How to Deal With Fucking Up

I started writing at just about the time I wanted to smash my keyboard. Inside my cubicle inside an office inside a warehouse, I had six hours a day to burn at a family-owned camera business. There was windows, no escape. No one could hear me scream. 

It wasn't that writing was keeping me sane, it was just that everything else was driving me nuts. I was so frustrated I daydreamed cursing out my best friends because they couldn't make simple dinner plans. Something was wrong.

Before that I was just devouring YouTube videos to no end. I found stand-up comedians and slam poets, psychedelic lectures and storytellers good enough to pass the hours before and after lunch. Every one of them had an amazing vision of the world.

And suddenly it made sense for me what I should write about - ideas.

Former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins was a regular in the rotation. He has a poetic passion for pushing his limits. He enjoys books most people can't even lift and he performs with the fury of a dragon. And it all bled over into his bite-size YouTube stories. And most recently I found this quote to be most apt to where I am now: 

"Half of life is fucking up. The other half is dealing with it."

Although writing can be a meditation or practice, there is always room for growth. It took me a long time to get where I could publish regularly. It was way after I quit the job where I started putting my time into my words. 

And so looking back over a hundred weeks of blogging, I wanted to see how I've dealt with fucking up as I went along building an audience. What were people absorbing when they sat down to my blog?

Of all of them, the following are the Top 11 most viewed and commented on:

Walking Through Existence with Some Fly Kicks - #8
Beyond the Bored Zombies and Dreaming Too Little - #19
Collecting So Easy a Caveman Could Do It - #25
Connect the Dots, See the Picture - #27
We're Not Superheroes, We're Hitters Up to Bat - #28
How to Die Working - #78
Why Not Rethink Technology? - #84
Puzzles of Interest in Brooklyn - #90
How to Experience the Dreams of the Waking World - #92
Embracing Unpredictable Change - Explode #95
Moving On, Untitled - #97

Nothing really jumped out at me linking the titles, themes, or reasons for commenting on any of them, much less all of them. I was glad to see some of my favorites resounded with some readers, but when it got down to data, there wasn't much to go on. 

What it came down to was what the actual audience took from it. When I couldn't stare at the titles anymore, I turned and asked my friend Alejandro. He didn't miss a beat. He said something like I often wrote about a problem that initially frustrated me beyond words until I found myself relaxed enough to come to terms with it. It seemed to me like some kind of public therapy. Or cautionary tale. Or self-help book in the most actual sense.

And it's true. 

Walking Through Existence with Some Fly Kicks was about my frustration hauling junk when a customer questioned if I was strong enough to lift a metal desk. Writing it out gave me the ego check that it wasn't about my abilities, it was about putting myself in her shoes, understanding she was more worried about her home being damaged.

Collecting So Easy a Caveman Could Do It was a retrospective on the amount of crap I collected from my days junk-hauling and the realization I needed to make that I was hoarding too tightly things I didn't have any passion to fight to keep.

How to Experience the Dream of the Waking World was one of my best. I enjoyed writing it. It was about coming to terms with my emotions, whether I was feeling down or ecstatic, and understanding it was all ok in this dream of a life.

Writing is just as it is when I found Henry Rollins on YouTube. It is always a struggle, it is always a challenge. It is putting my world down into words. When it comes to content, though, I have to like what I do. I couldn't write it if I didn't. I would start smashing keyboards again. 

It couldn't have been good to just sit and devour clip after clip either. Experimenting with life and not just words has to inform my writing. It is the reason the posts where I observe and experience my cross-country roadtrip, coping with the deaths of loved ones, or moving to Brooklyn have been the most appetizing for me and my audience. It makes me more of a real person having something going on than to simply be a brain on a stick. Anyone with some patience to put words down can do that. It has to be a search for me.

In the words of Rollins, I'm only fucking up because I'm human. Writing helps me sort it out and move on. And in that way there is always material and always an audience.

Puzzles of Interest in Brooklyn

Brooklyn has kept me in the moment. You can't get off a rollercoaster and I'm on it, baby. There is no time to slow down or think too much when there is plenty of great things going on around me and decisions to be made, right away, not later.

Friends have come over to visit and I've started saying yes to any networking event, comedy show or friend's house I've been invited to or heard about. The plan is to do something. Brooklyn is just my launchpad. It may not be for everyone and it may not be right to depend on a point on the map, but it's in my present and it makes me happy. 

The troubling, liberating, mind-boggling truth is there is never enough time. Never will be. You might put your feet up on the couch or get assigned a deadline for work a year from now but there is no forever. There is only decisions. As sure as seconds ticking away. You can sleep on them or you can sleep with them. Either way, they're there, hiding in the shadows and right beside your eyes.

Teri bought me a book titled How To Be Interesting when she was went to Boston recently. And it doesn't hurt me to read, I don't know about you, and I want to be interesting, so why not see what Jessica Hagy has to say? Among the nuggets of knowledge her bold-tipped graphs and numbered lessons revealed was page 60 - Pick Something. She wrote, "Not sure what to do with your day? Your life? Your career? Frankly, it doesn't matter. Even the most intricately organized plans could crumble."

It hit me again. We make decisions on the faith alone that we know what we're doing. But it's a gamble always and knowing that makes it that much easier. Because it could be over at any second, why not try to do good, do fun, do interesting? Why not make a mark and feel alive? I'm not sure what I'm doing financially as I bounce around night to night for improv shows, frozen yogurt, or vegetables I'm sure will rot in my fridge because I don't know how to cook. My job is the best I've ever had and I'm not quite sure how it will become my career. I haven't had a date this year yet and somehow I'm both not worried and totally confused about that. It's not all that bad. Decisions are made everyday and like Tyler Durden said, "You decide your level of involvement."

Growing up riding a unicycle and hiding puzzle books in his textbooks, dropping out of law school two-thirds of the way through, stand-up comedian Demetri Martin finally found out he was the ultimate puzzle. Working out palindromes and one-liners might not be your call to action but it is the answer to his puzzle now. Why not try to figure out yours before wasting time on something without a result?