|School of minnows, image from NOAA|
But I can't.
And that's what it feels like these days.
I don't have a passive curiosity, however. If you were to jot down a second trait in that notebook, it might be, "driven." I don't mean that in an Alex P. Keaton sort of way. Some time ago, a three-trait personality test classified me as a Visionary-Visionary-Visionary. What all that means is that when I have an interest that captures me, I feel compelled to realize that interest. I have no static ideas. Every notion is propulsion.
That can be an amazing thing when you have focus.
Combine that with curiosity, and you're being propelled in a million directions. Every direction feels mandatory. Every direction feels important. Every direction makes sense.
Family. Work. EMS. Teaching. Anthropology. Studying Mandarin. Studying Thai. Studying Japanese. Gardening. Photography.
Oh, yeah. Writing.
It's a tricky balancing act in the best of times. When I'm exhausted by work, allergies, or anything else, that's when I end up at the bottom of the goldfish bowl, grasping at minnow tails.
I used to stress about it. I don't stress about it as much. I know it's how I am, and beating myself up over it isn't going to help. Instead, I get this restless feeling as my mind races in too many directions, desperately begging me to keep up. Feeling restless doesn't help combat exhaustion.
When work is going crazy or my allergies are kicking my butt -- or both -- the writing slows down too much for my own taste. My brain just can't stay in multi-direction over-drive. And, please understand, it's not about task discipline; it's about what all the corners of my brain are doing. Five or six streams of thought are okay. Full steam ahead? Harder, but maybe okay. Unfiltered and overlapping? Unmanageable.
My writing and my authorial voice directly reflect this personality. My writing is voice-heavy and driven. My narrative is multi-stream. My stories often reflect the reification of some philosophical idea. Everything that distinguishes my writing (whether you like it or you hate it) can be credited to (or blamed on) my curious, driven brain.
Happens a lot doesn't it?
The things which make the going tough also give our particular way of going its unique charm.
If only I could see those minnows a little more clearly, move my arms a little more swiftly...