Where’s Your Head At? (and other gramatically incorrect existential questions)

I suppose one could call me a hobby slut. I have a drive to learn new crafts, but few ever really stick. Once I’m halfway into one, I’ve already got my eye on another. Some may say it’s because I’m a Gemini and have a limited ability to stay put for very long. Could be true. Whatever the cause, the end result of most of my endeavors is the same–sudden termination due to lack of interest. There was that bout of cake decorating where I insisted on rolling fondant for everyone’s birthday party/baby shower/bridal shower. Before that was candle-making, soap-making, and carving. Even when I was a kid I went through this short-but-fervent obsession with cross-stitching plastic coasters. I become engrossed in whatever I do for a brief time, then let it go as easily as it came.

There are a few activities that have stuck, despite my lack of effort at keeping them alive. There’s gardening, a hobby that began when I watched my mother coax the clay-filled, rocky soil of Southern Maryland into a fruitful garden of herbs and vegetables. Then there’s sewing and baking, crafts taught me by both my mother and her mother, the fruits of which were harvested in eighth grade when I received with shamed pride the award for highest grade in home economics (gratifying, but a death-knell for my dating/coolness prospects in the following four years).

And then there’s writing. I remember my fifth grade teacher telling me I was a natural writer, but not really paying much attention to her. I remember my high school best friend failing twelfth grade English and needing to win a Halloween horror story contest to boost her grade via extra credit. We spent the night at her house, laughing uncontrollably as I penned the the goriest, most ridiculous story that ended with her ex-boyfriend’s severed head in the refrigerator. She passed (this was before kids brought guns to school and budding authors got expelled for their thoughts). I spent my twelfth grade summer vacation awake until two a.m. writing the most awful novel ever put to paper. And I spent my freshman year of college writing my roommate’s English papers in exchange for her writing my French ones (a trade that saved me from failing French 201). But then I left school and my writing stopped. Completely. I had a job (a crappy one, at that), and rent to pay and there was no room for writing. Eventually, though, the desire resurfaced. I was working as a secretary where my other co-workers were somewhat intellectually challenged, so what took them all day to do took me two hours, tops. I started writing to pass the time. I wrote a children’s story and sent it to Harper Collins. I got one rejection and let the whole thing go. Looking back at that letter, I could kick myself; it was a personal rejection from the editor herself, praising my story and explaining it just didn’t fit with their current lineup. As young and inexperienced as I was, I took that rejection as the ultimate denial of my ambition and stopped writing again. It took many more years–peppered with a few community college writing courses that were more harmful than helpful–for me to take up the keyboard once again.

I guess what I’m saying is, I’m not writing right now. It won’t take years like it did last time, but maybe a little more time. But, soon enough, the desire will become uncontrollable and I’ll be back at it once again. Already, ideas are jumbling in my head when I go to bed at night and it won’t be long before they demand my waking mind, as well.

About Avery

I am a roller derbying, dark fantasy author. This blog chronicles my adventures in life, writing and skating. View all posts by Avery

10 responses to “Where’s Your Head At? (and other gramatically incorrect existential questions)

  • Avery DeBow

    Yeah. I did. And I had a slideshow. Then Photobucket ate it. I fixed it today and will put it up tomorrow.Man, you’re like the police.

  • Steve Malley

    Hey! My reader-thing said you have a new post up! Imagine my excitement, two posts in the same calendar month!But when I looked, nothings…Did you mean to write something like this?”thought it was time I anted up a slide show of the devastation around here–just so you guys knew I wasn’t bullshitting you. The photos may not make much sense, but they basically show the tearing up and replacing of the downstairs floor and the plaster removal on the ceilings and wall, the same thing upstairs, some reinforcement work (including the removal of one heavy-assed steel beam) and the most recent project–removal of the asbestos shingles on two sides of the house.”Did you?

  • Avery DeBow

    Charles — I can picture you in a dusty room, hunched over a desk strewn with coins and stamps, books piled precariously around you, the only light coming from the hazy, weak beam of sunlight slanting between two stacks of volumes.Laughingwolf — Thanks. I know most of my standstill is the renovations taking their toll on me (I’m not great at acts of physical strength or endurance). Once we slow down the mad rush to get the bulk of the labor done on the house, I’ll be right back at the grind. Lana — You’re always such a supportive dear. Thanks. I’m glad you’re back at your art, I can see in your work how much it means to you. As for the gardening, it definitely takes the right place. In my old apartment I tried to grow plants on our balcony, but the combination of full sun and the heat trapped between the overhang and the concrete pad made turned it into a Museum of Dead Plants. It was terrible. Steve — Close; pointed nose with gold-rimmed glasses propped as close to the tip as humanly possible. Helmet-hair. Sour expression. Polyester, navy blue, Montgomery Ward’s business suit, support hose and sensible shoes. That was my office manager. The rest were all the “cheap tarts in a red light street” Sting sings of and were usually boning one or more of the survey guys at any given time–thus living up to the expectations of their attire.As for the Marvel rejection–WHAT?! Wow, what dumbasses we kids were.Sidney — I wonder what makes that happen? Boredom? I don’t think I ever feel a sense of dissatisfaction, but I inevitably wander away, just the same.Sqt — Ah! A crochet buddy! I, too, dabble in the yarn. I can only do flat, though–scarves, washcloths, afghans… My grandmother taught me when I was young, but I forgot. Then, she re-taught me a few years before she died. One night, when she was rapidly going downhill, her caretaker called and said my grandmother wanted to crochet something but didn’t know any patterns and could I tell my grandmother how to start? That was a really bizarre phone call. As for the writing, I really shouldn’t let anything kill my enthusiasm. But, this sweat-equity crap is really killing my drive for almost everything.Except food. I can still handle that. 😉

  • SQT

    I can hang on to a hobby for a good while but usually lose interest eventually. Crochet has been a big one over the years but I hear quilting calling to me. I take extended breaks on the writing too. One critical word from a “well meaning” friend can kill my enthusiasm for quite some time.

  • Sidney

    I find I’m cyclical with hobbies as well. Some take years to roll back into my interest, and I’m surprised that so much time has passed.

  • Steve Malley

    I imagine the black-clad, black-lipsticked Ms. DeBow sitting at a keyboard, the rapid-fire rattling of the keys carrying to all corners of the small office. An overweight woman with ringlet curls and a mustache leans way over and hisses, “Slow down, you’re making the rest of us all look bad!”**Like yourself, I puttered with writing from kiddietimes, telling myself all the while that I wasn’t ‘really’ a writer, I was ‘really’ an artist. And yes, I have a twelve (12!) page rejection letter from an art director at Marvel Comics, explaining EXACTLY what I needed to improve to work for them. Damn young fool I was, the only word I saw was no…

  • Lana Gramlich

    I'm with you about darting around between a wide range of interests. I've really put some effort into focusing on my art this year. Considering I'd given it up completely for 10 years, myself, I guess I'm up for the challenge again. <:\Take your time, do what makes you happy & don't worry about what anyone says. I love the photo–an inviting little space! I'm jealous of your gardening ability. I've got a knack for the temperate zone, but here in the subtropics I just totally suck! <:(

  • laughingwolf

    i dabble in many things, too… but never give up entirely on anything, though i may let them lie fallow for yearsonce i have my room set up for my new computer and accessories, i’ll be at more ‘stuff’as i read, i make notes on scraps of paper then use that in writings, if i canhope to see you back at writing, i know its a passion for you

  • Charles Gramlich

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Charles Gramlich

    My main hobby has been collecting things over time. I’ve had all kinds of collections, stamps, rocks, beer cans, spark plugs, coins. But books are the only thing I collect now. Other than that, motorcycling was a hobby for a while, given up in order to stay alive.And writing, of course. For a long long time now.

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