Generally speaking, I don’t like to share what I’m working on because it messes up my mojo when I do. I end up not finishing whatever I said that I would do because I’ve already told you about it so what’s the point in seeing it through now? I mean, if I told you I’d give you a ride home and then I bounce, I still got home.
Only once in my life have I met a person who thought there was an air of mystery about me. We were in first-year university, naive and impressionable. We were all grasping, desperately, at anything that might be meaningful. I wanted to get to know her better, and blogging hadn’t been invented yet, so I let her think that there was some real, unseen depth about me.
Facebook came around a couple of years later and the game changed.
What makes every creative pursuit difficult is putting your own spin on it, infusing it with that “je ne sais quoi” that is yours. Anyone can start a blog, take a picture, make a video, or, even, produce a podcast. Anyone can carve a statue, throw some clay, write a book, or stitch together two pieces of fabric.
Yes, yes, you need to have the resources available to you but that’s a small hurdle to overcome for most people. But, marking something with your fingerprint or giving your voice to it isn’t something that everyone can do. We can’t do it because we don’t do it.
I’m speaking from a position of incredible privilege. I have more than I need, and then some. I look at what I have and try to find meaning in it. In all of it. Without the things that I have, I don’t know that I’d be able to position who I am. My story isn’t interesting enough because it’s dependant on something else.
Looking toward what’s coming next is what keeps me moving forward. Reflecting on where I’ve been sets me back. I’ve attached meaning to the things the animate my life and now they’ve become the characters that develop throughout the telling of my own story.
I was walking down the street the other day, out for a walk to take some pictures for the vlog that I’m working on this summer. Someone, I don’t know who, was wearing Polo perfume. He/She wasn’t so much wearing it so much as they were showering in it. There was only enough of a breeze to carry it. Instantly, I thought of my dad. The night before I left home, I snuck into his room and poured a bit of his Polo perfume onto the forehead of my teddy bear.
My dad has a shelf lined with perfumes. Polo is his favourite. Whenever I go through a duty free or find a discount perfume shop, I call him to ask if he wants any. I also ask if my mom wants her Alfred Sung perfume.
My teddy bear has only one forehead. My mom never lets me leave without some of her cooking.
Nothing in my life is without its own peculiar “scent.” There are things that I remember that I shouldn’t or don’t want to. And, I can’t disassociate those “smells” with the memories that are attached to them. Maybe I haven’t done enough therapy.
So, I’ve been working on a podcast. The podcast is about my experiences with writing. But, I’m not a writer so it’s hard for me to talk about writing in any sort of meaningful way. Sure, I write every day, journal regularly, and dabble with blogging. I’ve worked on a collection of short stories and compiled stories for an autoethnography. When I need to think something through, I have to write things out. I also have a fairly prominent writer’s bump.
Whenever I sit down to work on the podcast, I have a really hard time figuring out what I’m going to say. Anything I want to say has probably already been said. Nothing that I want to talk about is new. It’s only interesting because I’m thinking about it.
When we all went online, I started a podcast about teaching and learning remotely. I put out an episode on every remote-teaching day, some 57 episodes. At one point, I sought contributors. A buddy of mine, also a teacher, asked me if I was running out of ideas. I told him that I wanted to make the podcast more of a conversation. He told me that he listens to my podcast to hear what I have to say.
Fuck me. Somebody is listening to me? As a teacher, this is a special feeling.
With that podcast, I had a very clear objective: share my experiences with teaching and learning remotely. With the podcast that I really want to make, my objective is less clear to me. It’s probably because I don’t self-identify as a writer.
As a teacher, people are compelled, almost forced, to be taught by me. As a writer, nobody has to read any of what I write. I teach, not only because it is my job, but because I know that I want to do it. (I’m still working on the “why”.) I don’t write for the same reasons; writing is my escape. Writing is where I lay myself down, on the page, prone. My writing is where the mystery of who I am reveals itself; the iceberg floats a little higher.
I’m working on a podcast because I’m not a writer but I tend to write. Maybe it’ll bring back some of that mystery, too; I still hold the forehead of my teddy bear up to my nose.