QUITTING THIS WEEK: Skipping a Day of Writing

Back in the day there was a commercial for the Florida Orange Growers Association where Anita Bryant said “A day with orange juice is like a day without sunshine.” This spawned the Steve Martin one-liner “A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” I liked the latter a lot more than the former. This week’s quitting is really more about not quitting.

For way too many years I have put off writing. I’ve filled pages and pages with story ideas, most of them mediocre, all of them in their time at least semi-brilliant (he said tongue in cheek) in their fleeting dalliance with my curiosity. The only thing they really all have in common is that they were unexplored. Whether out of laziness or fearing an inability to develop them they’ve all laid dormant. Some of them I hardly recognize while others, though they may be just a few short sentences, remind me of where I was and what I saw that brought about the idea.

They have titles that still titillate: “Gary found the cell phone” “At least they found the body” “Men carry their troubles low” and “The role of steps” (actually that one sounds kind of boring, come to think of it) just naming a few. So in an effort to fulfill the purpose I think God has for me I’ve decided to quit skipping any days of writing.

As this and perhaps subsequent Thursdays may prove, this may not be a good thing. The writing may wind up not being a great thing. You never know where a creative endeavor may lead. However, one thing I have decided is that my writing will actually, finally, be A thing.

Persistence and consistency hasn’t ever really been my bag though. I was a sprinter in my more athletic youth and the mentality seems to have carried over to what I do today. I like to hit something with both barrels, completely focusing all my efforts on it for a short time until it is vanquished and then fade away like vapor. Then, it’s on to the next thing. I know that writing, even poor writing, will take time (that’s sort of a cruel irony, isn’t it?). I have that now. Time that is. I’ve always had a strong irony. Our kids are grown. My job affords me some flexibility (mostly because it never wants to leave me). The truth is I probably always really had time but just didn’t want to think so.

I mentioned God earlier and not to be too new-agey or mushy but the whole purpose thing, as I’ve gotten older, has become much larger. I think a person, as they reach a certain age, starts to think about legacy. I also think they start coming to grips with their mortality. Whereas prior I thought there would always be time to elaborate on what happened after Gary found the cell phone, now I’m not so sure.

I’m not dying, at least not any more than anyone else is dying, so please no frantic calls to my cell phone. Don’t get the wrong impression, I’m just realizing “I ain’t livin’ forever.” So, the resolution is to use the time and do what I believe is my calling. Maybe I’ll find out that Gary really did nothing with the cell phone. It didn’t lead him on the adventure I envisioned more than 20 years ago. There wasn’t any mystery because the person that lost it had a locator and basically just tracked it down and showed up on his doorstep the next day in their Camry and said, “Thanks”. It could go down that way. The good thing is, now I’ll know. Finding out will be a personal adventure enough.

I’m excited to find out how this turns out and interested, what have you put off for a long time that might be fun to explore now?