Creation vs Consumption
As you probably didn't notice, it's been quite some time since I've posted a blog. It isn't writer's block, although I'm sure that has a part in the process. At least some could call it a form of writer's block. It is more just a matter of changes in my life resulting in less time for writing and the desire to consume instead of create. Let me give some details.
First, I've been running my own business for over five months and I'm really enjoying being my own boss. One of my best friends always loved using the quote, “if you do what you love then you'll never work a day in your life”. I think I may have finally found that thing. Not that the work that I'm doing is drastically different but rather that I'm doing it on my own terms. The difference is I make my own schedule, choose my own clients, and can make my own choices with greater ease. Sure, there is the slight reduction in how much I make but it is totally worth the freedom that I now enjoy.
Second, and probably the biggest impact in the change, is some big changes in Cece’s sleeping routines. Beginning around the New Year, Cece learned that she could open the door to her bedroom and easily escape the confines of her bed. That turned into an almost endless battle to keep her in bed to go to sleep. That was soon followed by several recurring illnesses amongst the entire household which resulted in many nights spent sleeping in Cece’s room just so she could get some rest. The end result is the following daily routine (which includes some significant changes at night):
5:00am - 5:45am - wake up, shower, get dressed, take Ellie for a walk.
5:45am - 6:45am - do the dishes, make breakfast, get Cece’s bag ready for school, watch an old TV episode (currently rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation)
6:45am - 7:45am - go through Cece’s morning routine (wake up, get dressed, brush teeth, eat breakfast, drop off at school)
7:45am - 12:00pm - Work, work, work
12:00pm - 1:00pm - Workout (especially necessary since I’m training for a triathlon)
1:00pm - 5:30pm - Work, work, work
5:30pm - 7:00pm - Time with Cece and Rizzo after school that consists of at least playtime, dinner, and coloring. We will usually, but not always, watch one of Cece’s TV shows
7:00pm - 7:45pm - Make lunches for the next day, clean up the kitchen, spend some time reading and relaxing while Cece is getting ready for bed with Rizzo
7:45pm - 9:00pm - Patting Cece’s back while trying to get her to fall asleep for five minutes, taking Cece to “poop” because she won’t go to bed, sitting outside her room reading more while Cece tries to escape the confines of her prison. Finally sneaking away hoping I don’t make too much noise and wake up Cece.
9:00pm - 9:30(ish)pm - Watching a TV show with Rizzo while scanning through Twitter and other news sites.
9:30(ish)pm - Fall asleep on the couch before making my way up to bed.
That hour and a half spent sitting outside of Cece’s room making sure she doesn’t wander out and fall down the stairs or commit some other heinous act is what has really put me in the mood of consumption instead of creation.
I wrote a lot over the past year and a half. Putting up two blogs a week meant writing the equivalent of 400-500 pages of content. I loved doing it (and still do) but it was without a doubt a very time consuming endeavor. The result was that I was doing a lot more of creating than I was of consuming. I didn’t read as many books, watch as much TV, or enjoy as many movies as I would have if I wasn’t writing. At a certain point, no matter what your outlet, you want to consume instead of create.
Yes, I understand that it sounds really douchey. Well, it is about to get even douchier. Some of the podcasts and blogs that I enjoy listening to and reading are by or about writing. Kevin Smith discusses creation on most of his podcasts regardless of the topic. He will often speak about how he will go through phases where instead of writing another script he will binge watch three seasons of Law and Order because he just wants to consume. Chris Hardwick is espousing the need for “you” to simply go out and create something in this world but is often talking about his consumption of pop culture, be it music, comedy, or movies.
I’m by no means a writer/creator like these two titans of media. I’m a lowly accountant who enjoys the sounds of a keyboard clicking so I write in rambling, run-on sentences for no other reason that I can keep hearing the satisfying click of the keys. I’ll share an idea or two from time to time but that is the maximum. However, on a certain level I understand the joy of sitting back and consuming for a bit instead of feeling the (self-imposed) pressure to create something to put out into the world no matter how half-hearted it may have been.
So, what have I been doing for the past several months while I haven’t been writing blogs. Here are some of the things that I’ve been consuming:
Books - I can’t say I’ve read more books already in 2017 than I did in all of 2016 but I do feel like I’m on track to read more books and I know I have spent much more time reading. So far during my tenure sitting outside Cece’s bedroom I’ve read:
Suspension: An historical-fiction novel that revolves around the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, ex-Confederate soldiers attempting to destroy the bridge, and a New York City cop trying to solve a murder case while navigating the sketchy underbelly of the Police Department.
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life - A crime thriller set in 1970s London where a group of punk acolytes rob from the rich and give to the poor. This is not at all true but that does sound like a pretty good pitch for a book, right? This is yet another biography of the great Benjamin Franklin that gives great insight into the man’s life, especially his relationships with his wife, mistresses, and children (both legitimate and illegitimate).
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War - It only took me 10 years to finally read this book. Well written, terrifyingly realistic, and at times heartbreaking, this tells the story of the Zombie Apocalypse through first hand accounts of those who lived it. My nerdom should have got me to read this book sooner. It shouldn’t have required a movie starring Brad Pitt. However, it did and the book was far better than the movie.
Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships that Built America - An interesting method of analyzing the life of James Madison and his role in building the United States into the country that it is today. Not as entertaining and easy to read as the book about Franklin (which is telling of the men behind the story and not the storyteller) but it is a good read for fellow lovers of early-U.S. history. It was worth the time just to learn that Dolly Madison would playfully give James Madison piggyback rides around the White House.
TV Shows - Last year I would spend my “free” time in the morning while eating breakfast before anyone else woke up writing a paragraph or three. Lately, I’ve been spending that time watching old-TV shows that I’ve seen many times before, such as:
Star Trek: The Next Generation - By far the best of any iteration of Star Trek. I’d follow Captain Jean Luc Picard into hell. Here is a little insight into my personality. When I was fifteen I attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. I invited government officials, including the President of the United States. I actually own a flag that was flown over the U.S. Capital in my honor for achieving the rank. I only invited one person that wasn’t a friend, a family member, affiliated with Boy Scouts, or a government official. That would be Captain Picard himself, Patrick Stewart. He didn’t come but he didn’t have to be there, I just wanted to be able to say that I invited Patrick Stewart to my Eagle Scout Court of Honor.
The West Wing - Perhaps the current political climate in the United States makes me nostalgic for a Presidential administration that didn’t even exist. I guess I could use that as an excuse. I have heard The West Wing called “political porn for liberals”. In my defense, I’ve watched the entire series of The West Wing at least four times so really it was just that I hadn’t seen the episodes in some time.
Highlander: The Series - If it isn’t obvious that I’m a super-big nerd then my love for Highlander should but an end to all of that. I still get excited by the prospect of seeing where Duncan MacLeod will end up in the next episode. Will he have to fight a former teacher from Spain in the 1800s? Or will he have to compete with an evil immortal from the frozen depths of Russia? Who knows? What I do know is that There Can Be Only One.
Podcast - Back in October 2015 I wrote a post about my love of podcast and gave a few recommendations. That blog was called Video Killed the Radio Star. Since then I’ve added many, many more podcasts to my playlist and I’ve even upgraded my listening method. I’m going to give you good people another blog on this topic later so I won’t go into too many details here but let’s just say I’ve listened to a lot of podcast. Like, a lot!
So, that is what I’ve been up to lately. Instead of spending my spare time writing page after page of musings like Kevin Spacey in Seven I’ve been watching an endless string of television like Pigman in PCU. I can’t say that this blog will be the one to get me back on a regular routine or not. Don’t get me wrong, I have ideas to write about I just haven’t had as much drive to put my ideas into a semi-coherent format. When I do, you’ll be the first to know. Until then, enjoy this video.