Personally, I loathe inefficiency. I am disgusted by the wasting of time. I am not always the most efficient person per se, but I try to be, and it frustrates me when I have to spend a lot of time doing something that, in my mind, should not have required so much time. I believe this frustration comes with the Pragmatist that exists within me, the part of me that tries to live life in a practical, efficient, and “common-sensical” manner.
The problem with this is that the Pragmatist (as I have called “it” in other writings) is at incredibly strong odds with the Artist that lives within me. The wannabe Artist that exists within me has been there since my early childhood, a creature that was prolific at one time, cranking out elementary school creations that were entered into art contests and subsequently garnered awards. Mind you, this was elementary school stuff, nothing great. But this Artist loved being an Artist. Even now, in my mid-30s, I still hear stories from family members who vividly recall me sitting at the coffee table “for hours” drawing pictures and talking to myself, creating stories about those pictures. Somewhere in the not-too-distant future came the actual writing of thoughts and stories in my own home-made journal which I created from a too-big sketch pad. I remember ripping out those blank pages, folding the sheets in half, and there began my first “journal”. I hid in the tiny dark bedroom closet and wrote thoughts (by flashlight, I suppose) about my crush on the two Kyles I knew, my best friends, and intimidating classmates at school. Eventually, I acquired my first official (bound) journal. This was in 1991, my eighth-grade year. From there I began one of the most incredible journeys of my inner life, the journey of taking the swirls, splatters and utter messes within me and transmuting them into more sensical words. Somehow this helped me to not only remember the great things that I experienced (with all the wonders and horrors of adolescence) but also to give me clarity. Sometimes the clarity comes much, much later, but it eventually comes. I find this to be the case even now.
I could go on about this, but the bottom line is that the Artist was there from a very young age. The Pragmatist came later, in my early 20s when I began living on my own. The Pragmatist started a war within me that rages to this day, and more often than not, the propensities of the Pragmatist defeat the aspirations of the Artist. I am not the only one to have this problem. It’s just that I look around me and notice all of the highly talented people who are waging this battle in their lives, too, and yet their talent shines through their hard work while somehow still allowing for pragmatism to coexist. I don’t have the talent and I haven’t quite figured out this balance yet.
So it would seem that time, in my case, is even more precious. When undertaking a new endeavor of any sort, naturally one must allow for a period of learning. I have a long way to go when it comes to learning how to develop the numerous desires that I have for creative expression: the whole blogging thing, drawing, painting (still an artist at heart), improving my writing, keeping a writers’ group going strong, etc. I become very impatient when something slows me down, and there are many things to hinder this old creaky artist-in-hiding. It doesn’t help that I am a Respiratory Therapist, in a field that doesn’t allow for much creative expression. My husband is a full-time student, so I’m not going anywhere for a while. Do I sound like I’m whining? I don’t mean to. I know there exists in most writers/artists the struggle to balance the everyday with the intense need for creative expression. I am merely sharing my own personal struggle.
The struggle has really manifested itself today with getting this blog started. I am a newbie. I am on probation, waiting to see how much I like this venue. I feel like I am past the flirting stage and into the fun dating stage. If it stays fun and becomes more substantial, then we will continue the relationship and see where it leads. But it is after 1:30pm on a Sunday, and I’ve spent a half-day just figuring out some of this stuff. I started out working on a very old laptop (it was a hand-me-down, and I think it’s about 10-years old). I sigh with relief each time it allows me to even open the Internet browser. It is very slow and I cannot open more than one window at a time because the whole thing locks up. I am also working with WordPress on an app that I just installed on my smartphone (and I’ve only been a smartphone user for six months). It would not allow me to post pictures from my Drop Box account for some reason, so I had to wait for my husband to go play soccer in order to grab his much newer, much more efficient laptop which allowed me to do (in about an hour and a half) what I’ve been trying to do in about four hours. Naturally the Pragmatist looks at all of this with disgust and says, “What a waste of a day. You could have been exercising … doing laundry … creating this month’s budget … grocery shopping … etc.” (and yes, all of these items are still on my to-do list for today). Now I am so tired that all I want to do is lie on the couch and watch reruns of “Everybody Loves Raymond” on my smart phone. Maybe I will. Maybe I’ll thumb my nose at the Pragmatist and say, “You know what? It will be worth the frustration and time spent getting it all set up.” And even if I’m wrong, I can take solace in the knowledge that I tried something and overcame the fear of trying it, even if it doesn’t work. I need to keep trying to doing this.
Hence the name Taciturn Alchemy: where reticence transforms as something common into something special (thank you, Merriam Webster). This is the journey I hope to undertake here. I hope we all enjoy this process together.