I owe all of you an apology. Without warning I went from writing once or twice a week to not writing at all. I should have warned you, but then again, I never planned to stop writing for so long. In fact hardly a day went by that I didn’t think about sitting down at the computer to pen my next masterpiece.
So what prompted this spontaneous departure from writing? I’ve spent the better part of the last week trying to think of an explanation. My first justification was that I was taking a break, a vacation from my permanent vacation. It’s certainly a convenient excuse as everyone needs a break sometimes, even when their “job” is traveling around the world and writing about it. Still, the truth is I didn’t need a break. The Ironman and trip through Europe left me energized and invigorated. Ok, next excuse: maybe I had less to say, because I wasn’t traveling to new and exotic places. Sounds good, too bad it’s a total lie. Since I’ve been in the US, I’ve been to both coasts and covered mileage that would fizzle the small scale European mind.
So on and on I went trying out one excuse after another, some probably are partially true, others simply justifications. In the end I decided the main culprit was something surprisingly subtle, I just haven’t been feeling like a writer. That may sound like a simplistic truism, but take the following analogy: when we go on vacation the first day or two often don’t feel right; we’re not in the right mindset. It takes time to adjust to life outside the office and the worries and concerns of “normal” life burden our minds. Yet a few days later as we rest in the sand we begin to transform. We find a different part of ourselves and begin to do things we would never normally do: to seek adventures, to party more, to open up to strangers, to try new things.
I’ve been going through a process like this. Like the unhappy keyboard monkey who returns to the office after a week in paradise, I’ve returned to my home country. I may not have the punishing office schedule that I used to, but all the concerns about bills, family, friends and responsibilities real or imagined, have pushed their way back into my mind.
Writing is an art. A true master may be able to write on command regardless of circumstances, but I am no master. It is humbling to realize how dependent I am upon my environment and circumstances. Like most people, I like to think of myself of an autonomous individual, more influencing than influenced by the world around me, but that simply isn’t true. Like most of us, I am largely a product of my environment, immensely influenced by everything from the ambient air temperature to the number of sprinkles on my ice cream cone.
Still, if I’ve learned anything this past year it’s that change and improvement are always possible. If I can push myself to run, I can push myself to write. So here I am. That said, I have the added advantage of being on my way back to Europe. Still, I owe you all some stories from this side of the pond, so look for those to be coming soon…