What rankles my heart and kills my soul is the thought that I might die one day saying “If I had” or “I could of done/been” blah, blah, blah. These are not things that should be part of my vocabulary. Nor should they ever come from my mouth, but the disgusting and disappointing truth is that they do.
They do because sometimes I find myself staring in the mirror at an unfamiliar face wondering why I must be my own worst enemy and my greatest critic. They come from lips that look like my own and are seen by eyes that resemble mine but cannot really belong to me.
No, they cannot belong to me because there is something in them that I don’t recognize but then again I do. I see life experience. I see age. I see time. I see lines that never existed and I see someone standing next to me. He is not the arch nemesis I just mentioned, he is my hero.
He is the me I want to become and strive to be.
It Is An Identity Crisis
I choose not to look at this period of my life as anything but a moment in time. And the experiences that I have now are not going to define me. They may shape some parts and affect some pieces but by no stretch of the imagination will I lay down and let the bus run me over.
That is because this is not a midlife crisis. This is not a time where I run out and buy a sports car and find some 19 year-old girl to keep me warm. I had the 19 year-old girl and her slightly older friends. I did that when I was that age and I am not him any more. I am good with that.
No, this is an identity crisis where I am working out a few kinks. I am looking hard at what makes me want to wake up in the morning and what makes me want to stay in bed. This is a quest for joy and fulfillment. This is the moment in time where I point my compass in due south or maybe it is north. Doesn’t really matter as long as it is in pursuit of those things that I already mentioned.
Wired has a great interview with Joss Whedon that caught my eye for a host of reasons, but what I really paid attention to was the part about writing rituals.
Wired:Â Do you have writing rituals? Do you work on a computer? Do you have to be by yourself? Do you put on music?
Whedon:Â I do listen to music. Movie scores, exclusively, because itâ€™s all about mood and nonspecificity. I love the way modern movie scoring is all about nonspecificity. You know, if I shuffled the tracks fromInception, I challenge you to tell me which is which. But â€¦ you feel incredibly heightened during all of it. I donâ€™t know what Iâ€™m very excited about but Iâ€™m very excited. Or worried. Or sad, Iâ€™m not sure which, but itâ€™s all happening. And thatâ€™s really great. Whereas, you know, your old-school, very theme-specific music, which is the kind I like to actually use in my movies, is useless to writing.
Wired:Â Can you listen to music with lyrics?
Whedon:Â Only if itâ€™s supervapid. Very beautiful and supervapid and Iâ€™m not listening to it. Itâ€™s been like two albums ever, and I donâ€™t even want to say what they are because itâ€™s embarrassing.
Wired:Â And does it have to be in a specific place, or can you just go somewhere and type?
Whedon:Â I need to create that space.
Disclosure: I purchased a few tracks from the Inception soundtrack right after reading this. The answer to why I did it is quite simple. There are very few times where I don’t listen to music and if I am writing there is a guarantee that something is playing.
Music helps set the tone and when I do my best writing it is usually accompanied by some sort of soundtrack or song that makes my heart ache or my toes tap. I know, it sounds goofy but that is just how it works.
One of the best parts about being a forty-something is that I don’t have to prove a thing to anyone but myself. That means that I won’t try to reinvent the wheel unless there is a need. I really enjoyed Inception so this was a timing sort of thing for me.
In some ways you could talk about it being a sign from the universe. It was sort of innocuous. Just a little reminder to old Jack about the movie and what it made me think/feel and want to do.
A Blogging Identity Crisis
The 17 long time readers know that I don’t believe that you have to be a niche blogger to be successful, but they also know that my focus and voice have evolved over time. That evolution continues. This is an extended period of growth. I am doing a few things now that are going to impact the future of how I blog. I think they are going to be good. I see positive things coming from it.
I have very few regrets in my life but those I do have are huge. The goal now is avoid making more. The goal now is to do my best to take my shots and if I fail, well I will have tried. It is easier for me to live with the knowledge that I got caught trying to steal home than to say that I was left on base because I waited for someone else to swing the bat.