Taking Time

One of the most surprisingly difficult things to do, is know when you need to take time. Whether it be for yourself, for someone else, or for something that you’re passionate about. It is so incredibly easy to get tangled up in one thing or another and then to be startled to find that something else needs your attention to. Workaholics know this concept well. They get so caught up in the work they do that their friends or family have to pry them away to get some time with them. That or they themselves wind up crashing and realizing they haven’t taken any time for themselves. With that being said though, how do you know when you should take some time, and how much time do you need?

I myself have just recently come into some time. I previously had not that much, and now I have alotgether far too much so I have decided to dedicate it to various things I deem important. Here is that catch though, when you have that much time, it becomes so easy to push things back and put more focus on other things. Prioritizing becomes strained and somewhat difficult while procrastinating incidentally becomes a touch easier. You can argue that having so much extra time is a good thing because you have more itme to spend on one thing. Yet you can also argue that with less time, when you start a project there is more urgency to accomplish it within the time you have. Both those aspects are true. Therein lies the issue for a lot of people both my age and in my situation. Where does the time go, and how do we make the absolute most of it?

I don’t think there is necessarily a perfect formula for this. I do at the same time however feel that to a certain degree it is almost always a matter of time plus work plus effort equals results. Yet the variances in each of those individual aspects is what tends to take my focus. Time while being a linear construct is also a currency. How much you have is finite, but how you spend it is entirely up to you. How much time should I spend, working however hard, on whichever project. Then after that how much time is left over for me, or the ones that I love? Then I don’t have an answer, or pondering the solution takes too much time away from the aforementioned task so it winds up unfulfilled. Leading to an unchecked item on the days to do list.

I would be remiss to say that the problem I am addressing isn’t somewhat of a first world problem yet at the same time it is one that can become debilitating to an extent. With a massive desire to accomplish things and then concern over which things are the most important to accomplish it becomes less about taking time for yourself and more about making sure you are putting time on the right thing. Which then becomes a question of what is the right thing to put your time on. Is it education, love, making money, achieving your dreams, making friends, or is it something entirely different. Can it be all of the above while still existing within the realm of possible? Is it foolish to think one can have it all? If you can, what level of sacrifice does it require? Does that sacrifice leave you in a better or worse place than before? How can you tell?

All of these questions become trivial when faced with the larger question of what makes you happy. Which in the end is the thing you should focus on, and is the only way that I have found it possible to try and keep the time I need to spend focused on the important things. It can become overwhelming, and it will always be uncertain. Another beautiful thing about the concept of “growing up” It is almost entirely and always, uncertain. Just remember to give some of that time to your loved ones, friends and family. Then spend the rest on making yourself happy, and hope that its enough. You just might achieve your dreams along the way, the trick I think, is to not give up and stay focussed.

Also, remember that in the wake of all this worldly chaos, tell the people you care about that you love them and try and be kind to one another. The world can always use more kindness.

 

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When It’s The End?

How do you know when it’s time to move on? Is it possible to know, or do you just have to hope.

Time and time again we find ourselves in the position of asking this same question; Is this over? This question is sometimes brought about organically. Then other times we feel pushed to ask it, or inclined to desire for an answer one way or another. Of course, it is entirely possible to enjoy something from its conception through to its completion without at any point pondering that conclusive query. However, that isn’t what this conversation is about. This question applies to almost everything. Relationships, careers, friendships, social functions you didn’t even want to attend in the first place. There is a myriad of reasons. The point though, is how do you know when its over?

Is there an amount of time that you dedicate specifically? Is it until you achieve something specific? Do you ride it out until you’re miserable and can’t tell whether or not its you or them? It’s probably a mix of all of those, as well as others. I think this concept applies very directly to writing a story. Lets say you felt inspired and wrote something wonderful. It is well within human instinct to try and make it more than maybe what it was meant to be. In that case you add more, and then more. Until the story you had once perceived as beautiful has overstayed its welcome.

Perhaps you added too many chapters. Broke the story into too many different sections and you lost your direction. Alternatively it could be the characters. Their purpose was muddied and now you don’t recognize them as the ones you discovered in the beginning. How does one even start to correct that? How do you find its perfect ending? More to the point, how do you prevent yourself from forcing it past its natural conclusion to begin with? I suppose that nobody has the correct answer to a question this huge and theoretical. Which in the end is probably what makes life so interesting.

There really is no way to properly mitigate this scenario. Things will start, and will go along as they are meant to until ultimately as everything does, it stops. It is the reality of all things and in that there is comfort. The same way that you can rely on your Netflix to cut you off halfway through a satisfying binge session and ask “Are you still watching?”.

The best we can do is to remain open to possibilities of adventure. Pursue the things we desire and hope that when the story has run its course we’re able to move on seamlessly to a new chapter. Without forcing the narrative past its natural conclusion. I mean really, there is nothing worse then reading a book that loses its passion halfway through. Like those Twilight books am I right? (Is that beating a dead horse? Sorry Steph Meyer)

As a writer this topic is important to me, and as a human being trying to live life, its even more important. As it is to everyone else as well. I assume anyway, maybe there are some people who love over staying their welcome out there. Regardless, I hope that my ramblings and hopeful metaphors bring possible clarity to any of you dealing with a potential end to something important.

As always, love deeply and be weird.

 

 

 

 

Instant Poetry Vol. 1

This past week I posted three poems on my Instagram account and wanted to share them here. I am very proud of them and hope you find something in them that moves you. If not, then I did my best and I wish you well. If you do, then stay a while and maybe we can inspire each other.

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As a writer I typically always carry a pen on me regardless of whether or not I’ll actually use it, I just believe I’ll always need it, I usually have a little notepad with me too. In the days of smartphones and tablets though I find myself using my phone now more than ever to jot down story ideas or concepts and even to craft full projects. I still absolutely adore the feeling of pen/pencil to paper, but it does feel good being able to share something with you so easily.

Thanks for reading, may these find you well and may your heart beat strong. Be kind to one another, love deeply and be weird.

<Creative/CONtrol

I feel as though something every creative person struggles with from time to time is the concept of doing it for themselves or doing it for them. The “Them” I am referring to is the clients/employers/general population. It can be easy to get caught up in the idea of producing art or otherwise creating things for a paycheck. I mean isn’t that the dream? Being able to do what you love and being financially secure from it? At the same time though, can’t that be torturous if you wind up doing something thats only a fraction of the craft you love? Something thats diluted and watered down by the interjections of an institution of some kind? I myself do freelance writing and while I do enjoy aspects of it, I find that it takes away from the time I used to have to create in the way that I love to.

With that being said, I’m not complaining, only stating that in those situations you need to make sure you find a little bit of time to do what you truly love and balance your passion with the paycheck.

Heres my effort to do that exact thing.

I present to you Chapter one of “A Bastard’s Last Dance”.

The liquid that filled my mouth was thick and tasted of metal. My jaw was clenched tight as another fist swung into and connected with the right side of my chin. The blood I had been holding onto fled the vessel of my mouth with vigour as I fell. I landed on my left side supported by my hands and knees, the blood slowly dripping from my now open mouth. I had no words for the man standing behind me though he had plenty for me. I wasn’t altogether sure anymore why I was here on the ground. Not to say that I didn’t think I deserved to be but to say that I thought I had more fight in me. While assessing my beliefs in my combat abilities I felt the business end of a steel toe boot connect with the left side of my ribs. I am ashamed to say this is when I first cried out in pain. It wasn’t the two punches to the stomach or the two to the jaw. It wasn’t even collapsing on hands and knees in an abandoned warehouse where not one of my friends could find me. It was feeling the tip of that boot connect with my ribs and hearing the loud crack that went along with it. To clarify the audible I must confess that it wasn’t my ribs that cracked, though I imagine there are fractures. No, it was what I had placed in the inner pocket of my jacket that emitted the distressing sound that caused my outcry. The item to which I was affectionately attached had initially belonged to my father. It was his favourite watch that he had left me. The last object besides the DNA within me that connected us. I knew that the destruction of a material item such as a watch could never sever the bond or dissolve the memories I had of him. Though it was the principle of the item that I had wished to remain intact. As I rolled onto my back with the pain in my ribs pulsing through my torso I clutched my jacket where the now broken watch resided. It was neither the item or my possession of it that brought me to this low of a place both literally and metaphorically. It was something else entirely that can neither be truly possessed or otherwise owned. The man was pacing around me saying words that I both understood and didn’t agree with. He made claims of trespassing and theft though to which he referred could as I mentioned, be neither owned or possessed. As I lay in pain on the ground surrounded only by emptiness and the words of my villain, I managed to retrieve the pack of cigarettes i held in my right side pocket. He didn’t seem to care as I flipped open the lid and produced what was now a half sized cigarette presumably damaged in the struggle. I lit my small but equally as appreciated saving grace and took my first drag. I was overwhelmed with an awesome wave of calm as it soothed my aches. Intent on savouring my chemical bliss I let the smoke drift slowly through my lips as I noticed his ranting had stopped. Drawing my eyes back to his presence he stood now several feet away. All was as I’d left it save for the knife now clutched tightly in his grip.

“Well alright then”

I mumbled softly. My eyes floated back to the smoke still escaping into the world. I took another long drag, this time enjoying it more as my last. As he took another step towards me the plume of smoke I exhaled reminded me of a rose. A beautiful and elegant rose, like the very flower that got me into this mess. I closed my eyes to his advancing and basked in the memory. The warmth filled me as a pot of hot water and I floated away silently. Drifting away just me and my flower.

Came Back Haunted

Alice woke up at the time she had grown accustomed to. It was 8:45 in the morning and the space in the bed beside her was empty, as she had grown accustomed to. It hadn’t always been like that, and wouldn’t much longer be that way. She rolled over in bed and stared at the calendar across from her. Today was the day he came home. It was marked in a black marker and she had memorized the date. Alice hopped out of bed quickly, with a grace and elegance that could only have been rehearsed carefully. Bounding into the ensuite washroom, she leaped into the shower, and began getting ready for the day.

Continue reading “Came Back Haunted”

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A trend Ive noticed for myself personally is a sort of catch and release situation. In the way of, I save money for something, spend the money and then have to save up again. Alternatively it can go more like spend a large amount on credit, then pay it off, lather rinse repeat. The thing about this seems to be that while its avoidable, its a way of life. We as humans are constantly doing it. I know I am.

With that said, whats the solutions? I feel as though its becoming the kind of thing where we as a society don’t like doing things with our time that doesn’t result in money. I myself feel that pull. Its where art can become a confliction at times. I work a full time day job, as I’m sure all of you do too, and then in my off hours i spend many of my free hours creating art. That art has made me zero dollars, but i spend as much time on it as i could on a full time job. So where on earth is the payoff?

I think for me that payoff is in finishing something that your’e proud of, creating something thats beautiful and completely your own design. Yet, at some point isn’t the point of that to make a living? If that isn’t the endgame then what is your time being used for? Im not saying that you cant do these things purely for enjoyment without any desire for fame or fortune. Im merely wondering how that spent time weighs out in comparison. That famous quote exists for a reason ‘If your’e good at something never do it for free’. I agree with that.

So then, as people who are talented and or gifted, why are we always spending our time for zero compensation? Isn’t that just doubling down on a loss? If the banks started asking you to pay $5 for every transaction you made using your card, would it be worth it in the end? I personally love spending my time on my art, and i get endless satisfaction from it. Although, I would definitely love to turn what is currently a hobby, into a career.

Also, I know not everyone wants to make money on their art. That too is acceptable.

Taking Steps

I think that like anything, failure is something we can find ourselves accustomed to. I don’t mean to say in the way of accepting failures; but more in the sense of never reaching for something greater, because we accept that we wont succeed. I think I became incredibly comfortable in that realm of acceptance. Became the type of person who wouldn’t reach unless I knew I could fail safely. Didn’t take any risks unless I knew there was a backup plan. I don’t think this is a great way to live.

Thankfully, I’ve found myself slowly but surely digging my way out of that. Like any comfort zone it gets difficult to truly pull yourself from the depths, yet as with most things, it only gets easier the more you actually do it. Though I may seem to be preaching I’m still no daredevil, though I would argue that I’m at least making choices. That in the end is the hardest part I think. Making the choices that actively put you out of your comfort zone and force you to sink or swim.

Without that knee jerk reaction towards survival the human race itself would never have evolved to this point. Let alone me evolving to a level of actually being able to follow through on something. Heres to taking steps, may all of you push yourselves towards something outside your comfort zone. Find that place that you dream of reaching and reach, reach, reach until you grasp.