Archive for procrastination

Happy Trails

Dear Adair,

I find myself lacking the ability to begin a paragraph today. I’ve done this enough times in my life. I do this daily. Tens or hundreds of thousand of paragraphs later and I am stalled. I can’t think where to begin this end. How do you start a goodbye?

When we (unsurprisingly) unanimously brought up the end date for this project, the date seemed symmetrical and convenient. September makes sense since that is when we began. But as the month has come and gone, it has been remarkably challenging to write these final pieces. The deed seems so much more weighted, even though we are beyond practiced at it at this point. But still the end seemed to add stakes to a very low risk idea. These letters between friends became final thoughts in a conversation that has lasted all night but you still cannot end even as the sun begins to rise.

But end it must. The limits to the format and the range of topics we are willing to explore here is becoming clear. New projects have hijacked the creativity this project began to stoke. And like so many productions and rituals from our lives, this too must end.

I’m proud of this blog. It made me write every week, it made me more practiced and made me work at something only for its own sake. I’m pleased that the outcome could be consistent and as polished as we could get it. And I’m glad that the works created were of great enough impact and interest to us to start a second writing endeavor and began plans for others still. The spark it fanned will not be dying in the near future.

But real gain from Tales from Two Cities was not the habitual writing, but the exploration of a friendship. Through all the new discoveries, forgotten connections, hurt feelings, and perceived digital pressure, we know each other better for having embarked on this together. We have shared family history, hidden passions, cursed our shortcomings, and rallied behind our creative strives. Working together on this made the apathy of long distance friendship impossible. We had to talk, and share, and grow. With new works coming together, I know we can be sure of this continued growth as writers and people.

I’d like to say thank you for suggesting we do this. I feel more involved in your life and more connected as an artist because of this. In fact, the community I’ve felt from working with you has rippled out to every corner of my creative life. For your impact, your editing and your friendship, I thank you.

For the last time, but not the last time,

-Danimg_5123

I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues

Adair,

If there is one thing I know about myself, it’s what I can’t do. The list is long and includes welding, drawing, tailoring, Russian folk dancing, and writing jokes in Braille. I’m not great at making lists either, but it seems odd to mention that now.

I’m accomplished in a very finite definition of the word. I excel at using grandiose words to describe my leviathan-esque inferiority complex, but I have trouble spelling my own name. I’m okay with these facts, because I have done many of the things I want to do in life, and I’m working towards others.

But for all my attempts at humor and striving towards some sort of excellence, I know I do lack certain skills. Some, like cooking, I’ve managed to pick up and become competent. But there are some skills that either age, inclination, time commitment, or another excuse have kept me from pursuing. And one such unobtained skill haunts me above all others.

I wish I could play piano.

I sing like I’m trying, I read music like a toddler, but I still perform a fair amount. But I have never had the patience or the diligence to acquire any real level of piano proficiency. This is much to the chagrin of my various piano teachers over the years. Oh yes, it is not opportunity or specialist training I lack, but the wherewithal to focus in an academic setting to master a skill. Because who likes practicing, am I right?

I am reminded of another hack, Kanye West. The man cannot sing, but he still wanted to make music. I can’t play, but I want to make music. If bands still had “front men” I might be in luck. And if I never compared myself to Kanye again, I might actually get ahead in life. But here I sit, barely able to hit the right keys on a laptop, and counting black keys when I find a key signature in a song.

If I could, I’d play the entire Billy Joel catalog. And if I get my life together, over the next 50 years I could get there. But I had a couple shots at gaining skill at piano playing, and I wasted them. This is par for the course of my life, but something I am actively trying to correct as we speak.

Some day, I may play Root Beer Rag with the greatest of ease, but it is not today or tomorrow or five years from now. The truth is I should be a piano player and I am not. But someday I might be better, I might push harder, I may even play a song I love and sing along as if I had been doing it for years. Today, I hunt and peck around middle C and sing songs nice and loud.

Plunking out his part,

-Dan

Try A Little Tenderness

Dan,

I think we can both agree that we try to make the most of the opportunities given to us. We fight hard for our achievements but we also recognize that we are lucky to be in that position. We appreciate the beauty of pursuing passions and dreams. Our lives are not perfect, we still battle our respective windmills, but we are living a lucky existence.

This being said, something I’ve seen as a habit for myself is the growing impatience I have with the pace of those around me. I’m a fairly lighthearted person in the day to day but I also know what it is to hurt and struggle to claim your own identity. I spent years floundering, fighting upstream to get to the place I find myself at now.

I have a job I love, friends who support me, family who understands me, passions that drive me and I reside in a city that constantly inspires me. I am living the life I worked for, I am the woman I struggled to become and now I feel like I’m waiting for the world around me to catch up.

The projects I help on thrill me but do not feel completed in the way I desire them to. The financial goals I have for myself are established but nowhere near accomplished. And I see people around me focus on what goes wrong rather than embracing how lucky we are to be given the opportunities we are offered, and taking action and make our lives better.

I know I fall victim to wallowing, overthinking and depression but I am able to dig myself out. I spent so long feeling so helpless that I don’t want to waste my limited time focusing on what I can’t have. I want to create, live and grow and I want to recognize every day how lucky I am to have these options.

Despite this I become impatient, I want my life to feel more like it’s “started.” I don’t want to wait on others; I want them to be at this ready place as well. But that’s not how life works is it? Part of embracing existence and learning is recognizing you may be alone in this some days. People, projects and jobs may hinder you at times; you may even become your own obstacle. Knowing this is half the battle and allowing life to go at whatever pace it needs to is the other half.

Practicing Patience,

Adair

I’ve Been Failing You

Dear Adair,

So much is going right for me this year. I’ve reached a new level of creative involvement with my peers, new opportunities after a few years of stagnation. So many new things are happening that giving the rundown of “what’s new” to people I don’t see on a regular basis has become a monologue listing these projects. But, this is only half the story.

I am involved with a lot of projects, but I am failing at even more. Half finished scripts, ideas only outlined, a rewrite badly needed, an audition blown off, and a Shakespeare monologue I really need to memorize, are just some of the items in my unfinished business folder.

Just since I started writing this post, I have checked Facebook, looked at The Black List, researched a film financing company and texted my sister. Should I have just sat here and finished this piece? Absolutely. But my attention is something that can be captured or even held for any long period of time (expect by stories of importance and science of all kinds).  My mind can create at the speed of thought, but my thoughts rattle around and trap me in a cycle of thought, attempt, failure and distraction. Rinse and repeat over the last twenty years.

I struggle on a daily basis to make my ideas manifest. Sometimes, my fingers fly and the words fall in the right order and the idea makes it through to the page. A thought comes from my head and into the world and like a demon being driven from my body, I’m freed from the unyielding locomotive of my own consciousness. And sometimes, I watch cartoons and make a sandwich because it is easier than trying to live up to the spark of creativity that won’t shut up for five minutes.

I would say that I’m getting better. And with smaller, more easily created projects and ideas, I am. The poems that used to clog my mind and prevent my sleep are safely in my hard drive. The TV series that would span ten seasons and end with with a roar is still a one page outline, but progress is progress. Every day when I hit the keys and let my mind seep onto the pages of something that may never live beyond the binary coded tomb of my expelled ideas, I am better for it. But those days are hard fought.

I failed to write every day this year. I’ve failed to finish my novel, or even share my play with anyone. But I did start a production company and launch a podcast. I have written thirty poems. And I’ve begun many new and interesting ventures that I can’t wait to share with the world. And if I can keep trying and succeeding to bring some ideas to life, I might one day push myself to having more days like today, where my mind makes the words happen in real life.

Getting better (I hope),

-Dan