Unanswered Questions

Writing can be so frustrating.  New ideas swirl about, fragments.  Little bits and pieces of pleasure that grab me for a moment.  But they are trifles.  Too insignificant to grab onto.  Diaphanous.  Taking them down?  Catching them?  I could make an occupation of trapping them, have distracted myself for hours by printing articles of interest, organizing pages of notes, cutting out images from magazines and putting all of this into a 3 ring folder, but in the end doesn't it all come down to distraction?  Distraction from the real work? 

I distract myself with books.  A cover crosses my path and I am instantly bewitched, besotted with what I imagine in the contents, but once I open the pages, hunker down, the truth of what between the binding?  It almost always disappoints.  It's the same with ideas.  Once fleshed out, once completed, the finished project always disappoints.  It can never be as good as I imagined it.  But what is better?  To thoroughly digest an idea, a story, a work?  To read it to its completions, imperfections and all?  Yes.  Of course, the answer is yes.  It's not the distraction which is meaningless, it's the amount of effort you put into the distraction.  Unfortunately, that means risk.

I have to risk my time, my emotional investment, risk relinquishing my superiority and doubt so that I can investigate the book, or work (both when consumer and producer) to really know if it's worth it.  But not taking that risk means risking so much more.  It means possibly flitting from one thing to another like a distracted butterfly seeking the perfect pollen and never taking anything in, because nothing is perfect.  Everything is settling.

Do I do the same thing with relationships?  There was a time when I was always the person left behind.  I was too afraid to break up with anyone because I didn't want to risk losing something wonderful.  So I would wait, slog through the mud of a relationship until the person I was in it with decided to unlace their shoes, step out of them and take off. 

And then, I gained some confidence, grew, and the proverbial pendulum swung.  Then I was almost always the one who left first.  Afraid of being hurt, afraid of settling for less than my one true love.  I only really regretted the decision once, but should I have regretted others?  Maybe.  Maybe I didn't give those others a true shot, didn't give them enough time to break the surface into the depth of what they truly were.

Someone I dated recently wrote me, trying to reconnect.  I was welcoming, but careful.  After all, I'd broken off the relationship for a reason and didn't want to get caught up in it again, didn't want to give him false hope.  He'd said he would call, he wanted to talk, and then he never did.  Which left me thinking "was I not enthusiastic enough in my response"?  If I had been, would he have called?  And if he did would I want to see him again?  Not really.  The feelings hadn't been there.  But could they have been?  Would they have been?  If I went back in, figured out just how deep the incompatibilities were, would they have seemed a trifle in comparison to the others out there?

Is the truth of the matter that eventually you just have to find something good enough and land on it, grab hold of it, get entangled and stay?  Stay for the good and the bad?
Joe Hartman