Monday, August 3, 2009

Making Doo

Quarterbacking your favorite team on Monday morning is supposed to be an easy thing, but no one mentions how Monday’s analysis makes no decisions about the following Sunday any easier. I am completely confused about whether I should focus on offense or defense in the coming weeks.

Having looked so hard at so many things about myself in these last two years, it is easy to see how things could have been done differently all through my life. I have awesome kids and I like the core of the man I am today, but different choices might have saved a marriage or reduced the stress of oh so many years. It is easy to imagine the differences had I made other choices at points C, D or W, but given the abrupt changes lately, I have no clue how to proceed to whatever vague point lies ahead.

That I have found my cave and sequestered myself for a reasonable length of time to ponder these questions, I would think the answers now available should guide me along a clearer path. Experience should teach us to see the boulders and seek alternative routes. A playbook can be rewritten and new patterns created.

In this process, I have recognized that a successful construction career may have been thwarted by an over-powering urge to write and play music. No matter how much I have rationalized the nobility of the trades and the necessity to put food on the table, I have largely approached each project with less than my full attention, my heart fixated passionately on an underlying lust to create personal, more intimate works of art.

The various failures at several attempts to run a company has led me to not just distrust the opportunity another time, but to pass the lead on as quickly as I can--no matter how easily I might think the particular project might be accomplished. In these months of blog entries, I have expressed my joy to be creative and described a comfortable process unhooking the nailbelt, donning cleaner clothes and moving into an office environment.

Although making copies and entering contacts made my eyelids droopy and brain move at half speed, travel schedules, arranging meetings with senators, developing marketing plans and querying editors woke me right back up again. In several weeks I was settling into a routine that seemed would allow me the freedom to fit plenty of creativity into my forty hours. The playbook had been rewritten and I was on my way to the Superbowl.

The surprise of being escorted to the door opened a week’s worth of Mondays as I considered from all angles how I might have operated differently to win their trust. The truth, I think, is I did just fine. It was accurately defined as “not a good fit”—plain and simple—and seems to remain a fait accompli without recourse.

As I peruse the want-ads, like looking for a date, my heart is heavy with the effort of starting all over again. I remember the moments of drudgery and imagine no other job will have the enticing balance of such stimulating projects that spawn the mundane details. Worse is the burden of shame and uselessness my unemployment bears on my friends and family who have emotionally supported me this far.

So, despite having abandoned the nailbelt so publically and irrevocably, this morning I change back into my rougher clothes, load tools into my redster (wish I had my truck back), and cheerlead myself to work at what I have always done for better or worse.

It is easy to rationalize that carpentry is a noble trade, an honorable means of support. There is pride every day in seeing tasks clearly accomplished, someone’s home much improved and my bank account showing healthy numbers. I have practiced these justifications for thirty years.

Having so definitely turned my back on this business in this last year, returning now raises questions that a month of Mondays may never adequately solve. The declarations that I am meant to be a writer seem somewhat hollow this morning, evaporating with the steam in my coffee.

Am I so incapable of working for anyone else? Am I destined to be a handyman, rambling along until my knees give out? Are writing and music dreams better left to youngsters who have the strength and shiny armor to withstand the rejections and disappointments? Is this day just another test where I should show my tenacity once again and swim upstream just a little farther? Is there anywhere a healthy balance that does right for myself, my children and the faithful friends who have supported me?

So many questions and so few solid answers. I just have to do the best I can today and see what tomorrow, Wednesday and Friday will bring. I know there will be moments in and all around it that will be filled with love, music and happy smiles. Some days, knowing just that much is fortune enough.

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1 comment:

Laurie said...

Of course you can work for someone. You can work for yourself too. You can write and play and snow ski and find love and do ANYTHING you want. It may not be on the time schedule you would like but there is nothing that can stop your destiny. BTW you create your own destiny. Don't trash your dreams Kip. Your dreams are what make you sparkle!