On days like these, I can hear my father's voice echoing through my memory. "Get outside!" he would declare. "You spent months cooped up in the house crying about the bad weather. It's nice out, go outside and enjoy it!" In his defense, I think sometimes he just wanted a little silence in the house so he could work, and would've marched me out into a lightning storm to achieve that peace. However, he was usually on point - on the first seventy-degree day, why on Earth would I want to stay inside?
I am older now, and my father isn't yelling at me to get outside - not in person, anyway. However, in the past years, I have changed my habits and certain ways have evolved. Of course, baseball turned into a night-time sport in Chicago, work replaced free time, and my interests shifted to include things other than my beloved sport. However, some things never change, and every spring I feel that awakening that tells me some things are returning, and I should gather myself together, get outside, and do something new.
Now that I wear a writing hat along with my economics hat, the writer in me feels that stirring as well. Not the urge to start writing - I keep that going throughout the year - but the need to start something fresh and new. My past few posts have been about poetry because that's been one of those recent awakening things, but that is nothing new. My mind starts circling around something that I think all writers should explore:
What should I try?
Several years ago, I tried blending my economics life with my writer's life, and the results were... mixed (the manuscript made it to eighty pages). Another time I warmed to the idea of converting one of my character sketches to a one-act play (still in the works, hopefully to be performed once performance theater emerges in the post-COVID world). One time, I decided I would start a writing blog. And of course, sometimes this awakening meant looking over past works, choosing one that had some potential, and performing an all-out rewrite.
Warning: Reviewing old writing can be a painful experience, even embarrassing at times, and should be approached with both caution and humility.
Now, not all my big tasks have paid off, but I did not expect them all to bear fruit. The bottom line is each one of them helped me stretch my boundaries as a writer, and for that I regret nothing.
So now that spring is creeping in yet again and the air outside is approaching room temperature, I am again thinking about what adventure to take on. It's still a work in progress, but a part of it is deciding to share this rite with my writing community and challenge them to do the same. Try something new. Expand those boundaries. Or, to quote a very wise man, "Get outside!"