Confession time. I understand rest conceptually, but as a practical matter, it escapes me. Does that make me a workaholic? It’s not that I work all the time: it’s just that when it comes time to rest, I’m no good, as if I’ve wandered into a task I lack the basic skills for. There are a thousand things I love to do, but are they restful? I don’t know. Yesterday I tried to take a few hours off and doing something restful. I had to go to the airport, and on the way back, I scooted over into downtown and parked and walked. Camera in hand, I wandered for about an hour and a half, shooting skyscrapers and market stalls, hunks of tulips and roses, and the occasional street performer. The colors thrill me, the personalities fascinate. Several high class photographers were showing their wares; it made me want to not bother. Pride is silly that way–as if I was trying to compete with the pros. By the time I headed home, I’d enjoyed myself no question. But was it restful?
At home, I cleaned a bit while singing Les Miserables at the top of my lungs, fussed with the shots I’d taken downtown, and finally went to work. I worked until after midnight and fell into bed, and now it’s 5:30 a.m. and here we go again.
Maybe when we’re young we have no idea about rest because we just don’t need much. Or perhaps we don’t think about it, we just do it. Maybe it’s not rest I’m wanting, but something else, some kind of experience in the midst of rest, in which I will be fully aware of the experience of resting. (Are you laughing at me yet?) I hypothesize part of my problem comes from being a writer. How do you escape the written word? If I watch a film, I’m watching it from a writer’s point of view, trying to figure out how that story was told so I can go back to work and write a better story. Same with novels and plays and short stories. Even poems. I don’t write poems, but I deal in metaphor and long to make metaphors like that. Photographs are about composition, just like directing a play or a video. The life of the creative seems to never stop, and though I am so thankful, sometimes I just wonder what it means to lay it all down for a few moments and just be.
The truth is that when I was younger, I didn’t want the juices to ever stop flowing, and I didn’t want anything getting in the way of creating 24/7. I don’t know why, but that was simply true. Now I’m in a different place, wanting something from experience I can’t put my finger on.
If I could only be creative enough to put my finger on it.
…back to work…