Life Block

It’s similar to writer’s block.

Allow me to explain: I’m currently plagued with a sort of writer’s block in both my writings and my music compositions.  It’s not that I don’t have any ideas – on the contrary, I do, but I’m troubled by the thought that the choices I make when writing or composing are mostly arbitrary and might as well have led to something else.

For instance: if I’m composing, and I decide to modulate to another key, how can I be sure the key I chose is the best possible key to choose?  There might be another key better than the key I chose.

In writing: there might be another word better than the word I chose, or a better expression than what I have expressed.  I know my writing isn’t the best possible writing.  If it was, I’d be published.  But I’m not, so which decisions failed me?

Ultimately, this thinking forces me to stare at my manuscript or document afraid to commit to a certain passage or musical decision because it might not be the best possible decision.  Hours go by, nothing gets written, and eventually I crack open the bourbon and call it a night.

It’s the same reason why, when I finish this post, I’ll be afraid to hit Publish.  I know it could be better.

Life block is like writer’s block.

I don’t date.  I have never been on a date with somebody I didn’t already know for years.  It’s easy to make excuses: I’m lazy, I’m cheap, I’m picky, I don’t like feeling vulnerable… etc.  These are only half truths.  I suppose you could say I haven’t found the right person.  I suppose it’d be more accurate to say I refuse to acknowledge that a right person might not actually exist.

I saw a cute woman on campus the other day, and I thought, “I could go up and talk to her.”  But no, I can’t, because there’s no reason to, which immediately marks the situation as unusual and off-putting.  This thought actually happens dozens of times per day, which just goes to show there are literally thousands of young ladies I could’ve conversed with and didn’t.  There have to be very specific criteria met in order for any two people to hit it off for any reason, and that criteria involves a time, a place, and mutual receptiveness.

And when that tiny window of satisfied requirements floats by a certain someone, how can I claim that this person and I belong together any more than the thousands of people over whom that window of opportunity didn’t pass?  I can’t.  It’s absurd.

I’m afraid to accept a reality based on arbitrary chances that I’ll have to rationalize as some sort of divine fate in order to be pleased with their outcome.  Who you end up with in life, as a partner and companion, defines so much of your identity and existence – it defines your children, your title, your social life, your home life, your aesthetics… It might even define the headstone on your grave.  And yet, it’s an entire future based solely on the chance intersection of me finally growing the balls to ask someone out and them being desperate enough to agree under a very specific set of circumstances.  Is companionship more about the time and place than it is about the person and person?  Are we but mere circumstances in the eyes of others deluding ourselves into thinking we’re individuals?

I refuse to accept the idea that my grave will be shared with a product of chance circumstance – that my future and eternity is so trivial as to be decided by that one moment I finally strike up a conversation at a bar with that one woman out of millions who just happens to be at that place at that time and with that special state of mind to not be irritated by my shameless advances.

I guess you could say I still want to believe in soulmates, perhaps destiny.  And that’s why I think the whole idea of confidence in one’s decisions is completely absurd.

Which is why I’m here… at a computer… not writing… not composing… just merely existing as my craft withers away in stagnation.

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About Doctor Quack

Just another bonehead with an internet connection.
This entry was posted in Autobiography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Life Block

  1. ptigris213 says:

    OK, now, this is for your own good. Stand up. Turn around. Here’s your kick in the pants: stop feeling sorry for yourself.
    Remember that Nike ad, that said, ‘just do it’? It meant, just because you’re not (fill in the blank) suitably inspired to write, brave enough to go ask that girl for a date, confident that you’ll finally find the Special Someone, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least TRY. I know. Steers try…but they DO try. We ALL fear rejection, disappointment, failure…but you should at least still give it a go. You never know. I am in my third marriage. The last one went kerblooey after 20 years of what I thought was marital bliss. He didn’t think so. My world was so at the bottom of the ocean that I finally understood ‘been down so long it look like up to me.” But I got through it, and am the better for it.
    My current husband married me after 55 years of ‘being afraid that he’d never find the right one.” Yes, you read it right, he was a 55 year old bachelor.
    I tried again, despite the awful mauling of the divorce. He tried, despite the horror stories he’d heard about women in general and divorcees-with-issues. And we’re happy.
    You can’t just sit there and let fear shackle you. It’s okay to fear the emotional pain of rejection or loss, but still, do it. Be afraid while you’re out there trying. Just do it, despite the fear, because you might just find yourself on the other side of that gap, the one that yawns at your feet and is labelled “Indecision’. None of us have our lives mapped out for us. EVERYONE feels the same as you do. Will I make the right decision? Who knows? But I know that every time I’ve fallen down, I’ve picked myself up and realized…sometimes now, sometimes later..that I’ve learned something about myself.
    Now here’s something else I want you do to. Go into the bathroom. Look at yourself in the mirror. See your best friend. See the one person who’s never, ever let you down, ever betrayed you. Ever. YOU. Once you realize that you have you to fall back on, you can then go out into the world and: compose music, no matter if it’s good or bad, write, no matter if it’s Pulitzer Prize material or just meandering, find someone who you think you’d like to get to know better. One step at a time, my friend, one step at a time.

    • Doctor Quack says:

      Thanks. I needed a swift kick in the butt. I could probably use a couple more, honestly.

    • Eli says:

      This makes me kinda sad, because if I were to look myself in the mirror, you know what I would see? I would see someone who let me down every single day. For every accomplishment/failure (attempt) there have been a thousand times that my ego beat myself down from even trying. How can we trust ourselves at all?

      • ptigris213 says:

        Start with the first step. As we used to say in the Army, the maximum effective range of an excuse is zero. No excuses. No whining. If you know you ‘shouldn’t do something but…” stop right there. No buts. No “even if’s”. You cannot fix the past. You have all of tomorrow to start over. That saying “Today is the first day of the rest of your life” is true. Take advantage of it.

  2. Diana says:

    I know exactly how you feel.

  3. ptigris213 says:

    Nah……….you’re a smart guy. One kick is all that’s needed. We all need a reality check sometimes. One of my dearest friends never hesitates to cut me to ribbons…and then applies styptic pencils. And always, she’s been right and I’ve needed it.
    You are a gifted writer and have a good head on your shoulders. Talented people such as yourself are subject to gremlins at times (I have several) who are always waiting in the shadows to voice your hidden doubts. They can be good, because they keep one humble…but they can also be cruel.
    What you are enduring, through this searing self doubt, is maturing. As if you needed it! You are a well forged knife. Now you are putting a fine edge on it.

  4. OperationJA says:

    Strangely, this is exactly how I feel right now and here… at this point in time. Yet, no event leading up to the present has caused me to feel this way. I’m guessing it’s the lack of events probably… but it’s hard to make things happen yourself when you’ve been so busy with work and what not. Nonetheless, funny coincidence I guess…
    Guess one thing that’s kinda worked for me is to go do something else completely different to what you would normally do for a change. I hope that helps… I’m going to do just that later today… wish us luck…

  5. John S says:

    Given that life is full of random events, best to embrace them. Total control and perfection doesn’t exist. Blogging is a great way to overcome that striving. Just bash it out and publish. No-one is expecting a work of art every time. You’ve written some very amusing and thought provoking pieces before, so keep it up!

  6. razinn says:

    Dude. You’re a little contradictory here. Chance and destiny are basically one thing, and they are completely separate from individual volition. Believing in soulmates and destiny is believing that *chance* will put you in a place where you have mutual receptiveness with the right person at the right time, and if that doesn’t happen then it wasn’t meant to be. It’s precisely BECAUSE that window of opportunity passed over someone and not someone else that makes it destiny. But all that has nothing to do with you actually making decisions to do things. You talking or not talking to someone is not chance, it’s free will.

    Not believing in chance leads to a false sense of individual power and ignores the fact that some things are just out of our control. Not believing in personal volition leads to inaction and ignores the fact that our lives are products of the decisions we make. Unfortunately, both extremes can lead to some pretty depressing feelings if they go too far (total self-blame or total helplessness). So it has to be both: we are individuals who exist in circumstances.

    On another note, the girls you date have not gone out with you because they’re desperate, so stop with that implication. (A bit disrespectful to them, wouldn’t ya say?) The desperate girls will find someone who thrives on their desperation, and that’s just not you, sorry.

  7. Scott says:

    Destiny: “Yo. Is Dr. Quack at the rendezvous point?”
    Fate: “Yeah. Cue the future Mrs. Quack.”
    Desitny: “Roger that. Sending her in now.”

    Destiny: “…She’s walking right by him. He’s supposed to greet her.”
    Fate: “Yeah wtf? That’s her, Quack. That’s The One.”

    Destiny: “…or not? Pretty sure I cued the right one, though…”
    Fate: “Yeah. Hey Quack! You gotta say something, brah!”
    Destiny: “He’s not saying anything.”
    Fate: “I can see that, jerk.”
    Destiny: “Why the f#$% not!?”
    Fate: “Hell if I know! Dammit…”
    Destiny: “All our plans… we gotta do something!”
    Fate: “Well she’s walking away! You gonna turn her back around?”
    Destiny: “I can’t! The moment is already passed! Hang on- let me see if I can drum up a reason for her to turn around and walk by him again.”
    Fate: “You better hurry. Professor Honk is walking up to her and she’s twirling her hair. You have about five seconds.”
    Destiny: “Ah crap. Ok I’m sending a.. a um… sh!# I got nothing.”
    Fate: “Too late. He made contact.”
    Destiny: “Dammit. Why didn’t Quack say anything?”
    Fate: “Maybe he thought chance had too much of a hand the meeting and that because of that flimsy pretense for conversation it wouldn’t work out, I dunno…”
    Destiny: “He’s YOUR charge, dickhead. Figure it out. They would have been GREAT together.”
    Fate: “Hey don’t get pissed at me because Quack can’t tell the difference between me and chance. I can’t control THAT.”
    Chance: “We do look kinda similar, bro.”
    Fate: “Gosh, really? Cause I coulnd’t f@#$%ing tell!”
    Chance: “Neither could Quack. *snicker*”
    Destiny: “Yeah well that jerk and his inability to accept the possibility that you two assholes are related have just forced ME to watch MY charge spend the rest of her potentially-great-but-now-inevitably-bland life with a clown who isn’t half as good for her as HE would have been.”
    Chance: “Whatever, douche.”
    Fate: “…Sorry. Jeez…”
    Destiny: “Don’t apologize, just make sure he doesn’t f@#$ up the next ‘chance’ meeting we arrange for him.”
    Fate: “Ok ok ok.. He’ll say `hi` to the next one. I’ll make sure of that, this time.”
    Chance: “My Magic 8 Ball says `Don’t count on it.`”
    Destiny: *siiiiiiiighhhh*

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