It’s that time of year again. Capital Jazz is the siren song and I, as a music lover and a music photographer, cannot resist it. It’s a trip that I look forward to every year and after a particularly difficult year – actually, a difficult two years – my soul and nerves alike can use the healing.
I think it’s very fair to say, and I’m sure I speak for many, when I say that we should thank whoever invented inflight Internet. It’s a thing of beauty. :) but you knew that already.
But that aside… good grief, this year truly took the wind out of me.
I will never speak ill of my job on account that I am almost certain that at least one person in management is reading this blog. And that’s fine. I curate my content for that and other reasons. But for those of you who do not know me, I work in tax accounting. And it is by no means an easy job. I think of it as a numeric jigsaw puzzle; a Sudoku work of sorts that involves making logical order of numbers, expenses, laws, deductions… it’s no different, as I see, from a basic game of mahjong. But the stress levels are incredible. My job has gone through a merger, and so far it works, I won’t deny it. But as it were, that added to the stress. And for those who are unfamiliar with tax deadlines, it doesn’t just end on April 15.
And it was stressful. And unfortunately, when I get stressed, I stop sleeping, first thing. Then my short-term memory starts Togo. Then my digestion is out the window. And a prolonged stretch of this generally adds up to, for lack of better words, “I’m a fucking nervous wreck”.
The stress, to be fair to my job, started last year. Not a story I’m willing to hash here because more than one person is affected by it. Then I lost my grandma and one of my best friends, back to back, in close succession; a hit I never recovered from. I was a mess coming into the current year, and between tax season, people being people, and then losing another relative and one more friend unexpectedly…. yeah. My nerves are shot to hell and next week.
Despite this, obviously, I am still doing what needs to be done, if only on account that no other option exists. No one but me will live my life, and no one should have to take my responsibilities. That’s just not how I roll. Some may call it strength, but I call it resilience, if any such a thing applies to it. I just know this: I can’t afford to fall apart.
And yes, I am doing NaNoWriMo again. National Novel writing Month, in case you wondered.
Last year, I wondered just how the hell I was going to get through it, when I had just lost Bruce Nazarian. He was my greatest cheerleader in this crazy endeavor, as well as all my other crazy endeavors. But in no small part channeling the loss into inspiration, I pulled off my tenth win. Ten for ten, a decade of writing a manuscript in a month – or continuing a prior, as I did in 2014 and will do again this year – a challenge to both discipline and creativity. And I have claimed the goal of 50,000+ words within 30 days or less, and am endeavoring to do it again.
I’ve made a commitment to my writing, even if the bulk of my creative life is my photography. I’ve wanted to be an author since I was 6. It’s a mission that, for all intents and purposes, I’ve accomplished. Ultimately, writing is the best focus exercise. It forces a chaotic mind (especially one as chaotic as my own) to focus and organize a pattern of character and events into a believable storyline. Whether or not it will ever get published or read has never been the point, though I do have five manuscripts published and more in the can. The fact is, I’ve participated in this challenge as a way to discipline and focus myself when my natural inclination, like it as not, is more along the lines of winging it.
But I never call it quits. Not unless I have to, and writing is the one thing that, for my own benefit, I need to stay with.
So onward. I’m already upward – 32,000 feet upward at this moment, in fact.