Camaraderie -Postscript

I am A-OK

Wow! The response I received from yesterday’s post was amazing. I put out a bit of an open-door piece on personal feelings as a writer and I received such a supportive and candid set of responses I feel it necessary to keep the energy moving.

Before I dive into my thoughts for today, thank you all for being part of this. I enjoyed reading how many of you have experienced similar shifts in friends and social/work life over the years. It was fascinating to hear how some of you managed these shifts and how some of you continue to struggle.

Here is my take on yesterday’s post.There is no such thing as a proximity friend. We are either friends or we are not friends. My frustration in this situation was much more with myself for being a poor judge of character. I take pride in my listening skills and my propensity for empathy. When I am wrong about someone it forces me to go back down the line of interactions and wonder where I stumbled. Usually I find I ignored a sign because I wanted the friendship or the job, in some cases more than I was willing to listen to the truth in my head.

I am not a hermit by any stretch of the imagination. My use of the word madness may have been a bit strong for such a serious piece. I used the term madness to express humor in my self-imposed isolation. Currently, I am teaching myself a level of discipline I have not had to possess in my life. I have chosen jobs at will and worked myself into the ground doing work for other people until a level of burnout then I would quit and try something new. Working for myself and creating a path into the darkest part of the forest requires the isolation I have self-prescribed. I am in this for ostensibly the rest of my life so I need a pace that will sustain itself. Having no forced work hours, no boss, and only loose deadlines makes self discipline paramount.

My hero, Joseph Campbell, went into the woods near Woodstock, NY and read alone for almost 5 years before he emerged. While I am not suggesting I go to that extreme I am easily distracted by human interaction and human observation. At this point in my life it is a struggle to be without it and yes, to take many of my readers’ advice, I should get out to a coffee shop once in a while just to break the day. However, what I was suggesting I want was a bit of a pie in the sky scenario.

I would like to be in the company of like-minded friends and colleagues. I would love to put a few of my fellow bloggers in a wondrous writing space with me each day so that we could create and also interact. In essence, I want to be a writer on the Alan Brady show (and some of you actually think I am young). How great would it be if we could all have coffee, cook lunches, read, write, and bounce ideas? We could be a blog think-tank. I know this is not feasible so the isolation is part of the game at least for the time being.

Social media is not the devil as one of my readers put it. Without it I would have almost no chance to publish, I would never have reconnected with some wonderful people in the world, and I would not have developed and owned a successful travel business in Italy. Social media like alcohol, chocolate, and exercise can be overwhelming and all-consuming and must be consumed in moderation.

Perhaps I have been a bit all-consumed and at the same time I was recently bored out of my skull and wandering aimlessly towards my perceptions of joy without putting in the work. Being alone for a showman level of extrovert like me is misery. At the same time, I refuse to believe that it is not a misery of habit. I am willing and making strides to change my capacity to function without needing to periodically show off in the company of colleagues. What am I saying? I need this time to suffer and cocoon.

I will return to the stage and I will long for the time alone. I know this intrinsically. What I am doing now will lead me once again to a place where I am tethered to a public expectation. This is what I want. I want to be an entertainer and story teller. I want to be on television and selling out readings around the country. This is a lofty goal but the only one that gets me through the muck. I know this nesting space will not last and I have found it far more productive to not attempt a two front war.

What I mean by this is: I have never managed to succeed trying to do multiple things to a level of excellence. Now, my focus is to write and all the associated components. I considered returning to a simple position in a wine shop or consulting for another restaurant. However, I am not one to do a job any way other than to excel. To excel takes time and there are only 24 hours in a day. In addition, wine and travel jobs require require action and I am so easily distracted by action and especially if I am “needed”. It has been so hard to realize I am not needed and at the same time it has been liberating.

I used to wake up every hour through the night checking my phone for work related emails. Those days are gone and my phone sits on my desk in another room with the ringer silenced so that I may sleep soundly and dream freely in order to create each day.

I have some amazing close friends and a wonderfully supportive family. I am of the belief that if I am your friend nothing will change that. I can see you every week or once in 10 years and to me we will simply roll right back in without missing a beat. Being a connector personality I do my best to keep my friends at no greater than arm’s length; however, this is not everyone’s view and some people will come and go as they will.

I now know that once again, I am not all alone in my thoughts as the amazing WordPress community showed me yesterday. I take great responsibility for what I publish here. I take your comments as loving and supportive of fellow writers and friends. I will answer all of your comments from yesterday at some point today.

For now, I may go get a cup of coffee and watch the world.


  1. says

    there's a lot to respond to in there, so i'll pick and pick and come back again.

    anyone can write a travelogue, and usually it'll sound like an encyclopedia entry unless you find a human connection to it. i don't care what the hillsides of italy or any other locale are like because i'm jealous that i'm not there. the hard part is finding that the "dot" in the hillsides or rivers or whatever and drawing a line to the "dot" that a reader is holding within him or her so that they can follow that line and see the human connection to that beautiful hillside or river. it's not the hillside. it's what the hillside did to you, how it affected you, what you can take from it that can't be seen in a picture or on a map. it's the caption that goes with it that makes people say, "ah, now i see…"

    think tank. a gathering of people with insight, foresight, hindsight, and starbucks verona, and talents and abilities, and the ability to say, "what if we….?" that's how businesses are started, personal and educational investments get made, groundwork is laid. lain. put down. it's when people say, "okay, i can do this. people need this, or at least they might want this, so how i i use what i have to bring this to them, and hopefully get some money out of it too?"

    i think that's where you were going with that. if not, then i followed the wrong line going to the wrong dot.

    social media = the devil, not really. but it is a double-edged sword. it's a fast lane of opportunity, but you have to drive carefully because of all those damn distracting billboards that will easily cause you to miss your exit. social media brings people together while also keeping them apart. social media allows me to communicate with you from great distances, but it allows me to avoid visiting a friends 10 miles away because now i just have to e-mail instead of getting off my ass to go visit her. it allows us to be who we really want to be without being who we really want to be, once we put the lid down on the laptop. but it also allows us to at least "be" that person for some of the time. and if we can "be" that person for some of the time, then we can stand on the edge of the nest, give those wings a shot, and hope there's lots of thick grass down there – just in case.

    social media allows me to take novels i've hidden for years and put them out there, one chapter at a time, to get encouragement for the next chapter and the next. and then get enough positive feedback to say, "okay agent, here's what i got. whattya think?" and if not, okay, next one.

    and i get to save on stamps.

    i should go back and re-read that, but my coffee is cold. "click"

    • says

      I am glad you did not re-read it. I like your flow here. I am 100% in agreement with your first paragraph and I hope very much that is how my travel writing is received. The place only sets the scene for a human story. I could really care less about so much detail so long as I can empathize with the characters and the words bring it right into my own existence.
      I agree with you also on social media and I think you came around to espousing similar beliefs to my own.
      Cold coffee is not fun! Thanks for your detailed comment and your continued support!

  2. says

    "When I am wrong about someone it forces me to go back down the line of interactions and wonder where I stumbled. "

    Preach sir, preach. I too am guilty of rummaging through it all looking for tell-tale signs after a relationship's gone sour. But as you suggested, it's easy to convince ourselves of something if we're craving that human connection.

    Also liked your idea of unplugging every once in a while. A necessary respite from the constant bombardment of information that greets us every day.

    • says

      You know coming from a theater background it was drilled into me to dig deep into everyone and all walks of life. I was told to observe and I have. Now that training gives me a sense of awareness in people's behavior that I think is perhaps rare. At the same time when it goes awry it haunts me. I recently heard a comment which I will paraphrase that 10% of the people will love you no matter what you do 80% will judge you on your actions and 10% will naturally despise you. I thought it rather cynical at first but am coming around to it. I have spent much of my life (past age 30) trying to be more likable and diplomatic. I now think that I was much more me when I was an asshole in my 20s. Being an asshole is quite subjective and when I look back at my life I tend to believe that label came from the dissenting 10%. I think I have found many more of the approving 10 percenters on WordPress than I thought possible. I am sure when I start trying to sell my book the evil 10 will return in force.
      Thanks for your comment and your lovely blog that always reminds me how much I loved being in the theater!

  3. Christi Blakely says

    I'm surprised as well by the massive respondants you received on this subject. I just admire how you keep it real. I have made a many a person mad/upset/sad by my "keeping it real". I can't help myself though and there are many people who love me for just that. :)
    Keep up the AWESOME work.

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