Well, I watched a little TV last night at Ralph’s mom’s apartment [she winters in Florida and summers in Chicago, which is probably a good idea, and she doesn’t come back to Chicago until mid-April, so I’m staying there], and then I woke up around 9:45 last night. I probably woke myself up snoring. =)
I flipped the TV and most of the lights off, and I trekked into the single bedroom. It’s a sparsely-furnished apartment–Ralph says his mother fixed up the living room and sitting area for $100 out of garage sales. Makes sense: no need to toss down lots of money on a place you inhabit by yourself and only spend half the year. The bed sits in the middle of the room, and the purpose is clear: this is the place to bed, and that is that.
I wonder what kind of woman Ralph’s mother is. I think her name is Dorothy; I have gleaned that from notes left by family members who have stayed there. She obviously paints–the walls are adorned with her artwork. A calendar has a one-line description of her days; many of them say, “Painted–but not well.” I’m not sure I believe that, but maybe she has just those few inspired days. Rich Mullins used to say about his albums, “What you’re hearing is the only inspired 60 minutes I had in that year.”
Being a creative type, I understand the sentiment–self-criticism is highly important to motivation. It can become self-damnation, of course. That’s one reason why I both love and hate to have creative types as friends. In some ways, they bring sunshine into my life, because they have their own unique experiences to share. In others, they bring sadness into my walk, because their self-criticism reminds me of the near-disease that inhabits the creative community:
“Never be satisfied; never give up. Push, push, push.”
It can wear you out.
That’s where I was–I had pushed, and pushed, and pushed in all the areas of my life. I’ve got TOTK and SGA, each of which could be a full-time part of my life if I let it. I’ve got the variety of stuff at church, including the youth musical drama I put together in no-time flat…amazingly. I’d pushed until…my body pushed back.
And I’m back today, pushing again. I type this while writing a piece for TOTK Today, talking to Ralph as he walks in and out for smoke breaks, answering the various questions about sports and TOTK that the DigIn folks always seem to have for me, etc. Heck, I left this entry for five minutes while I pinged around to do something else, and I still have an ESPN.com baseball preview article that I’ve been trying to read for an hour.
We often kvetch about how life is harder these days. I don’t believe that for a second. But there are times that I do enjoy the simple-mindedness of purpose that existed 100 years ago. You didn’t have so many things to worry about, really, because they were all part of one larger problem. But now, we’re so fractionalized and factionalized, and technology enforces that upon us. Those of us who try to do everything live shorter lives in the process. =)
I still wonder what type of woman Ralph’s mother is. I assure you that her life is simpler than mine, but it’s creative nonetheless. What a joy that would be: to be creative but focused.