I retired from baseball around the time I hit middle school.
Steinbrenner wept that day, but oh what a glorious retirement it was - they even gave me a trophy.
You'll notice I didn't say 'I quit' because, as with everything, my parents mandated I finish the season. The reason for my retirement was two-fold:
1) While scooping up daisies with my mitt in centerfield was fun, I enjoyed other sports more.
2) The coaches stopped pitching and instead gave the ball to my peers.
If #2 doesn't seem like a big deal to you, my guess is you're right-handed.
I'm a leftie.
Understand at this stage of the game, young players are still learning to hone their skills. This goes doubly so for pitchers coming into their own. Curveballs, sliders, 'Heaters', - you name it. The gates have been opened to those anointed few. And while an average-sized, right-handed batter would watch an errant pitch, high and outside, whizz by and hear the umpire call "Ball!", that same pitch would be directed at my head.
Needless to say, I became very good at ducking.
But coaches don't like that.
They'd rather you take the hit and get on base.
"Hang in there, Galvin," they'd say. "Take one for the team."
Sometimes I did. More often I didn't. Eventually I learned the hard way that curveballs were the worst. For some reason, I could never quite tell when they were gonna break. Then BAM. Pain. Red flashes. And the umpire's, 'Take your base, son."
That doesn't mean my coaches were wrong.
No matter what type of creator you are - writer, actor, artist, etc. - I think most would agree the creation bit is fun. (God knows it better be, or else why put yourself through the ringer, right?) But while creating is fun, the business side is tough. Unlike many careers we could've chosen, our paths are not so well defined. A+B rarely equals C. (Actually, there's probably a pi symbol, some other math thingies, and loads of formulas that we never could quite grasp because we're right-brain people).
The point is this: Life's gonna throw you curveballs. If you can't suck it up and force yourself to get back in the batter's box to face another pitch, you're not long for the creative business.
I knew all that, or at least thought I did. Whether in college, Chicago, or L.A., I've taken my licks and hung in there.
But sometimes knowing isn't enough.
For instance, I knew my family was in for some dark days last fall when my mother-in-law's health deteriorated. I knew my wife and I's welcoming a second child would decrease my time to write/create, just as I knew having our oldest meant cutting back on auditioning for films.
Again, you know these things and prepare as best you can.
Still, sometimes knowing and preparing isn't enough for when reality sets in.
I wrote a post nearly two months ago mentioning your rascally narrator had been struggling to get everything back on the tracks after the passing of my mother-in-law, readjusting to life in Cali with two kids, etc. Anyway, at the time, I was back in the chair, responding to all the emails I'd missed, and generally amped to keep at the third Salt book.
And then everything just seemed to fall out.
Call it what you will - a holiday funk, continued mourning, maybe even depression.
I dunno. It's not that the ideas or will to write stopped. I had both in spades, just couldn't get anything going. No gas in the tank. Some of this I attribute to lack of sleep and time because let's face it - with two kiddos under three, sleep is a luxury you no longer have.
But I've been tired for three years now. That's nothing new.
So what was it about these past few months that's been draining me?
I dunno. Still haven't figured it out, but I'm glad it's passed and I know what fixed it.
Many of you have undoubtedly heard someone say before that 'You need to go back to the well.'
A couple of weeks ago, I went back and swam around until I was all wrinkled up. Here's a taste of what I found...
Author. Actor. Rascal.