This is the third or fourth time in the last month that I’ve found myself here — staring at a blank screen, unsure what to say, but convinced I’ve got to find a way to start writing again.
I’m not sure it’s even correct to say that a writer can “start” or “stop” writing. A driver is still a driver, regardless of whether their car’s been stuck in the shop waiting on a new part for a couple weeks. Maybe professional drivers feel the same sort of insecurity creep up on them after a few weeks, or even days, away from their cars. What do I know? Just my own self.
Yesterday I finished reading On Writing, a book by Stephen King about the way he approaches his work. It’s also partially a memoir, and some of it gets pretty far into the realm of unsolicited opinion, but I think that only made the book that much more valuable. Look at how I write — how many of my blog posts veer into the territory of conjecture and inward meditation? I guess that’s why anyone does anything — because they love it, on the surface, but to also nurture that fledgling hope that someone else will connect with it.
That’s why I’m sitting here, I think: to write again, because writing is fulfilling, but also because it’s a means through which I can reconnect to the world. That, I think, is what I’ve missed the most.
I’ve been on something of a crazy-ass journey the last couple years. I left security and friends behind to move across the country in pursuit of something I couldn’t fully articulate, and still can’t. I was chasing a feeling of home, maybe, or a vague notion of the kind of work I wanted to spend my life on. It was a risky move. It wasn’t the pragmatic option. That’s why I’m glad I did it.
I’m now pretty firmly rooted back in Portland, a city I’ve always liked but didn’t start to love until I left it behind. It was a good decision to come back here, and I think it’s a city that I can do well in for myself. But I’m struggling to check my baggage at the door.
In hindsight, as crazy and unpredictable as the last two years have been, it all worked out better than I could’ve hoped for. My girlfriend and I survived job and moving-related anxiety several times over, and now we’re in a pretty good spot — stable jobs, room to develop as people, and a home to call our own. It’s still hard to wrap my head around how we managed to put it all together.
It’s a good place to be, because it gives me the room I need to focus on something I’ve neglected for a long time: reconnecting. To myself, to my body and health, to the things that inspire me, and to the people around me.
I haven’t asked anyone outright, but I’m pretty sure I’m seen as something of a recluse. I don’t go out a lot anymore, and I spend most of my nights and weekends at home hanging out with my girlfriend and our dog and enjoying the life we’ve put together for ourselves. But I miss the camaraderie of seeing familiar faces who I’m not obligated to see, and of being around people who inspire me with the things they’re doing or challenge my long-held views on important matters.
And so: writing. I don’t even see the direct connection, but it feels like a vital first step back toward engaging with the world. It’s a way to see myself again from a third-person perspective — to break free of the tunnel-vision that follows any long stretch of uncertainty and stress.
So here we go.