19 September 2012
I always cringe at these words when anyone else writes them, but it is true that I have been out living life and that has left me with little time to write about it. The only thing is that I don’t mean to put a higher value on the experiencing than on the writing.
The contrast between experiencing and writing, or living and reflecting, is one I have thought a lot about. I set out this year to travel as much as possible, and I traveled every month for several months, but then Summer came along and I hunkered down in California. I went to work every day and then I came home to write. If anyone can romanticize something like that, it’s me, but the reality was just me sitting alone in my studio apartment writing and listening to the same music I always listen to. But, I liked it.
I liked it so much that it scared me a little. I think the same way that most introverts sometimes get freaked out by how much they enjoy being alone. Because, like, how is there room for anyone else?
I read Steal Like An Artist1 and took comfort in the point about being boring. That is, living a pretty boring life, because that’s the only way you’ll have time to create as much as you want to. Then I heard someone paraphrase a famous musician as saying that he doesn’t keep up a lot of friendships, because he prefers to put all of that energy into creating music. And then when I was in Germany, I read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running2 where Haruki Murakami says pretty much the same thing, and I had mixed feelings.
I hit the limits of my introversion all the time. I think about how I want to be the kind of blogger and person who reaches out to everyone and makes people feel warm, but I can’t. It’s a physical feeling that I can’t extend myself any further. I have almost an endless capacity for introspection, but a limited ability to express that outwardly. I try to push myself, and I’m usually happy that I did, but there’s a point where I just can’t anymore. It’s not that I’m not accepting of my introversion, but that it’s easy for me, and I don’t want to always play it so safe.
Right, but I’m not choosing a life where I just sit in my small apartment and write. That’s not big enough. So after a quiet Summer, I took off for home (Tacoma with trips to Seattle and Portland) and then Germany and Amsterdam, and since I’ve been back, I have made plans to attend seven concerts, four comedy shows, and visit two new cities before the end of the year.
It’s a contrast thing. Summer was for being quiet and Fall is for being louder. I got used to the quiet and then I spent September moving all around, and realized I was really happy doing that too. So I kept up the momentum when I got home. The thing is that when I’m busy, I don’t have that much time to write and when I’m experiencing big things, I simply don’t have that much to say. The meaning all comes later when I’m at home and everything is quiet.
All the time I spend experiencing and all the time I spend writing are both important. And and and, I’m always concerned that the contrast is off, that I have gone too far to one side, but I suppose I should trust that I will always fly in the other direction, probably a while after I should have known to go. But let’s give up on this idea of balance and get comfortable moving between extremes.