Life gets busy and you don’t finish what you started and nobody cares but you.
And then you realize that’s what matters… you care.
It was Friday evening and I went into our local Chinese takeaway, Wok n Roll. I know; great name. It’s this very tiny place on the corner of a strip mall in our neighborhood. It wasn’t until a coworker told me that her spouse, who worked from home often got lunch there that we decided to give it a go. Now it’s something of a Friday ritual for us. While waiting for the order I went next-door to the not so fancy liquor store for beer. I’m not a big beer drinker, but I just fancied some with the Chinese food. After picking up a six pack of bottles of local Boulevard Brewery’s KC Pilsner beer, I went looking for O’Doul’s nonalcoholic beer for my husband (or as my dad calls it, “near beer”). While searching the refrigerated cases, I overheard the guy at the counter and another customer talking. The customer was asking the guy behind the counter if he was going to so-and-so’s party to celebrate that he had written a novel. Counter guy said, “What, did he finish it, publish it?” The customer says, “No! Isn’t that crazy? He’s just celebrating that he finished writing it.”
Maybe it was because it was Friday. Maybe it was because I had the promise of an evening of Chinese food, beer, and a movie with my husband. Whatever the reason, I set aside the typical feelings of discomfort I’ve had when I’ve been in this little liquor store before. I took my KC Pils to the counter, and found myself chiming in to say, “Hey I just finished writing a novel…and that is something to celebrate.” “Wow, that’s so cool!” the customer said with genuine admiration in his voice. And it was then I noticed the guy behind the counter had a name tag sewn onto his jacket that said, “Psycho”. And the other guy looked like somebody I probably would have talked to in college; though not someone I’d typically find myself engaging in conversation with in the past 20-30 years. We proceed to have this really great little conversation about writing. I tell them I did National Novel Writing Month, and they ask me all these questions about that. One wanted to know if my book would be something they might read.
The whole exchange lasted just a few minutes; a moment of my life. But when I left, I realized I really did want to get back to my book. I’ve been sick, I’ve been busy at work, there’ve been all kinds of things going on with holidays etc. Excuses, excuses, excuses. No more excuses. Let the editing begin. For real this time.
Maybe it’s not accurate to say no one cares. I know there are people who care especially my family and closest friends. Some of them may not care about reading my book because they’re dying to hear what I have to say. But they care because they care about me. And they want to see me succeed in something they know I want to do. And I know there really are some who actually care to read the book one day.
My friend Ingrid, who you’ve seen me write about here before has a photography project that she’s been doing for a long time now. I happened to notice that there hadn’t been any new photos published on Facebook in her series recently, so I messaged her. We don’t see each other in real life even though we’ve know each other since high school, because she currently lives in Beijing and I’m in Kansas. So I messaged her to ask if I had missed some photos in her timeline. She wrote back to tell me what was going on in her life and that for a time now she hasn’t been taking photos. I don’t think I put any stress on her by asking her about it. But I let her know that I care about the project and care about her.
I share all this to encourage you. Maybe you have something you’ve been putting off. Or something you started and set aside. There may be very real reasons you haven’t got back to it. I hope you find your way back. I hope you have your liquor store moment with a nice counter salesman named Psycho. Find your passion. Because when you get the spark again, it’s awesome. I went from feeling somewhat down last week to feeling elation and optimism…and no, I hadn’t cracked open the KC Pils at that point. I was buoyed by the realization that I’ve started something important to me, and I want to finish it.
And now, my tea cup is empty so until next time…