Sunday, April 22, 2012

writer's block? maybe ... maybe not ...

I am stumped as to what to write today.

Maybe this is what is referred to as “writer’s block.” I am not sure. I do not feel blocked. I just do not feel inspired. Nothing has caught my attention long enough or affected me deep enough to capture my thoughts and compel me to write.

A few weeks ago, I planned that this week would be a post about trust. I even asked others what was their opinion about the topic. However, to do that topic justice would require more time to delve into my personal point of view, to structure the content and flow, to define the arguments and agreements, and to create the hook. Then, of course, there is the necessary action… to write.

I totally get that writing a blog involves one very important action: writing. What I don’t know is what one does when one is not feeling up to it, or when not feeling inspired. What does one do when there is nothing interesting to say? Nothing? That doesn’t seem right. There should be something to write about.

It’s not as if my life has stopped being interesting in one week; it’s just that my life has been, well, my simple life this past week. Nothing major happened. I read. I ate. I went to a few meetings. I went to therapy. I hiked. Nothing really that amounts to good writing material.

*     *     *     *     *

Speaking of hiking, I went on one yesterday at Bear Mountain. It’s about 45 minutes North West of New York City. It is amazing to take a quick drive and literally be climbing up into the trees and vistas. The sounds of the city far behind you and the sounds of the breeze, birds, crunching pine needles and your own breath filling your eardrums.

The hike was challenging and fun. By the end, my head felt clear and I was happy. Victor was very happy to be there. He easily climbed the mountain. It was a bit exhausting to climb it. This particular hike was part of several training hikes that my friend, Kirk, and I are doing in preparation for a week long hike in the Smokey Mountains.

That hike, which will happen in May, will give me some good writing material. I intend to take lots of pictures, and post about the daily activities, mostly how it felt, what I saw, heard, and ate; and what I learned and experienced along the trail. The purpose of this journey is to push myself physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail, or a portion thereof, has not been a lifelong dream. I have never done anything like this before and I welcome the adventure. It will be hard, but that is the point. I look forward to taking on this challenge. This whole “hike thing” came about in a casual conversation.

"I’ve been thinking about hiking the Appalachian Trail. In the Smokey Mountains, near where I grew up.” Kirk said during a conversation.
“Cool,” I said, not really thinking much more about it. I am sure I was doing three other things at once, probably updating my Facebook status.
“I was looking into it and I think it would take about seven days to do the part of the trail I am considering. I really want to experience this; I think it will be a huge accomplishment,” he said, the excitement palpable over the phone line.
“Do you want to join me?” he asks.
In my head I thought, "Go on a seven day hike? Ummmm ... No." 

*     *     *     *     *

I always say no. I never do adventurous things. Other people do. I am invited and then I say no. I see their pictures posted, their comments about their trip or excursion, and listen to them talk about how fun it was, what they saw, what they learned, how great it was. And, then, I hate them. I get jealous.

Why do other people have lives? Why don’t I ever do anything like that?

I resent the fact that other people push themselves to be a better people or to experience life in ways that they aren’t used to. Pushing outside my comfort zone is something that I do not do. And have not done in a long time.

A line from Carrie Fisher’s “Postcards from the Edge” has stuck with me since I read it in the mid-1990s:

“Sometimes I feel like I have my nose pressed against the window of a bakery. Only I am the bread.”

It’s a fitting statement that really captures how I feel I have lived my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have had adventures, but I really feel like a spectator most of the time. I used to blame work. I could never really live life because work always got in the way. Whatever. It was a lame excuse, but it worked to cover up my fears about being seen as a failure. I used to believe that if I cannot do something perfectly, I just would not do it. Let other people have a life. Let them fail. Then watch them live this “so called” life and resent them. Or … resent myself for not being adventurous.

Now I think more in terms of “what do I have to lose?” Nothing. What do I have to gain? I have no idea until I try.

Moments, or a day later, I said to Kirk, "I've been thinking about this hike thing." I took a deep breath.
"I'd love to go."

And the adventure began.

*      *      *      *      *

In the meantime, we are preparing for this excursion. We have been on practice hikes, we purchased backpacks, boots, and several books. We’ve read what to do, what to bring and not to bring, what to expect, etc. We are speaking to experienced hikers and are acquiring a lot of helpful and useful information. They are encouraging.

We’ve also listened to countless people say they think we’re crazy for doing this without ever having done it before. Honestly, I am getting really tired of that. If one doesn’t do things one hasn’t done before, one would only do what one has always done. BORING. I’ve lived my life that way. Besides, we are both adults. I feel that, as a 43-year-old man, I can handle myself on a trail. And, if I can’t, I think I am smart enough to know that I can always get off the trail. So, if you have an opinion on it, please keep it to yourself. And, no, I have not read “A Walk in The Woods.”

There is more to do to prepare. I get that. There is more to buy. I get that. There is more to learn. I get that. We leave one month from today. I get that.

What more will I get? Life experience. Thinking on my feet. Blisters. A tan. Bug bites. Sore legs. Tighter calves and thighs. An aching back. An appreciation for food that is not freeze-dried. The glow of self-awareness. A spiritual connection that I have been lacking. The stars, the moon, and the Milky Way. An appreciation for accomplishing something that I set out to accomplish. Mental clarity that I have been seeking. Many stories to tell. Rained on, perhaps. A new hobby, maybe.

Honestly, I have no idea exactly what I will get. That’s the point. What I do know is this: I am doing this hike for me. Me. No one else. This is mine and no one can take it away or diminish its importance to me. I get that.

I guess I did have something to say today after all.

Get it? Got it? Good.

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