You probably noticed that I took a break last weekend. No blog was just the tip of the iceberg where last weekend is considered. No, I don’t mean a reality based reenactment of the Hangover. Being an author is a consuming vocation. Your mind is so constantly turned inward to the imaginary worlds of your books that it’s hard to remember there might actually be a real world out there. Honestly, most of the time we don’t want to remember it’s there. Books, whether we’re writing them or reading them, are our ways to escape from our ‘real’ world. But sometimes, we have to venture out into that harsh reality for our own good. At least that’s what my family tells me.
Last weekend was one of those times. Only my family didn’t force me out of the nest. I went willingly. Apparently when I wasn’t looking, I developed some friends. Strange thing about friends that live close enough to be parts of your life outside a messenger window or Facebook status, they can convince you to leave your house. I know! If I’d known all that, I’d have kept to myself and ordered crap off Amazon exclusively. Oh well. What’s done is done.
That sounds funny and all, but for a long time, my life existed via my family and internet windows. I was fine with that. Really I was. Last year helped convince me, making friends led to sadness and woe. Why? Losing people sucks. Being who I am, I started retreating inside myself to the point where even simple communication became a hard thing to accomplish. Writing? Forget it.
Most writers want you to think that writing is a solitary sport. Something that can only be done when you block out the rest of the world and let yours be the only one that matters. For the most part that is true, but you have to allow outside stimulus to have some part in your existence. Work and the grocery store does not make a life. They make a sad and pathetic way to spend an excellent life. For a writer, it makes for a life without inspiration. For a normal human being, it makes for a life without meaning. Sadly it can also mean a life about to end tragically. For some people, it amounts to a life that never truly began. Maybe that is the true origin story of some authors, lives that never truly began. I hope not, but you never know.
Like I was saying, sometimes we get locked into our own agoraphobia. I’m avoiding the word rut but there it is. Ruts happen and if we let them, they take over every aspect of our lives. And that’s where friends outside of windows come in handy. Friends force you to step outside your comfort zone. They make you basically live your life instead of simply walking dead through it. For the last couple of years walking dead is the only way I can explain my life. Is it still walking dead? In some ways, but isn’t everyone’s life a bit zombie with intermittent happiness to make us go through one more moment to get to the next.
Back in January I did something different. I actively made friends. Okay, not actively, but it happened without me trying. I mean it wasn’t just one friend. I made a few. This is totally strange for me, because I am the most introverted extrovert you’ll ever meet. It’s not that I dislike people, I just like to like people in small numbers. The point I’m working toward is letting one of these amazing people come into my life at a time. A couple had already been in my life, but I took the time to really get to know them. In the midst of meeting people, and becoming friends with said people, I started to see past the darkness of what my life had become. This might sound selfish to you, but they became my inspiration. I know using people to fuel your imagination is iffy morally, but it works.
People evolve you. They make you become more than you can be alone. They truly make you a better you. My friends have done that for me. They’ve allowed me to come out of my shell. I know it’s hard to believe I have a shell, but we all build them. It’s how we survive. Maybe shell isn’t the right word. Mask seems a better use of the vocabulary. However you wish to describe the situation, I can see myself becoming a functioning member of society because of their influence. Okay, we are talking about people that would hang out with me, so maybe functioning is stretching things a bit.
Let’s say this instead. My friends are making me a happier member of society. Along the way, they are introducing me to a me I’ve never met before, and that’s pretty cool. Who knows what kind of writer that might make me before things are done? Going to be interesting to see. I humbly invite you all along for the ride.
Til next week,