“What interrupts you? What comes up, just when you’ve managed to clear a bit of time and space in your life for you? What cars full of film students show up in your driveway? What gossipy girlfriends appear at your door? What videos appear on your Facebook wall that simply must be clicked on immediately?
Write it your own way. Tell us about the time when ‘circumstances beyond your control’ got in the way of something important. Make a list of all the people, situations, regulations, symptoms, cataclysms and natural disasters that are currently keeping you from getting where you want to go. While you’re at it, tell us about what it is that all of these interruptions are distracting you from doing, from being, from seeing?”
“Me” time is an exceedingly rare commodity. You would think I would guard it, hoarding the golden seconds and minutes and defending them ferociously against any other activity or person that presumes to lay some claim on those delightfully precious moments.
And yet . . . . And yet . . . .
I see the stack of books that I have started to read but not yet finished and I think, “One chapter won’t hurt.” But there are so many of them! How do I decide which “one” chapter to read? So I sift through them, sampling from poetry and prose alike, until the afternoon has yielded to nightfall, or the weekend has morphed back into the work week. My own creation lies abandoned in another corner. It does not chastise or pout. It simply waits for me to realize its worth and its importance.
The phone rings. It is one of my closest friends, asking if I want to go listen to one of our favourite local bands? They’ve not played at “home” in a long while and we have missed them. Of course I want to go! Music should be heard live and as frequently as possible! And so I go, listening to someone else’s songs while mine remain unsung and unheard. Oh, I try to believe that I will pay attention, try to pick up a few tricks of the trade. The truth is that it is a social occasion and my craft will not make an appearance this night.
It is Spring. The Rocky Mountains are shedding the winter’s blanket of “white gold.” The temperature climbs above 60° for the first time since late fall. I walk to the garage, laptop at the ready, intent on spending some time in the corner of my favourite coffee shop or at the library before doing the grocery shopping. Then I see “Oscar.” 650ccs and 300 pounds of two-wheeled bliss. The laptop goes back in the house, traded for helmet and leathers. There are 100 miles of twisting roads emerging from the cocoon of winter and they need help in awakening. Come to think of it, so do I. And so I set off, carving turns through the mountain valleys, breathing deeply of the crisp air with the touch of snow and ice still clinging to it. Maybe I’ll write about this first ride of the season, but it will not be this day. And the projects I had tucked within the circuits of my laptop? Perhaps I’ll return to them in time, but I will be a different person when next I meet them. And maybe by then I will no longer be the conduit to bring them into existence.
It’s early June. Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. This woman is in absolute hockey heaven because my beloved Boston Bruins are going for it all. But my heart isn’t really in it. One of my favourite singer/songwriters is performing nearby and I have never seen her live. I have been paying attention to how musicians practice their craft, how they somehow “own” the stage, transforming it into an extension of their art while at the same time allowing it to serve as an invitation for the audience to participate. There is something within me that needs to be nurtured by art shared. Instead of driving to the local sports bar, I drive to the amphitheatre and buy a ticket to the concert. It turns out to be even more special than I expected and something within my heart says, “Yes!”
I go home, eager to find those neglected and overlooked projects. I am finally beginning to understand their worth.