What Makes One Happy, part 2
Last time I wrote about my short-term vs. long-term happiness. Another short-term happiness is coffee. I love coffee. Sixteen years ago when I rejoined the dating scene, I had my first cup of vanilla latte. While I liked coffee then, I fell in love with vanilla lattes. Today, exiting the dating scene with my long-term girlfriend, I drink several cups of coffee daily, laced with vanilla sugar-free creamer.
Which brings me to my second item in my long-term happiness list, alone time for painting, drawing, and writing. I drink coffee as I paint, draw, or write.
However, I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up, shall we?
As a child, I drew all sorts of spaceships and ground vehicles, making up stories as they developed. I also tended to write stories in my head that incorporated these doodles or were fresh and not related to them. I even wrote a couple down which were lost to the hands of time. As a young adult, I forgot about them and proceeded to be caught up in photography and girls. Girls turned out to be my main obsessive behaviors and I was awkward around them. It took a lot of trial and effort that lasted for decades, despite getting married and having a child in the meantime.
Sixteen years ago, I revisited my creative talents a couple of years after my marriage died and I lived alone. I loved it and I began drawing and painting in earnest. Living alone like that for all those years trained my adult mind to disappear into my creative world, feeling and living the lives of the characters I created. Later, branching out and revisiting my creative writing, I fell into the same pattern. In some ways, it was easier to disappear into my creative world as I could sit in a comfortable chair and write; all the while, my girlfriend watched her favorite shows on television.
I have to admit, I prefer my alone quiet time, apart from life and in my creative space (my office or my studio) in order to draw, write or paint. It’s important to me, no question about it, and being there makes me happy. I’m free to be myself, unbeholden to anyone or anything else. Feeling what my characters feel and experience, I can develop story lines that flow. I can feel the pain and joy, torment and pleasure that they feel. It hurts at times but I am able to leave a bit of me in my creations. As I have said before, my heart and soul is embedded in each work I create, be it visual or written. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
To be honest though, it is difficult at times to separate myself from the real world, where my girlfriend is such an important part, and spend time in my creative space where I immerse myself in my fictional realities. I can recall a numerous occasions when I had to stop and ask her to wait until I finished a particular section of the story. I didn’t want to lose track of the flow of the story, extricate myself from the pretend world in order so that I could interact with her on whatever she wanted to say. Sometimes she’d acquiesce and other times, she’d fume. I can’t say I blame her. I do the same to her.
Last November, consumed with writing my latest book, ‘The Trafficking Consortium’, she really became bothered at the time I spent writing the story and disappearing into this fictional world, even when I was sitting right next to her. I took every spare moment to write, moments that she had felt were hers. I agree. Most times they were but during November, nope. It was as if I had a barking dog scratching at the door to be let out and relieve itself. Just as you can’t tell a dog to wait, else it would piss on your carpet, I couldn’t tell the story to wait. Frankly, it hurt to keep it inside instead of being let out. So, every available moment was taken to write, and write, and write some more.
My girlfriend and I are still negotiating these rules of engagement, so that I can create undisturbed and uninterrupted with time I allocate to her. Since she is very important to me, I walk a delicate line between the two worlds. In the meantime, I keep at it. I thank the universe that lately, she is okay with me blocking out significant blocks of time to create. I wonder what she will think when she figures out that some of my best creative time is well after dark and can last into the wee hours of the morning. I don’t think it is a problem though as my body can’t take it anymore. For some reason, it insists upon a decent night’s sleep.
Thanks for reading. I hope you have a great day and a better tomorrow.