Let me start off by saying that I like people, most days. I’m an engineer by profession and as a rule interacting with other life forms is not one of our best traits. I would judge that I’m a bit off the engineering-norm here in that I generally do well talking to others and don’t even mind the occasional public speaking chore thrown my way.
But there are those days. The days where people let me down. It comes in waves. The folks touching my life are suddenly too human and consistently fail to meet my expectations for a peaceful existence. I have a drama limit, don’t we all? Unexpectedly these other life forms start sharing an abundance of their drama with me. Am I giving off signs that show I desire this type of interaction? That’s probably a longer discussion.
I had a couple of these dark days this week. They’re draining and eventually I know I’ll slip and be “blunt”. That’s my code word for telling other humans I would be happier if they took their need to exist on this planet outside of my environmental perimeters. Generally my previous blunt moments haven’t been good for family, friends or career.
For a portion of my early career I wrote software. It was the perfect occupation on those dark days. It was professionally and socially acceptable to go in my office (work cube), turn off the phone, and just code away. Bang on the keys, develop some elegant code that solved a problem, and at the end of the day come out refreshed and ready to deal with life again. Then I had to leave that world.
Long distance running became the new escape. For the next two decades I could just slip on the running shoes and hit the road. I’d come back tired but recharged. And then I got older. Running hurts now. Old age sucks. I needed a new solution.
Along came writing. You get to be by yourself, punch the keys, create something you hope is elegant, and come back refreshed. Of course, other people will feel the need to judge the effectiveness of your writing. But if that gets to be too much, you just go back into isolation and write some more.
It must be working because these days whenever I feel myself edging toward bluntness, my wife always asks me, “Do you need to write?” I can’t figure out if that’s love she’s showing me or merely self-preservation.
My first book is due out in a few weeks. Like any new author, I dream that my work will be successful. It’s not the money or fame I’m chasing. It’s the chance to have a blunt-free life. I think that my family and friends are rooting for this too. They should be.