A Return (of sorts)

So…by announcing that I’m back (hold the chirping crickets, please) I have to acknowledge that I’ve been somewhere. Well, I have. Kind of. About 50-odd feet away, downstairs.

Where in the hell have I been? See above.

What happened? Good question.

Anybody remember the variety show where the old guy in a tux stood on stage and tried to keep a number of dinner plates spinning on posts? He went back and forth spinning various plates with his hands, to see how many he could keep up at once? This always failed hilariously (and messily) but this was his shtick and he was good at it. Temporarily.

A chef spinning multiple plates on stage.

This routine is–in a nutshell–how I’ve felt my life has been for about, oh, 14 years. As a dad (stay-at-home, cooking, carpooling, entertaining) and go-to guy and writer and worker of various kinds of off-site projects, the to-do lists have never gotten shorter. Priorities have changed, locations (such as being on vacation as a family) have changed. Before the holidays, I had to left-leg surgeries and began a rigorous diet program (both things that were good for me). Time and tasks were impacted by a juggling element (and I suck at juggling). Ultimately, something was doomed to fall off the bottom of the priorities list. Guess what it was. Fifty points if you answered, “What are book marketing and blogging, Justin?”

The thing which made this break from blogging and marketing easier, I guess, was a real hit to self-worth (and the worth of what I write). Okay, that’s not good. I know that now.

But this is exactly what happens to a lot of artists, I think. We write, we craft, we produce, and…what’s the result, other than the thing we’ve created? More sales? Positive feedback? If you aren’t plugged into some sort of engine which guarantees an uplifting return of some sort…aren’t you just another chap shouting in the London drizzle at Speaker’s Corner? Bumbershoots pass by, faces occasionally turn, maybe a single bit of applause. (Yes, of course, the wriggle cockapoo gets far more attention. It’s cute and harmless, for one.)

For me, and for those like me, time seems to roar past us. I’ve taken a million steps and done two million things since my first visit to the surgery center. Can I recall a tenth of those things? Nope. And now it’s mid-May, and there are a number of things I haven’t touched in, oh, five months. Grrr.

Time to start again. Life rolls on. I hear a plate cracking behind me. This time, I’m going to wait to collect those pieces.

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