The following post is one post in a series of posts in which I attempt to explain my lack of posting since I started this blog with the hopes of regular posting. Or something.
The bane of many an amateur author is life around them. Extraneous circumstances tend to take precedence whimsical and unimportant things, and when you string enough of them together, it’s the unfinished opus that usually takes the backseat. This series of Excuses posts I’ve been spewing upon your computer screen over the last month has sought to pick apart a few choice pieces of this real-life interference to show you, my presumed readers, why exactly the ol’ BIP’s fallen on hard times as of late. And today, I finish this mini-series with a bit of circumstance whose suffocating presence any suppressed and repressed creative type can relate to: work.
A job is unavoidable. Those among us who strike it rich in the lottery and then manage to save that money for the duration of their lifetimes and not squander it on gold-plated toilets and toilet-related objects (now that opening picture makes sense) are becoming rarer by the year. It’s become more necessary than ever to hold down some sort of regular employment in America and its current economic mindfuck. Whether you’re a convenience store clerk, a bellhop, a laundromat attendant, or a rodeo clown, chances are you’re doing something for money that encroaches upon your life’s greatest dreams and ambitions.
For me, the goal is novelization and the soul-suck is the American service industry. Granted, I put myself in the position to have to wait tables for income, but we’ll travel that road on a much more pitiful, woe-is-Rausch type of day. For now, our focus is on how exactly my work as a server of comestibles and imbibibles has put a strain on my once-flourishing creative drive.
Being a server (or bartender or busboy or host, for that matter) is a relatively easy job. It certainly has its stresses involved, but no more or less than most other jobs one will encounter in a lifetime. In fact, creative types tend to flock to jobs in the service industry to pay their bills because these types of jobs are generally not the type you take home with you. Once you hang up your apron at the end of a shift, you’re done. There are no presentations you need to work on until 5 in the morning the night before they’re due. There are no conferences you need to attend without treating them like full-on debaucherous vacations. On a typical workday, everyone is at least half-drunk by the end of the shift and your boss’ average BAC could probably kill a small child. In short, the service industry provides low-involvement jobs for those in the world who don’t wish to become hyper-involved with their day-to-day work, a definite draw for those with bigger projects to work on personally and behind the scenes.
Me, however, I like to get involved. With everything. Always.
I have this insane knack for filling my plate instantly and then piling more and more responsibility and obligation on top of the 3-4 servings I already have. I joined a frat in college. Within a year, I was its strung-out president. I was bored in high school. By the end of it all, I was a below-average varsity lacrosse player, member of Student Council, and president of an Honors Society. Hell, my last serving job saw me become the General Manager of the place within 6 months.
Needless to say, when my current place of employ decided it wished to have a larger sphere of influence within the Philadelphia culinary community, I volunteered to help. The first step in the process was creating a blog for the restaurant, something that would be curated and updated by each member of the staff and serve to be a very positive outlet for each of us to detail our favorite things about Philadelphia’s service industry, like a beloved cocktail or a secret after hours spot that does it all right. The theory was fantastic.
The execution, however, left a lot to be desired.
I dove in head first, ignoring the SHALLOW POOL warnings my brain threw at me along the way, composing food-related blogs and faux-press releases at a clip of three per week, trying to turn my restaurant’s newborn wordspace into something that would really stand out in the community. It quickly became apparent that I was the only member of the staff contributing to the thing, but I kept at it. After all, nobody was being forced to do it, and everyone on the staff pretty much knew how much I enjoyed wordifying everything. So I did.
More recently, a couple of months after the blog first opened up to the big bad world, I came to the realization that my personal writing had fallen off the face of the Earth. I audited my BIP for pages written within certain sets of dates, and I got very, very angry.
From January of this year (the time I recognize as being the time I consciously decided to restart my BIP and do it right) through May, I composed 247 unique pages of creative content, getting me to about the one quarter mark of my initial outline. An achievement, for sure. But it would be diminished by the complete lack of progress the next three months showed: just 40 pages on the nose between May and August, May being the oh-so-convenient month in which talks of the work blog began to surface in my daily conversations.
Believe me, I’m not blaming that other blog for ruining my drive this summer. It would be insane for me to do so, as that blog is (presumably) not sentient. I do, however, blame myself for getting too involved in an otherwise completely uninvolved line of work. I made the choice, I began blogging, and I let the search for foodie topics three times a week ruin my creative drive to keep chiseling away at the unfathomable density of my poor old BIP.
It wasn’t until the possibility of a monthly newsletter turned into workplace murmurings that I realized I was on a bad path. Recently, with that possibility becoming realer every day and myself its eventual author, I took a step back from the work blog to reassess my situation.
At the end of the day, I don’t think I’d enjoy being recognized tableside as “The Guy Who Told Us About the Firestone Walker Doublejack Bombers” if it meant giving up on my personal passion project.
I’m here to do one thing right now, and that’s finish my god-damned book.