what walks are to dogs: Exercise of mind and body. without needing to pee on everything!
Reading. Blogging. Writing. Walking. Sleeping. While the hole(s) in my abdomen heal, and the antibiotics kill off a stubborn infection, my routine has completely upended from what I have been doing for years. I have not been trudging along the commute-to-work/ work/ commute-to-home routine since that last week in March, or been the doped-up recovering patient of early April.
This is of course, no “stay-cation”. I am not repairing or remodeling or doing yard work. Yes, I have washed more than a few dishes. Yes, I’m doing some laundry – in daylight hours. And getting a little exercise to speed healing.
Last year, I marvelled at a blogger who travelled from place to place, captivating me – and a thousand others- with wonderful images of colorful markets, shimmering blue bays, exploring the eastern Mediterranean, and world heritage sites. I chalked it up to the vigor of youth, a great job, and cultural differences. After all, as a “Baby Boomer” I am supposed to work long hours, by the end of the work-week be exhausted, finally to take a vacation hour or two so I do not “lose” the hours I’ve earned, and otherwise long for “retirement” – if I live long enough?
What is “success” anyway? or “Happiness”? After fifty plus years, I know the first is not the most toys, or mansion-sized home, or the First Class fare on airlines or cruise lines. It’s self-defined. I can pay my bills, recover at home from surgery my insurance pays for, and walk my dogs. I guess if you can buy a latte at your favorite multinational coffee house, you too can call that success. Happiness, is a little more difficult to describe to everyone. I am reading a book, The Man Who Quit Money, by Mark Sundeen. He describes Daniel Suelo who in 2000, began living without an income of any kind. The author, in the flyleaf does note that his subject is neither “homeless”, nor a “panhandler”, nor mentally ill, but has found happiness, companions, and inspiration, from a life that would have to be forced unwillingly upon me. For me, though I do agree that having a thriving relationship – with my wife, my friends, my church and the blogging community – is happiness for me.
And a sense of peace, temporary as it is in this mad world, is also part of it. While a little suffering, my surgery and recovery, has been excellent for spurring blogging, I have had a few weeks where a stressful workday has not been inspiring me as it is for many of us. Some I know have worked years at developing their art, and that is their full-time life. If you are a full-time writer, photographer, artist, or actor, I am not so ancient that I cannot be inspired by you. What someone ascribed to “luck, or rather, luck and talent. a lot of talent”, to be successful, you have worked at diligently. I am still an amateur – I write and grateful if another, besides me, enjoys the work.
Lately my wife and I talk about writing workshops and writing contests. Do I have the will to submit continually to writing contests. Or to attend craft-building workshops? I have submitted writing for two contests so far, for Guideposts, and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists which has contest categories for bloggers. Poets and Writers, and Writers’ Digest have contests as well.
But as one widely-read blogger has opined, If you want to get your name and your art widely distributed and read, the most important feature, is that your topics and your writing, not suck. There are millions of would -be authors and bloggers in the world. So write; seek advice. invite others to review your stuff. Incorporate their criticism. Read others’ work and give feedback. And practice, practice, practice.