I’m not one to take to intimately about myself, mainly because I don’t think people give a shit about my life (being that we’re firmly entrenched in the selfish area, where most people will listen to your problems solely to have the right to unload their own issues, in some sort of quid pro quo misery transfusion), but, as Adam Sandler so eloquently put it, “I have a microphone and you don’t, SO YOU WILL LISTEN TO EVERY DAMN WORD I HAVE TO SAY!!!!”
Last summer, I moved back to Chicago, for two reasons. I turned thirty and was living the life of a nineteen year old stoner: bartending for a living and living rent-free in my folk’s summer home; serial dating, not for the reasons I told myself then–I just can’t find someone to be with!!!– but because it allowed me to not having to commit myself emotionally to another human being, thus eliminating any chance they’d ever learn enough about me to realize what I loser I was; making less than 20 thou a year; drinking, a lot (I’m sorry, but anyone over thirty doing a keg stand should really evaluate their life choices); flirting with 19 year olds (I didn’t even like 19 year olds when I was nineteen, I mean, really, how many “The Hills”–I’m firmly Team Lauren, BTW–can one have?); going to Scottsdale clubs, rotating one of three dress shirts I owned, finding myself gravitating to the 50 something guys sitting at the bar watching a sports game on TV and eye-screwing every 20 year that wandered by…you get the idea. Loser.
The other reason I moved back to Chicago was because my father asked me to. Most of you don’t know (sorry Dad), but my father suffers from bipolar disease (it is a disease, not a disorder–the term disorder is demeaning because it pigeon-holes mental illness in a less-egregious category –and it is bullshit that it’s taken the legislature and the public this long to understand that a mental illness is as debilitating as a physical illness like cancer…I’ll get my 3 inch heel caught in the carpet on the stairs of my bully pulpit now and fall flat on my face) and basically has trouble most days just waking up, so the idea that he could run our family business anymore or provide any kind of support to my mother and sisters was unrealistic. So, I moved from Scottsdale, Arizona (S-Dale!!!) to a suburb 15 miles south and west of the city of Chicago, where I grew up. I’ve been volunteering (literally) my time at our family’s business learning the ins-and-outs and picking up the slack (feeding the dogs, taking garbage to the street, carrying the Christmas tree up from the basement–Mike lift heavy thing, grrrr, man) at home.
So, how has this changed Michael the Writer?
Well, let me put in this way. In the three years I lived in Arizona, all of the writing peers marveled at my productivity. My writing goal was 2,000 words a day, and there were days when I’d drink two pots of coffee and write 10 k, but I had the time to do it. I’d wake up at 8 AM (o-kay, 9…fine, 10:59), freshly hungover (best way to write), suck down enough coffee till I felt as though I was a rapid-beat of the heart away from a heart attack (want to motivate yourself to write, get the gongs of mortality ringing in your head), close and lock my office door, and open my laptop. There were days I’d get in such a groove I’d quit writing when the pain in my stomach became so horrible, as my caffeine-infused digestive acid ate away at my stomach lining, I was typing doubled over (almost all of my characters from those three years had ulcers) and find it to be dusk out my office window. I’d shower and head out to Pearl Sushi in Scottsdale, where I’d plant myself at the bar and drink Asahi sake bombs, eat my favorite Fish Shticks, and type another 2,000 words, drawing on the inspiration of the sophisticated, cultured, classy Scottsdale crowd.
But now. Well, let’s just say 2,000 words is still my goal…for the week. My fellow PLC writers are all involved in committed relationships (SCARRY!!!) and have kiddos and Big-Girl/Boy jobs and for the first time in my writing life, I realize how difficult it is to justify sitting down at a computer and writing when the scenes we create today and tomorrow will not buy milk on Friday and Pampers and help mom lug the Christmas tree up from the basement and develop a marketing strategy to draw 20 somethings into your bowling center.
So, my primary goal for 2010, my progress report, if you will, is to m-a-i-n-t-a-i-n, keep some semblance of, as Amy described, momentum, and figure out how to re-prioritize myself. The analogy that comes to mind is a juggler. When I lived in Arizona, I had one big red ball to toss up in the air and catch (no dude: binge drinking; three-somes, unless they are twins; sleeping; and tanning are not balls). I’d just toss that thing up and catch it whenever I want, but now, now, I’m these guys:
So since I’m new to this whole prioritizing thing, I’d love any advice you can give me. How do you juggle your balls (ummmm…did he just say that?)? Seriously…how do you not neglect people and projects in real-life and still get your writing done?
Thanks for reading. Stay tuned next week, for when I probe the delicate nature inherent in the big, bad WB…
Not that WB, silly. The OTHER WB.