Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Family, Friends, and What's Important

Like most people, I struggle with loneliness. I’ve never been an extreme extrovert, though I spent most of my time at college with lots of people around me. Since I have come home from Brown, however, loneliness is an emotion that I deal with on a day-to-day basis. I went from having a huge number of people immediately at hand to having none.
            I had a long talk with my parents about loneliness last night after dinner. The only way I knew how to vocalize my struggles was in three tiers. Most immediately, I am no longer living with my family. Instead of a walk down the hall, I have a thirty-minute drive when I want to see them. Next I have my friends, most of whom have left town for work or grad school. Though I spent college surrounded by people, my high school experience was significantly less social. It would be easy to blame it all on other people or internalize it and absorb the fault myself, but like most things in life the truth is somewhere in the middle. As a result, I have only a scattered few friends left in town and not much time to see them. The one that I’m struggling with most, though, is losing my characters. When all else has failed me in the past, I drew, I painted, and I wrote. I got to know and love my characters, and now that I am in grad school and working, they have been a necessary sacrifice. It’s hard to swallow, but it is the reality of my situation.
My father, based on Facebook profile pictures
            It wasn’t until last night that I realized my parents had been leading me to the solution for the past couple months. My father goes through phases in which he adopts different sayings. Some are ridiculous and you can’t wait for them to pass (currently he can’t get over saying, “Wheels Up” before holding out his fist for a pound). That being said, my dad is an incredibly bright man, and most of his sayings are very wise. One of his recent sayings has been, “When it’s important enough to you, you will find time to make it happen.” I never really put much thought into the saying until recently.
When my mother suggested that I start keeping a blog, I was fairly skeptical. I’m not a techie, I didn’t know much about blogging, and I’ve never written much besides fiction. As anybody who knows me would tell you, I’m a bit of an art purist. Abstract art makes my skin crawl and archetype plots bore me to tears (sorry, Stephen King). Neither is bad, the message simply is lost on me. Consequently, I needed more than a little convincing before typing out my first post.
While my dad is fairly left-brained, my mother is the opposite. Only after talking to them last night did I realize I needed to combine their logic to find my solution. My dad was right; I needed to make time, I just didn’t know how to balance grad school, work, and writing. My mom made the solution accessible and introduced me to a new art form in blogging that is surprisingly cathartic and caters to my time restraints. Instead of Elizabeth from my first Sunday Stories post (which you should read if you haven’t yet, and let me know what you think), I’m exploring myself. After all, fiction characters are really just a projection of their author. I’m just being a little more explicit.
            So here’s to family. Here’s to friends. And here’s to figuring out what’s important and making time.


  1. As my very wise best friend says: Time isn't something you have; it's something you make. It's fantastic that your parents are equally wise. Have fun exploring your own depths and making time for what matters!

  2. C,

    There's a lot of wisdom in that statement. I do think it is possible to have time as well. Unfortunately that was the style that I was used to and I am trying to switch, which is as difficult as it sounds. I'm having a great time with my controlled introspection, and learning slowly what it is that matters. Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. What you're really saying in this post is that you miss me. Don't worry. I'll be home in a month. Then we can watch some more "Legend of the Sasquatch" together.

  4. Talk about unexpected surprises. Absolutely, I can't wait.

  5. 'You cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with' Wayne Dyer.
    This is a quote I read once a long time ago and it has guided me through my own journey to remain true to myself in my own bouts of loneliness. Be confident in who you are and have trust in the people around you (in whatever capacity), and you will never be lonely in your heart.
    Time for me isn't minutes or hours. It's moments. A glance, a smile, a tear. It's when the world stops and you feel the breath pass your lips. When minutes are scarce, make the moments count and you will no longer try to look for minutes lost.

  6. I really love how you are writing for youself, just to see where the words take you. I can't wait to see how this develops. Keep it up!!!!

  7. Annaclaire,

    I fully agree with everything you say in your comment. The struggle for me was that I felt like I didn't have all of myself. I spent years and years of my life around my characters, developing them every day. When grad school and work started chewing through all of my time, I felt like that part of me had been lost. The great part about Smoke and Rain for me is that it breaks the process down into manageable chunks. Life is about moments, I couldn't agree with you more, but I've been living a life defined by hours to this point and am only beginning to appreciate the glances, smiles, and tears of my life.


    Thank you so much. It's really been rewarding for me so far. To be honest, I'm really looking forward to getting the next Sunday Stories out! Thank you so much for the encouragement, and I will keep going! I'm a week into the process and still as motivated, if not more so. I hope you keep writing as well, because I really enjoy what you are working on as well. Thanks again!