The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Is This Thing On?

Is there anybody still out there listening? Just thought I’d ask. It’s been four days or so since I’ve done any actual writing, or at least what I’d call doing my own writing, and it’s been making me a little crazy. That’s partly because I’m always a little concerned that falling silent in the blogosphere for too long is the same as disappearing altogether.

Granted, with a new baby in the house, I might be forgiven for blogging less than I usually do. It’s definitely not easy. I suppose I could take a leave of absence for a while, at least until Dylan starts sleeping through the night, because it’s mighty difficult to keep yo with what’s going on and to string together even a coherent thought or two when you’re suffering from lack of sleep.

And when I do get around to writing, I’m just catching up and writing about stuff that was news four days earlier. I’ve got about three posts in various stages of completion, and as I sit writing this post on Sunday night, to be posted on Monday, Dylan is here in the office with me, sleeping. Before to long, I’ll “top him off” with a diaper change and a bottle before heading to bed myself, in hopes that he’ll sleep a little longer before it’s time for another bottle, etc. In the meantime, I’m sitting here trying to decide which of my unfinished posts is even worth finishing. All the while, I’m trying to keep from nodding off.

And it’s brought to a realization that kind of alluded to in an earlier post.

I’ve had the good fortune to discover something that I love doing, have a definite passion for, and that at least some people think I do pretty well. I have the great misfortune of not making a living at it. And as a working parent, that means that all of this doesn’t just come second in line with the rest of the priorities in my life, but it actually end up coming fourth or fifth; after the responsibilities of work and family have been satisfied, and if I have any energy left. I’ve stumbled, I think, on to what I’m “supposed” to be doing, at the precise time in my life when I have the least amount of time in which to do it without neglecting work, family, etc.

So, why do it? Basically, it keeps me sane. I write because it keeps me from going crazy; because words and ideas start coming together in my head and I have to write them down, if only to get them out of my head. It would be much easier if I could just not think, because if I didn’t think I wouldn’t want to write, and if I didn’t want to write I wouldn’t get increasingly frustrated when the circumstances of my life mean that I go days at a time without writing.

It’s a “fix” I guess I need a little of every day, whether it’s the excitement of the ideas and words coming together in my head, the satisfaction of having written something I feel good about, and the sense of connection I get from being able to post it here or somewhere else, get comments, and engage in dialog with the people who read it. And it feels like a “fix” because if not being able to write for days at at time sends me into a kind of withdrawal—complete with moderate depression and frustration—then being able to finally write something almost always causes those feelings to lift.

Now, if I could just find a job doing the kind of writing I do here, about the kinds of stuff I write about here, I’d be all set.

In the meantime, I just wanted to make sure this thing is still on, because I intend to get back up to speed sooner or later. I just hope there’s still some people out there reading by then.

14 Comments

  1. I’m reading. And I wanted to comment on the “What I have learned” post, but the comments were closed. I was a little worried about you, but didn’t feel I knew you well enough to send an e-mail to that effect without it seeming weird.

  2. It would take much more than a four-day absence for you to lose your place on my blogroll. 🙂

  3. It’s good to have you back. 🙂 Even if I don’t always comment, your posts are a daily must-read.

  4. Well… While I’m pretty new to reading your posts, I’m still reading as well. It is good that you took a break, coincidentally, I’ve gotten busy with my own life (what a way to start the new year, eh?) that I haven’t gotten around to check and read your posts until today. Glad to have you back, T. 😉

  5. I had the same thought as Rachel above. I was a bit worried, but I figured fatherhoodx2 had you busy.

    I enjoy your writing. Please stick around.

  6. That’s the great thing about RSS feed — I can come by when the RSS says, “Porch light’s on!”

    Wish I were closer — would come over to do some babysitting. I’m getting a powerful grandparent jones, as my first is due in July.

    Of course, periodic photographs of the adorables would work too….

  7. Hey T, I’ve been out of the loop myself, but have been meaning to say congrats on the new addition to the family! Best to you all.

  8. I’m still reading. Not as regularly, but with your current work schedule, that works out for both of us.

  9. Yes, there’s more than just crickets chirping out here. 🙂

    Echoing what rachel said. I tried using the “contact” to circumvent the closed comments. Terrance, I hope my message reached you and was well received.

    Having my first child was a life-changing experience. Having my second – while working full time – was more like getting hit by a truck. The transition to three, for whatever reason, wasn’t nearly as brutal.

    Terrance, congratulations again on your addition. If it’s any consolation, the sleep-induced phychosis started to ebb around month number four. I’m now raising three beautiful children (as a single parent), and I sleep almost every night.

    Hang in there, and thanks for all the rockin’ writing.

  10. I don’t read the blogs everyday…but I certainly look forward to yours.

  11. Hi I find your blog very informative about what’s going on in your world and the wider world. I have enjoyed reading your blog since a professor turned me on to it maybe a year ago. It’s a pleasure having you out there.

  12. The previous post was written as stream of consciousness, in a moment of frustration, and I posted it here because I didn’t have another outlet to express those feelings. I closed the comments, because I wasn’t sure I wanted to have a discussion about it so much as get it out.

    The frustration, on one level, is normal for anyone in my current situation; with major life changes either in process or looming on the horizon. In the past year I’ve changed jobs and become a parent again. Next month I turn 39, which means that there’s another milestone looming on the horizon, and one that’s a natural point to reflect on the past.

    On another level, the frustration is something specific I’ve dealt with for a while now. I’ve written before about being diagnosed with ADD when I was in my 30s. I got treatment, and things changed dramatically for me in some ways, specifically in the kinds of work I was able to do. I’d spent my 20s struggling to keep my head above water, crashing and burning in every job I had and not know why or what to do about it. Those were “lost years”, during which I watched my peers advance in their education and careers while I floundered, and wondered what it was they “got” that I just couldn’t.

    It was after my diagnosis and treatment that I realized I’d lost a decade of my life, and the opportunities it held bit that I wasn’t equipped to take advantage of , because I needed help I didn’t know how to get for a problem no one knew that I had. (And those who figured out that I had a problem were primarily concerned with making it no longer their problem.) When I got treated I did better, worked better, and starting moving forward after treading water for more than 10 years.

    That’s when I discovered that my life had changed in ways I hadn’t considered. In fact, much of it didn’t belong to me anymore. I had responsibilities to my employer, which I had to meet because I had financial responsibilities I had to meet. I had a family that required (and requires) my time an energy as a husband and father if I want to have a happy family. Suddenly, there was, and is, little time or energy for anything that doesn’t have to do with work or family, or anything not connected to a duty or responsibility to someone else.

    What that means, because I don’t make my living writing or writing about the things I’m passionate about, is that at a point in my life where I’ve finally found what I love to do and have a passion to do I’ve also reached a point where I have to do less of it. If I’m going to be a responsible employee, parent, etc.

    Right now, I’m trying to figure out how or if I can make a living writing about the things I’m passionate about. And even then, how much of a living? Like I said, the 38-year-old me has a lot more responsibilities than the 25-year-old me. Can I forge a new career path if it means a pay cut? Can I do it now? Or will I need to wait until the kids are older? If so, can I do it at 45? 50? Starting a career, that is. What do I do between now and then?

    I don’t have any answers to those question right now. I’m still thinking them through. But I’m haunted by the feeling that a door is closing in my life that I won’t have the opportunity to walk through again. In fact, I’m wondering if a part of my life that held chances for me to achieve some degree of career success, is just plain over. And if it is, what do I do with the desire that still remains.

    If I can’t fulfill it, do I let it burn and just live with it? Do I extinguish it? How?

    That’s why I wish sometimes that I could just shut that part of myself off, and just not think or want. It seems like it would be so much easier.

  13. Terrance,

    I’ve been thinking the same thing for a while now. Hold tight, brother. It sounds like you have so many things to give meaning to your life that you will find some kind of balance.

    GDad

  14. when I start feeling really down on myself I start looking at dharma teachings

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