In all, we're talking about a staggering chunk of my life during which I have neglected a number of normal routine responsibilities, not to mention untold hours of lost sleep -- some nights never going to bed until sun-up because I cannot put subject matter and thoughts on hold. I have been strangely driven by what possibly has been a delusional, self-created sense of commitment to an unknown ghost audience.
Of course, there is no monetary value connected to any of my web sites and I have yet to break even (and probably never will) on two self-published books. In retrospect, a price has been paid and that is neither healthy nor fair from a marital standpoint, particularly in a household with health care needs. Certain things domestically and personally have not had my full attention as I poured out my heart and soul over the computer keyboard for hours on end.
What has been gained then, in three years of literary musings? I have derived personal satisfaction in writing about subjects that interest and inspire me. I have also gained a few new friends and some faithful web site followers. On the down-side I have ruffled a few feathers and left myself open to criticism. In the hope that others might learn from my experience, I have exposed myself in some very personal areas that would normally be taboo for most writers. Emotional intensity, at times, has been my worst enemy only to be matched recently by the increasing cynicism, irritation and intolerance that seems to come with age and from being around the block a time or three.
I now find myself involved in a personal tug-of-war, pitting on one end of the rope an in-born need to express myself in writing and on the other end the necessity of giving in to the acknowledgement of certain life priorities. In all honesty, I feel a not-too-subtle change coming over me which I am compelled to give in to. Values and standards change with the passage of years and so do our interests and motivations. We gradually move from one phase to another, often without realizing it.
In many respects I have exhausted myself -- physically, mentally and creatively --and I am having to learn to come to grips with that. I've had a good kick at the can and I'm now prepared to leave it to brighter and younger minds to "save the world". I need not regret what I am leaving behind or unfinished. What I DO need to do now, however, is to be openly willing to accept what most assuredly is coming my way...and having the good grace to accept it.
As I have written this post, lyrics from Kenny Rogers' The Gambler -- "...You have to know when to hold them and know when to fold them" -- have been running through my mind. That pretty well sums things up.
POST SCRIPT: Before I had a chance to re-read this item and publish it, an anxious voice from an adjoining room interjected unceremoniously: "Dick, what's keeping you? It's already two hours past supper time. I have to eat something and my medication is past due. Lucy also needs to be fed!" That jolt of reality reminded me that I bought some frozen food from M&Ms earlier this afternoon and it is still sitting on the kitchen table. Before being overcome with the sudden impulse to pursue this subject at the expense of everything else, I only intended to leave it unrefrigerated for a few minutes.
See what I mean!