I have never done just one thing. Multitasking seems to be a way of life for me. I’ve never been happy focusing on just one thing at a time. Oh, I can do that for a few hours, but soon my mind begins to examine other things, other plans or other tasks that either need doing or I want to do. Of all the things that capture my attention, however, the one I’m most comfortable with for the longest time any day, is writing.
In a typical day I will spend my morning in front of a keyboard or a yellow pad or a notebook, putting thoughts into coherent sentences and pages. As with most things I do, I seem more focused when I work alone when the objective is building something. It might be a construction using wood and glue and nails, or it could be an essay such as this one, or a tale I want to tell.
When I write I lose myself in the story, get lost in research, find new avenues to explore in my mind as the words appear in front of me. If it is cold and windy (as it is today), writing warms me. The process fills me with a heat generated from within. If the temperature is above comfortable, writing redirects my awareness away from discomfort, away from myself. Writing something about a character or an act or just about the scene itself, causes me to reach deep into my experience, my steamer trunk of observations, my catalogue of expressions, to build a character or establish a sense of place and time.
When I am writing I am in my most comfortable place. Even when I’m doing other things, part of me will be observing, considering, filing for future pages. There are lots of things I love doing, find time for, think about when I’m not doing them. I love solving problems created by the way we live, trying to be self-sufficient where we can, providing for heat in the long winters, maintaining our small fleet of vehicles and other tools of life in the country, or just taking time to enjoy where and how we go through our days.
Still, it all comes back to writing. Everything I do seems to have a place in what I write. Life, at least for me, is made up of two qualities: experience and expression. Experience comes from living. Expression is applying experience to observations and situations, finding the meaning or usefulness in what I learn or observe.
I suppose I am, at heart, a loner. I enjoy being with other people, talking, listening, observing. At the same time, though, I am filing away scenes and scents, appearances and applications that, along with all the other things I see and hear, eventually find expression in words that make up stories. That is where I live, where I spend most of my time. Writing, for me, is the engine that drives me.
Life is what starts the engine.