Last Fall my blogging slowed because I got a little busy. This January I got very busy. My day to day experience now sometimes feels like surfing a wave of chaos, and I am learning to enjoy the ride.
What is chaos? For me, right now, chaos is other people - other people all around me doing what they want, often without any regard for me or anyone else. People in general all the time, and thus specific persons near you at any given time, engage in a lot of eating, and fucking, working and fighting. Much of this activity is or at least can be disruptive. Our plans rarely work out as we planned, right? Well, this is why that is. So I am learning that when faced with chaos, when faced with the turbulent ocean of humanity, I should surf it instead of resisting or surrendering to it. Rather than try to control chaos, I am looking for opportunities within it.
There is much energy spent by all those people out there doing their thing, and it generates much energy that you may be fortunate enough to take advantage of. I thankfully have been fortunate. I was offered a new job that I was not looking for, and this time rather than adhere strictly to my own plans, I decided to take this job. And rather than surrender to this new job, rather than let it become my only "serious" thing I was doing (as their contract stipulated), I negotiated with them to keep doing (on my own time) the stuff I was already doing, which includes designing landscapes for people, and revising Violence Spells Gods and Politics into a publishable state. I told them I would not take the job if it forced me to stop doing my thing, but I also suggested a path forward, and they took it, so I am working with them now.
Working out a negotiation with a corporation on my own felt good. They must really want me, I told myself. Ha ha. The things we tell ourselves.
My life was immediately disrupted, of course. The new job replaced the old job. I miss some things about the old job. I miss working professionally as a gardener every day. I miss the physical labor, working with plants, and dirt, and bugs. I do. And I miss the people I worked with. I miss learning words in Popti', like "ong" for avocado, and "kuuk" for squirrel. I miss being outside even in the rain or the cold. I miss my short bicycle ride across town too. Now each day before 6 am, I ride my bicycle to a train, take a short trip on that train, bicycle across another town to get on another train, then eventually when I get off that train I bike across a third town to get to work.
A significant amount of my time is passed on trains.
When not on a train, I tend to be either working under contract for the new job, or my freelance landscape design. So when I am on the train, I do other things. Balance is an important part of surfing or you wipe out. So sometimes I zone out, sure, doing nothing instead of doing something, but I prefer to stay active. I have found that staying active doing things I want to do, stimulates rather than taxes me. And shifting from one activity to another is easier than stop and go, stop and go.
Lately train time has been spent brainstorming ideas for Violence Spells Gods and Politics. VSGP is a fantasy roleplaying game I am working on. Initially this brainstorming was limited to writing, jotting down ideas, and assembling lists. This grew into a habit of sketching the ideas, and then evolved into just drawing whatever came to mind rather than focusing on the game. And when the spring of my imagination runs dry, I read because reading stimulates more ideas, and with more ideas, again I try to draw them. Reading and drawing are fast becoming part of the same process. And the work of trying to draw what is in my head is a good exercise in improving my ability to visualize what I am thinking about. Instead of just words or concepts I have pictures in there along with them.
I drew a lot when I was a student. Years ago. A major disruption in my life restored the habit because I negotiated with the chaos. Rather than sitting on my ass, pissed off about this LOOOONG commute, I am drawing.
My drawings are not much to look at but it seems a good thing to end this post on anyway. I should probably make a habit of regularly posting this stuff here.
Top image is of an old gas station in Dunnigan, California where I recently went to get gas and discovered that it is no longer open.