Joined 12 years ago from State College, Pennsylvania
Four years earlier:
As I sit on my porch, overlooking the dark streetlight bathed parking lot, that distinct fresh smell of a 2:00 AM rain peering through the clouds of billowing smoke that I puffed out of my mouth, my fingers frantically dancing across my keyboard, I find myself stuck. How am I supposed to tell the world who I am, when I’m not even sure what I am doing with my life? What about ‘me’ is any different than any other schmuck coming out of college; stars in their eyes, dreams of fame following them. I push the thought away and continue. I write ten or so lines, stop, read them, and immediately cuss into the still night. Where was that bull shit detector Hemmingway told me I would need? Control A, delete, and start again. First try, too cliché; second, too corny; third, too systematic. My voice becomes lost in the erratic jumble of words splayed across the Word document on my smudge covered Asus notebook. Sure, my desire is true. Yes, I want nothing more than to be a writer and find myself in the hustle and bustle of the age old industry; yes, writing is more than a hobby to me. But is this really me? Do I want to stroke the ego of every literary fanatic that has ever lived; make it sound like I am some unique artist; a Bob Dylan, a Wordsworth, or a Twain; someone who can’t live without writing? No, I can’t lie, that’s just not me. I’m a country boy from a small town. I will make it by without a career in writing. We always have. I’m not too good for labor. Some day, I'll make it, I'm sure of it.
I sit on the porch of my beige ranch style modular home. I say mine, but it is truly a rental I have arranged with my oldest sister. This is the way of the world now, most things on this earth, possessions are never truly ours. It's an age of leased, rented, and borrowed personal space. My phone is owned by AT&T, car by Citizens bank, marriage and education by numerous financial loan groups, and child by health insurance companies. Sometimes as I sit here, these thoughts threaten to break me down, remind me of the failures I have commuted against my adolescent self.
But then, my ears hear the giggle of my young boy, Lincoln, running through the front yard, running with a face beaming bright, away from his mother who is doing her worst monster impression behind him. I remember, in this moment, that not everything can be owned by someone else. The memories, the experiences, the connections we make throughout our daily commute, all of these things can never be taken from us.
So, yes, I do now work a more regular 9-5 with the Postal Service, something I vowed I would avoid. I also bolstered my English Degree with a Masters in Business Administration with a Focus in Marketing. Part of me has shifted to aspirations of postal management or leadership in some other company; however, make no mistake, all of these are merely steps and tools to better me as a husband, father, and writer. The experiences and social interactions provide fuel for new ideas, the communication and sales sharpens my sword so to speak, and the financial stability gives me the peace and freedom to better focus my mind on writing.
Words, like memories and experiences, can never be taken. They can be borrowed, misconstrued, interpreted in a million different variants, but they will always remain yours. Both the words you produce and the words you ingest are vehemntly personal, primal, intimate, and unique to each an every one of us. My passion remains strong and flickers in that bright eyed smile of my young child. I look on him with love and envy and hope I can put only half the effort he puts into examining each blade of grass, half the love he puts into wrapping his arms around his mother's neck, and obtain half the joy he displays in each and every laugh, into my writing and into my words.
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