I’ve been having writer’s block as of late.
It’s been a relatively busy and sort of stressful past few weeks. A lot of ups and downs and a lot of not-quites and wait-and-sees. The certainty of unemployment has started to become interrupted by the uncertainty of potential employment. Interviews, freelance jobs, follow-up interviews and email exchanges have started to pick up steam and now my mind has become fixated on what I’m actually going to do next. The problem is, all of the control I had earlier over what I could, would or should do next has been taken out of my hands now that options are actually starting to form into shapes.
It’s a good problem to have, but it’s a problem nonetheless. Trying to make sense of what’s coming or what’s going to be has made me a bit edgy and anxious whereas before I may have been a bit more relaxed and resigned. I think I’m reaching an emotional turning point and the writer’s block is a symptom of my shift in perspective. It’s not that I don’t know what’s going on with me, I just don’t know how to say it in a way that really fits my thoughts.
If I were a photographer, I could take a picture for you to describe it. If I were a musician, I could probably draw up a few chords or play a few notes to share my feelings. But I’m neither, so I can’t.
I am, however, an Outkast fan. I don’t have the words to really express myself, so I’m going to steal Big Boi and Andre 3000’s to get my point across. Pardon me for stealing the words of others, but it’s just been difficult trying to find my own.
“Writin’ rhymes tryna find our spot off in that light, light off in that spot, knowin’ the we can rock. Doin’ the hole-in-the-wall clubs this shit here must stop, like freeze, we makin’ the crowd move but we ain’t makin’ no G’s” – Andre 3000, “Elevators”
I’ve had interviews that have gone well. I’ve done freelance projects that went well. I’ve got some stuff coming up that I’m sure will go well. But with all that said, I’m still where I am and not where I want to be. Progress is stressful because you’re still sitting on potential and you’re still taking advantage of opportunities, but you ultimately haven’t gotten the reward. What’s all this work going to finally add up to?
“Make a business for yourself, boy, set some goals. Make a fat diamond outta dusty coals.” -Big Boi, “Bombs Over Baghdad”
I’ve had at least twenty people ask me why I don’t just start my own business or why I don’t look into writing this blog for a living and, while those are some interesting thoughts that have crossed my mind, they make for very frustrating conversations. The problem with me is that I don’t have a real definition of “success.” I don’t know if it’s money or popularity or some increase in personal or public stature. What I do know is that putting some kind of confines or attaching some kind of tangible worth to what it is that I do would ultimately take away from why I do it. When your thinking is your business, it’s hard to tell how much it’s worth to others.
“‘Cause it’s a better day tomorrow. That’s all I can say, can’t tell the future. Tomorrow’s another day, but today they just might shoot’cha.” -Andre 3000 “Benz or a Beamer”
The mailbox is my enemy. It seems like after my best days of interviewing or after really positive news from a potential employer or a project, the mail is there to ground me back to reality. It’s like the post office and my creditors have all conspired to steal my joy. On any given day, when that mailbox door swings open, I get reminded that, tomorrow’s paycheck doesn’t pay today’s bills. It’s a not-so-nice reminder of why I need to take every interview seriously.
“Teddy Pendergrass, cooler than Freddie Jackson sippin’ a milkshake in a snowstorm.” -Big Boi “So Fresh and So Clean”
Not to get too full of myself here, but I must say that my interview attire has been top notch all summer. I must say that my bow tie game is unstoppable and, if you’re interviewing with me, please take a moment to admire and revel in my sartorial excellence.
“Bill Gates don’t dangle diamonds in the face of peasants when he’s microsoftin’ in the place.” -Andre 3000, “Red Velvet”
But even if I am interviewing with you and I am nattily attired, please don’t think that I don’t need the job. Them bow ties ain’t cheap.
“I heard it’s not where you from but where you pay rent. Then I heard it’s not how much you make but how much you spent.” –Big Boi “ATLiens”
Am I willing to relocate? Are you willing to pay me? Hey man, opportunity doesn’t have a zip code, but it does have a PIN number.
“Say no matter what goes down we stand strong, cause ain’t nothin changed (it’s simple).
Now let’s make a musical.” -Andre 3000 “Life is a Musical”
Every once and a while, my wife and I have to remind ourselves that we’re still in the fortunate class in America. We can still shop at Whole Foods. We still have every available channel on digital cable. We still go out to eat when we can. But even better than that, we’ve made it a point to enjoy every possible Chicago neighborhood festival this summer for the free entertainment and it’s actually been far more fun than anything we may have thought to spend money doing. From now on, summers are going to be about the street fests.
“See, from bedknobs to broomsticks, we lookin to start some new shit. I’m writin this rhyme in faith, so when you hear it, hope you true it.” -Big Boi “Millennium”
Something is on the way. I don’t know when or exactly what, but something is on the way. That’s why I’m trying to bust through this writer’s block and share these thoughts with you. I want to give you a sense of the frustration that comes with faith. I want you to understand what it’s like to feel like the good news is coming, to know some news is coming, but still not be able to do anything except go through another day of waiting for it. I want you to see me out and give me a nod to let me know you understand.
I just hope I get some news before Outkast drops another album.