Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree

I think I hit a mental crossroad. The other night, while talking to someone particularly close to me, they referred to my writing as my  “leisure time activity”.

There was a bit of venom to it, but it was also powerful enough to get me thinking, especially consider that was an off the cuff statement. Maybe writing isn’t for me. If people just perceive me as a hobbyist, not someone who wants to write professionally, than, why am I doing it?

I mean, I don’t write for fun. It’s a good release, but the entire time I write I’m anxious about what could be done during the time I actually am writing because, as of now, I’m not being paid for my work. I wish it was otherwise but, maybe it’s time I realize that writing is not something I’m destined for. And like any dream, you wake up from it one day, comb your hair, button your shirt and go to work.

I feel not unlike Winston at the end of 1984, sitting in the cafe and realizing he was just being stubborn before giving in and becoming a cog like everyone else. His mind giving into the futility.

Sorry to spoil a sixty-five year old book, by the way.

Or this could just be a comment that had a massive catalyst effect in my on growing depression. Something that has covered me so heavily now that depression feels less like something I’m drowning in and more like something that has soaked into my pours and has become a part of who I am.

So…maybe it’s just that.

I don’t know. Who knows, maybe it’s something I needed to hear. Maybe I don’t have the kind of life that would allow me to write, especially one where I already have a family and work.

Maybe I could have read into my creative needs all wrong. I was reading Steve Martin’s amazing autobiography, “Born Standing Up”, and in it, he talks about his dad. His dad wanted to go into comedy, but overtime, stopped trying, it turned him bitter and hollow and cold, and this inspired his son, Steve, to go out and do comedy without quitting. Maybe it’s like that for me, maybe I’m going to be that for my son. The hollowed out, cold husk of a human being that makes my kid go, “christ, I never want to be that guy” and try harder.

I mean, it’s like this part in the comic Chosen, in which, spoiler alert, the main character who has been narrating the entire tale, has you thinking he’s going to be the reincarnation of Jesus, but instead, you find out that he’s the antichrist. He talks about how, in the book of one’s life, no one ever expects to be the villain in their own story. Maybe that’s it.

Or, again, maybe it’s just the depression and I’m back to writing tomorrow? Who the fuck knows anymore.


3 thoughts on “Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree

  1. This actually reminds me of something I heard on American Idol the other night. Keith Urban made a (kind) criticism of one of the contestants, and one of the other judges said something like, “You’re going to crush his dream!” And Urban replied, “If it’s really a dream, it’s uncrushable.”

  2. No! That’s not what I meant at all! Damn it. I’m sorry that I came of sounding that way, and I regret getting angsty and not thinking before I spoke. There just has to be a balance. Just because writing isn’t your job and you don’t get paid for it, doesn’t mean it’s not important. But we have to balance our time between our kid and other stuff. That doesn’t mean we can’t fit it in. Like right now, I know I have to put all my stuff on pause. I know it’s not forever. And sometimes I can even fit something in, and when that happens it’s great. But I also know I have to be able to pause at any moment because the baby needs something. I have to be able to stop and come back. Sometimes a week later. That’s all I was saying. You don’t even have to pause for that long. We just have to work around the space and schedule that we have. It’s a hard truth to swallow, but this is what we chose, so now we work with it.

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