Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pens & Hammers

Pleased and flattered to be mentioned as a musician finding his passion in an eloquent entry at Persistent Illusion, I have thought a lot about identity in the last few days.

So many pieces of our lives are reflected by the various people who share time in our lives. It is curious and confusing to imagine ourselves from their perspective, looking from outside inwards. It becomes easy,then, to define ourselves by what we do.

On Sundays with my pals in the park, for example, I am a soccer player. That is how they know me and rarely is that impression altered by a chance encounter somewhere else during the week. Lately, for a few evenings, and in Hayden’s blog, I am a musician. To my clients, I am a contractor, my workers a boss. Some former business associates believe I am an incompetent.

Different friends and acquaintances, depending how they know me, might describe me as either caring or self-absorbed, adventurous or habituated, effusive or reserved. Even my children see me differently. My former wives likely roll their eyes, each for her own reasons.

Like the mosaic of the thousand images pasted together that, from a distance, form a famous face, these parts make me whole. Truly, each of these personas has its respective place, but I am unable to make the quintessential definition. For me, it is impossible to stand back far enough to be able to recognize the overall face without slipping over the edge and tumbling into a sea of confusion.

So it is with fascination that I find myself today looking at the same choice of vocations as I did so many years ago. At 24, newly married with three children, I remember well the look on my friend’s face, a doctor near retirement, when he heard me say I wanted to take the winter off to write. His bemused assumption that I was supremely na├»ve affected me profoundly, caused me to question my certainty that I would live and die a writer, carpentry being just to tide me over until that Great Novel was published.

Thirty years later, after struggling so many different ways to make a business out of remodeling skills, I am still balanced precariously with my feet in construction boots, trying to pull myself to sanity with one hand writing and the other playing music. No matter the call to make realistic choices for family and mortgages, the urge to create just will not lie dormant.

It becomes clearer by the day that my business has struggled because my heart and passion is fed elsewhere. Brick by invisible brick, however, a wall has been built separating me from my dreams, the daily call for dollars on the table superceding the luxury of quietly allowing ink to flow across the pages. The apparent quick fix of dollars per hour influences every choice, inhibits the flow of words, keeping them as distractions swirling in my head just beyond reach, interrupting the job at hand.

Off-balance, nothing goes well, and the bank account suffers miserably.

The opportunity in a crisis is to stretch beyond normal boundaries and discover the limitless expanse beyond our internal definitions of ourselves. As a contractor who loves removing walls and opening formerly constricted spaces, it is ironic that I should so long be banging my head against my own fears.

Glen, at PluginID, writes about living with authenticity and commitment, saying, “If you really want something…you CAN DO IT.” I feel like I wear that bemused smile of my doctor friend considering this young man’s simplified words, but realize the Internet is a great equalizer, giving blog sites authority simply by virtue of the ideas themselves, never mind the age and experience of the author.

The struggle to write my truth has cost me another marriage and the disillusionment of a cherished daughter, but this man was dying not living his passion. We all knew it. Something had to change. Step by (en)lightened step, with better vision everyday, I move forward.
Today, driving to the jobsite has taken hours as I keep pulling over to write another paragraph.
Sledgehammer in hand, the ink begins to flow.
Please share with your friends


jouette said...

you are on your way. i so feel it. good for you! loved this piece - all the parts of us, like notes resonating together to make the people we are.

Tom Volkar / Delightful Work said...

I saw you at Glen's blog and decided to visit. The writing alone was worth it man. You're good but you don't need me to tell you that.

Keep at it and you'll find your way. Your truth is your truth; you can't be anything else and feel alive. Choose aliveness!

persistentillusion said...

You ARE a writer! And a musician....and a contrac...

You know, I think that means you are a renaissance man?

Anyway, it's been a privilege to watching your 'youness' be expressed. I certainly didn't mean to pigeon-hole you as a musician!

persistentillusion said...

I checked out your two new songs! They make me feel all nostalgic and stuff. (My dad used to play for us too.) I really like "Lovers Together Again".

Kip de Moll said...

Jouette, I love the idea we're all singing our notes and blending into a beautiful song.

Tom, thanks so much for stopping by. I wish I could just scribble on my yellow pads all day long, and it looks like your site has alot of valuable info to help me be able to do that.

coooo, coooooo, Hayden, I'm a pigeon squawking.
And I so love to sing those lines:
"Life sure would be easier without its fights..."

Laurie said...

Wonderful piece Kip! The way you described your many identities reminded me of a crystal that reflects different colors depending on the direction of the light. It is still one crystal even when it sparkles in different ways. I think you are a crystal! :O) I know that you really sparkle!

Anonymous said...

tom volkar is correct Kip, you're writing is very good. I always look forward to reading something new on your blog, and this post is no exception :-)

Pauline said...

You might try writing newspaper or magazine articles to hone your writing skills AND get paid, though admittedly not much. Still, it's a foot in the publishing door, and who knows, your writing life may just turn into novel material. You certainly have a way with words!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post Kip. You are a very talented individual both musically and as a writer. Keep at it.


Writer Dad said...

You're a good writer, Kip. I'm glad you pulled over to pen that paragraph. I started doing the same thing a year ago (now I carry a small tape recorder). Best of luck.