avoiding. So I force my focus elsewhere and inhale again. I focus on the postal depot that sprawls before me. Basically a giant parking lot dissected and split up between trucks and shipping containers with a dull grey building at the front, ready to lead it’s army of postal trucks into the world they serve. Each truck looks similar, but not, in that creepy way that only a big business could accomplish. Some of the longer, some shorter, some newer with the modern logo, some older with the logo my father would recognize sooner than I would. The beat up ones rest in a corner, marked for repair with a bright yellow sticker highlighting where the damage is, in case you didn’t notice the missing bumper.
I can feel it kicking in now as my thoughts become more elusive. The people at the depot are scurrying around like uninspired rats and the trucks are their maze with the paycheque at the end of the week being their cheese that they’re forced to eat if they don’t want to starve. I take a deep breath and sigh a rattling cough, completely unheard to anyone 8 stories below in the depot. Sometimes it seemed like a long way down. Other times it seemed like if I took a running jump I might be able to float down to the shipping container closest to my building. As though flight was possible, I just needed to master the landing. I turn my focus upwards toward the wisps of clouds in the orange painted dawn sky as they casually eased forward toward the sun’s warming embrace. By now the road that lay parallel to the depot was becoming the path most traveled and the tangerine sky was bleeding way to the crisp summer blue sky. The breeze had picked up and gently caressed the flags that top of the depot like leaves on a brick and mortar tree. Only that there wasn’t a tree in sight, just concrete and marketing schemes. Big signs telling me that if I was in an accident I should know who to call! Beyond that, bigger building with bigger signs and bigger people all the way at the top.
I took this bitter realization as my cue to go back inside, away from this world I ignore.
Heavy curtains drawn and air conditioning turned on to high the apartment sat in an artificial night with the white stucco ceiling playing the role of the stars. Putting the real world out of my mind I adjust my perspective to something life changing. The default beige walls now held the dim residual blue glow that came from my computer monitor. My cat digs his way to the other side of the curtains where the sun is still welcome and the A/C is less potent. Still it hums and drones allowing me to fade away into a state where I’m barely aware of what’s going on around me, even the hum fades with time, hiding somewhere deep within my consciousness. For what feels like hours I sit there in my chair, relaxed, in a meditative silence. With back to the clock I am no longer aware of time.
I close my eyes and for a fleeting moment I feel I have succeeded in stopping time.
Thank you for reading my second installment of the Writing 101 (day 2!) where we’re told to ‘look out a window’ or ‘focus on setting’
Now here’s the catch about the concept of Just Write; It’s not that easy.
If it was that easy to ‘just’ create art, art would have no value. The reason art is inspiring and the reason we’re driven to create is because creating isn’t easy. What’s the point in achieving if achieving is easy? Anyone can do it so what makes you so special? Now that’s the question I want to ask myself. When it comes to writing, what makes me so special? What do I have to offer to you, the reader, that you haven’t already read before? Granted I don’t expect to blow minds with my first entry or even my first years worth of entries. If I was going into the game with that kind of mentality then I’d already be doomed to failure by detriment of my peers. So what white river rapids do I have churning in my mind that could become the waterfall of thoughts down to my finger tips and into the proverbial flowing river of this blog?
Who knows. Me?
Hell if I know and I’m the guy writing it all. That’s the joy of art. You never know what it could become.
Before I wrote this, I wrote an entry about writers block, got a page worth of length out of it and decided it sounded forced and contrived and not at all what I wanted my identity to be portrayed as so I deleted it and went to make dinner. Halfway through making dinner I had to put it all on hold to run to the computer and bang out this abstract melody of my thought process. By the way, who else hates plastic wrap?
Anyway. (Bear with me, you’ll get used to that)
If passion is what drives an artist then that will by far be my biggest hurdle to leap. Although I have passion for the idea of writing, I rarely have passion of a solid idea, and if I do, I play it out for so long without actually putting anything down on paper, that when I go to put something down on paper, the characters and plot seems… immature. Like little Zach’s first short story written in grade 5. That doesn’t mean it’s without merit, I just find myself to be my biggest critic. Even when others may appreciate, agree, and even understand what I write about, I still manage to make myself feel like the victim of my own unforgiving thought process.
I’ve always believed that with dedication, anything can be achieved. But it’s my peers who define what is great. I can be proud of my own work, I can even love it and I have written several things that I have loved and as the cliche goes, they were eventually lost to the annals of history. Work I did in school that mysteriously disappeared after I graduated. What would I be if not a kid who found no use in school work after my senior year.
To get back to the passion that I once had in regards to writing, I have to appreciate not ‘just’ writing.
I have to appreciate that I can write something worth reading.
It’s no secret that it’s been said through out the years “practice makes perfect” and while that’s all well and good, the majority of us suffer from a great rift between our desire to achieve and our desire to practice. That’s where WordPress comes in.
I’ve tried several times to practice and make perfect of several hobbies that could, at length, be defined as ‘one night stands’ (Learn Piano, wood working, learn guitar… the list goes on.) Where I believe the error of my ways is, is that I over complicate and exaggerate what it could become rather than what I want it to be.
I want to play the piano like my father. Not impossible but the man’s been playing piano for 30 years. That’s pretty daunting to a big picture kinda guy like myself.
Now where it’s easiest to be overwhelmed is when you compare yourself to others and get lost in the identity that they’ve created over the years. We, the creators, probably grew up watching someone else create something beautiful and that impassioned us to want to take up the pen, the keys, strings, knife, and create something that does their work justice. Why not? It’s a chain that’s been going back since the beginning of our time on this planet. I was inspired by the novels I read through high school, and the people who wrote those novels were inspired by the people they read when they were young, passionate and impressionable. So we try on the shoes of our forefathers and, unsurprisingly, they’re too big for us when we’re budding artists. To grow into them takes time, takes effort, and a hell of a lot of co-ordination while you stumble about wearing shoes 5 sizes to big. The natural thing to do at this point is to step back, try on something a bit more suiting to your development and just keep walking.
Or in my case, Just Write.
I’ve played around with themes, subjects, and mediums but what it all boils down to is practice makes perfect. If I want to write a novel, it doesn’t matter what I write now. I’m not going to write a novel on my first go. I’m not going to write a best seller on my first go. The characters I think of, the premise, the settings, all things that come and go like rain and the wind. What I need to do for my level of development is commit to writing. Plain and simple.
Whether I take inspiration from my day at work, the lovely old lady I met in the elevator, or The Daily Post, I’m just here to write. And continue writing. There may be stories, there may be rants, I may even review a movie or two as long as I just write.
If you make it that easy, it’s impossible to fail.