Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Tag: excitement

Writing and Emotions

     Here’s how a night of writing typically goes:

  • 1:00-1:10 – I sit down with computer, notebook, tea and water. I turn on some ambient Zen music. High expectations and energy. I’m going to rock my own face off tonight!
  • 1:10-1:40 – I get distracted by Facebook, Twitter and blogging. If I’m lucky this produces a new blog post, a couple Tweets and a Facebook share. If I’m less lucky this produces nothing.
  • 1:40-3:00 – I turn off all my distractions and look at what needs doing. Generally this produces a sickening angst. I see some plot holes and character inconsistencies. I realize that I have made a horrible mistake and I never should have started writing in the first place. I should have been an actor. Or an accountant. Or anything at all because I suck at this and it’s going nowhere and I’m wasting my time and it’s all pointless and I’m an idiot and OH GOD NOOOO!
  • 3:00-3:30 – Play Doom II
  • 3:30 – Guilt forces back to the stupid book.
  • 3:31-6:00 – I work. It’s hard. It’s frustrating. But, as I work, the story takes hold of itself. I write. Tap, tap, tap go my fingers. My characters breathe and live and act. I’ve forgotten that I’m writing. I am simply being. I am doing what I do. And, suddenly, I notice that it’s nearly 6am. I look at my wordcount and I gasp. I read it over and I gasp again. I did well. Not perfect. Needs work. But the scenes are true. The characters are real. Dear God, I’m a writer.
  • 6:01 – Happy dance.

     Okay, maybe that’s not a typical day of writing. I don’t really have typical days. But the wild roller coaster of feelings is real. In one night I’ll both despise and adore my work. I’ll both despise and adore myself. But most nights end on a higher note than they began. Which leads me to believe the higher emotions are the more authentic. Which, further, leads me to believe I’m on the right track.

     How about you? What strange things does your creative outlet do to your heart?

Buying a Skateboard

     I saw a skateboard in Value Village today. It was pretty slick. I hopped on it and pushed myself around a bit. I can’t skate. Never really tried. But in that moment, I wanted it. I wanted it bad.

     So the wheels in my head started turning as I desperately tried to stay upright. Should I buy it? I thought of all the other crazy things I’ve tried picking up over the years.

     There’s that cool ocarina I got off the Internet. It may be one of the coolest instruments in the universe. I was going to learn to play it and wander around hillsides, stopping in at taverns and playing for my supper. Where is it now? In some drawer somewhere.

     There’s that book I have that teaches you how to turn old T-shirts into usable clothes. I got a sewing machine and made a laundry bag and a couple sexy shirts for my wife. Where is it now? I actually am not sure.

     And there’s that that pair of Rollerblades I was sure I would use to zip around Toronto, reducing my carbon footprint and tuning my body into that of a bronzed god. The skates are packed in a storage bin and my body is far too squishy to belong to any self-respecting god.

     Wow. So it looks like I don’t complete the things I start. I looked down at the skateboard and prepared to toss it away.

     But wait.

     I got a guitar when I was young. Kinda kept at it. I can still kinda play, too. Gives me joy.

     I tried writing stuff when I was in Pakistan. Kept at it. Finished a few dozen poems, short stories and 1.99 novels now. It’s my thing.

     Wanted to learn a second language. Aur abhi mujhe Urdu ati hai. Alhumduallah!

     Whoa! I finish some stuff.

     So when I look at the skateboard at my feet, I gotta ask myself only one question: “Will I be bound by precedent? Or will I strike out and try new things, fully aware that I don’t always finish them? Will I stay doing the things I’ve always done or will I stretch myself and evolve?”

     In the spring, I’m gonna find me a skateboard. Maybe I’ll use it twice and never touch it again. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll learn how to use it. Maybe I’ll cruise around town on it. Maybe it’ll become a new, vibrant part of my life like Urdu and writing.

     Better to waste some resources in the pursuit of new skills and experiences than to sit around doing the same thing over and over again.

     So go out! Take a yoga class! Try barefoot jogging! Learn parkour! Try a LARP! Do something new and forget about whether you will keep doing it or not. You’ll be dead soon, after all. And it’s better to have a dozen unfinished experiences behind you than to have nothing at all.