You know that feeling when you find the one little thing that just might get you out of your rut? Like you're down at the bottom of some dank wet hole, groping blindly at the slick walls for something, anything to grab on to and hoist yourself up, and then you feel it, a sturdy root or branch reaching out to you, waiting patiently. It's not much, but it's enough. And you start to move upward. You start to see light.

Forgive me if I sound dramatic. While I have been feeling like I need to shake things up in my life as a whole, the rut I'm referring to is a creative one. I like this blog of mine, and yet I somehow never want to visit it. Sort of like the yoga studio down the street, a place and activity that I know is good for me and I know I love, but lately lack whatever flutter of inspiration used to get me there.

I think change is what makes me tick, what makes me look at myself through a different lens, what makes me write. I recently observed the anniversary of my first day at my job, and that tired thought washed over me, the one we've all held in our hands time and again, turning it around and around like a Rubik's cube, trying to figure it out:  

It doesn't feel like it's been a whole year.

But then I thought, for the first time, how absurd it is to pretend I even know what a year "feels like". Has a year in my life, from start to finish, ever felt like any one thing? Have I ever really felt the passing of time in the same way twice?

I'm reading Joshua Foer's book Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes to reevaluate how they see the world and themselves. I heard Foer speak at a City Arts & Lectures event last spring and he is just as charming in person as he is on the page. He's also the brother of Jonathan Safran Foer, who wrote two of my favorite novels. A clever family, to say the least.

Anyway, there are many notable ideas in the book and I may write a separate post about them, but on the bus today, a line jumped out at me: "we forget our lives almost as fast as we live them."

This is true, is it not? Foer calls it an "elemental human problem", and it is, without a doubt, one of the major reasons so many of us post the every detail of our lives onto the Internet. At least the details that we want to make sure other people know about and we remember.

In the past four months, aside from living my daily adventures in San Francisco, I've been to New York, DC, Los Angeles, Nashville, Tahoe, and Colorado, and I'll be in Chicago this coming weekend. I have told you almost none of it, any photos are still shriveling up in my iPhone, and I haven't kept a journal in years. So aside from foggy, surface memories, much of it is, and may always be, lost.

Of course, this blog can play only a minor role in any attempt to remember everything, and I'm comfortable seeing it simply as a time capsule of that which I thought worth writing down. I think I feel the gears shifting again, shaking themselves free of rust, and I will be here more. I also think, however, that sometimes it's OK, instead of writing about stuff you just did, to go do more stuff. Or, equally acceptable, to go to bed.

And speaking of ruts, I did make myself a proper dinner tonight for the first time since Idon'tknowwhen.

And over the weekend I chopped off most of my hair. Hello bob!

Have rut-free, memory-filled week, my pets. See you soon.


Missing Something

Image by Tatsuro Kiuchi
There are a lot of mornings in San Francisco when the fog is so thick you can't see the tops of the buildings. You can't see what you know is there.

We're all looking for something, aren't we? Something we know is there because other people have it, or have seen it, or have told you it's there. Love, money, time, meaning. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am not the only one who doesn't have all the answers. I am not the only one who's missing something. Sometimes your world changes or looks different and you have to get it back where you want it. Sometimes the only thing you want is for everything to change.

Sometimes I can't tell whether my mind is too empty or too full to formulate rational, intelligent or creative thoughts. What I want you to know is that I have not forgotten you, despite all the answers I'm looking for elsewhere. What I want to tell you is that I know it's been a while, but I'm still glad you reminded me of it. And what I want to remember is that living more life is no excuse to stop writing about it. And that if inspiration is eluding me, I am probably just not looking in the right places. 

Tatsuro Kiuchi