Thursday, December 10, 2009
How ironic it is. I am suddenly at a loss for words; what I really want to say has slipped my mind. Today, during my usual work routine, I was filtering through the hundred or so thoughts I had and attempting to make sense of what I was feeling. It’s difficult to encapsulate an emotion with the written word. Shakespeare mastered it. George Orwell articulately summed it up. Can I?
It’s conceivable, yes, that writing takes little to no effort. A few bizarre ideas with a dash of truth mixed in can make even the dullest writer come to life. I want to write a book someday, I really do. But, I lack motivation. On my free time, the last thing I want to do is write a novel. When I’m working at my current job, which I absolutely find disenchanting and degrading, all I can think about is how I can make money as a writer. I wasn’t born to slug plastic bottles of sugar water onto grocery shelves for 32 hours a week. But that is what I’m doing at this stage in my life. I hate thinking I’ve done this for over a year. It’s really hard for me to wake up in the morning, put the red shirt on, lace up some very uncomfortable steel toe shoes and head out the door. I am nobody in the world of retail; a nobody living in an increasingly disheartening workplace.
I wonder why I place so much emphasis on my job and how it relates to my happiness or contentment. I find it embarrassing to tell people that’s what I do. Sure, I write, but for an online website where I get paid very little. And it’s my own fault. I consistently seek a way to do something in the easiest way possible. This habit applies to all mannerisms of my life, when I’m not pursuing my passion of photography and writing. When I’m writing, I am writing at the speed and strength of a locomotive train barreling down the tracks at a raging 100 miles an hour. When I write, I am Sean David McMullen the journalist. I write the best way I know how and still, I find I don’t measure up to other writers. Comparison is a dangerous thing to fall into. Once you start lining your work alongside others, you start to notice the cracks in your work. Doing it a couple times isn’t bad, but when it becomes your obsession, your own writing style will begin to fade to grey; a hollow body of work inspired by nothing.
I’m probably not making much sense right now, but who does? How can anyone say they know something inside out? Why do we all pretend to have every little corner of life figured out? We’re robbing the mystery of curiosity. Maybe we’re frightened of the unknown. Possibly. Perhaps some of us need to know something to feed our peripatetic mind. I’m guilty of that. I’ve become obsessed with filling my spare time by reading articles on the Internet, mainly Wikipedia. It’s mostly television shows and anything I might have missed. Also, I have read every article about every Marvel super hero. I accomplished this minor feat last summer in Ontario. I should have been swimming or running instead, but I needed to know what happened to Spiderman in his 56th issue.
I identify with every human who desires knowledge. We’re all searching for a higher truth, something bigger than our messed up lives. Our life is a series of fractures that we’re all desperately fighting to keep together.
Sometimes we just need to let go. I did that twice this summer and the feeling was exhilarating.
The first time, I was body surfing with some close friends and new ones at a beach outside Halifax. The waves were massive; at least 10 feet. Naturally, we all wanted to catch the biggest wave so we could be carried into shore. The best ocean crests were out further; maybe a hundred feet from where the water hit the sand. While I was furiously paddling out, gasping for air when my face wasn’t submerged in the frigid water, there was a moment. Not a life changing moment, but I do remember it distinctly. I was alone, floating up and down in the swelling tide. Suddenly, my feet were touching the sandy bottom. The water was rushing out by my side. Then I saw it. The largest wave I have ever seen. The silence of this beautiful moment rained down. I spread out my arms, lifted them towards the clouds and closed my eyes. I was embracing nature for the first real time in my entire life. It was thrilling, and a bit stupid. The force of the wave struck me, threw me underwater, spinning and twirling my body like a pair of jeans in a washer. I remember my head hitting the sand before coming up and excreting what must have been a bucket of sea water.
And I couldn’t have been happier.
God met me in the silence, and told me then that He loved me more than I could ever know.
Seek the silence.
Posted by Sean McMullen at 6:49 p.m.