Monday, August 24, 2015

Because it's my birthday....

This post is several months in the making but it seems appropriate to share it today. I haven't been writing much lately, at least not anything novel length or even short story length if I'm being honest. Other than several lengthy journal entries and a plethora of prompts, my writing has been stagnate and it troubles me. Sure I've created other things in the interim (from multimedia canvas work to costumes to repurposed clothing and just about everything in between) but I haven't been writing like I want to which means I have some serious idea constipation and it is most unpleasant. 

I need a creative enema or something of the sort. I keep thinking it will come, just the right nudge or combination of relaxation and inspiration to get things moving again. I've tried to be patient. I've tried to be aggressive. I've tried to change my habits. I've tried beer (and good beer, believe you me). This blockage just does NOT seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.


Today I realized something though. In this digital age with all of the hand held equipment and multiple ways to reach somebody you never get a break. You never get a true day off anymore and that just ain't right. And yes, I used "ain't" and I know it is NOT a word but work with me here.  The only aspect in my life that I am mentally, physically and emotionally able to be available 24/7 is as a Mom. I don't take time off from that gig because it's the most important one I have and I know it. My kids are great and I share a lot of interests with both so I'm pretty lucky. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other people who seem to feel I need to be available to them 24/7 and they do not deal with me not responding instantaneously to whatever they need. I'm not sure when this happened or why but everybody needs a little time away (don't believe me? Ask Chicago). 

My point is that I think my creative constipation stems from my inability to have true time to myself to write and create without interruption. I couldn't even get a day off for my birthday because people have my cell phone number and they feel it is more than acceptable to text me whenever and as much as they please. I guess I feel like there should be boundaries and that once set those boundaries should be honored. 

For example,  if I say "Hey, I'm taking a day off for my birthday to spend with my kids and do some fun stuff since they are going back to school on Wednesday. If you contact me I'm not going to answer." I would hope that people would respect this and NOT contact me, but no, apparently I was mistaken. The correct response is texting me SIX TIMES. Did I just miss the memo on this issue? Are we truly supposed to be available to people twenty four hours a day, seven days a week? Am I supposed to drop everything like, I don't know, coaching my kid's softball game to take a phone call for work? When on vacation am I supposed to seek out whatever wifi hotspots I can find IN THE MOUNTAINS to check my email regularly just to make sure I'm available to people? 

Maybe I'm wrong, maybe this stress is not causing my creative constipation but it sure ain't helping things a lick. What do you all think? Are boundaries a thing of the past? Are we supposed to open ourselves and sacrifice our sanity for the sake of work? I'm genuinely curious here so let the answers roll.....

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I participated, where's my.....

I wasn't going to weigh in on this issue since I've addressed it to some extent before. However, I find myself unable to escape the discussion. It is everywhere. Seriously. I was at work and forced to listen to Ryan Seacrest (don't get me started) discuss his opinion on participation trophies. He clearly had no idea who James Harrison was other than "a football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers." Still, he felt the need to weigh in and "jokingly" berate Mr. Harrison for attacking participation trophies. I'm not going to reiterate this story, you can catch up on it all here and about a hundred more places.

Let me say that I feel it is extremely important for kids to participate in extracurriculars. EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. They should be applauded for this participation and supported by their family and friends. I am increasingly disappointed in the lack of parental involvement at extracurricular activities but that is a whole different discussion.

Back on point, participation trophies/medals/awards have come under fire once again and the comment sections of each article reveal a massive debate. Incidentally, those comments are cringeworthy for the spelling and grammar alone (participation "metals" anyone?). I digress again.

Basically, I believe we need to teach our kids to participate for the fun of or for the love of an activity.  But I also believe they need to be taught to compete in healthy ways. Everybody is good at something, we all have our own special talents and all that jazz, right? Our kids need to be taught that lesson because let's be honest, just because I wrote a bunch of books doesn't mean I've got my multimillion dollar contract, movie deal or even the ability to make a living off my books at this point. Those athletes making millions of dollars a year on contracts (whether you believe they are overpaid or not) do not sit around eating junk food and playing video games. They work hard for many years and have to keep their bodies in great shape to continue competing.

In fact, in every aspect of our adult world we see competition for employment. Sure, there are arguably some jobs that give you a paycheck just for showing up - not sure where they are but how do I get one?? - yet more often than not potential employees are in a competition with others for a limited number of positions. Once you get that job there will be competitions for bonuses, raises and promotions.

So again, I will raise the question why would we teach our kids to believe that everybody gets something just for showing up when that is just not how the world works? For those who disagree...where's my multimillion dollar book deal because I participated.....