I listened to Elton John on the drive home from work today. I took a different route back to my apartment. I do that sometimes, just to see different things. Maybe notice different things. And maybe feel some appreciation for them. I am so restricted in what I can do now, and things can get very monotonous. In two days, I will have been on house arrest for six months. I’m at the halfway point.
I’ve found myself reconnecting to the way I felt when I was in high school, before graduation. When you were there, you were so aware that you had your whole life ahead of you. You thought about what you wanted to be when you grew up. In a way, I can look at my release from house arrest as my graduation.
I’ve been writing a lot in the last six months. I’ve begun studying books about varied forms of the craft. One of the most prolific gurus of screen writing and story structure is Robert McKee, whose work I’ve only recently been exposed to. He talks about how writers must learn to appreciate limitations and use them to their advantage. My interpretation of what he says is that when, creatively, we are forced into a kind of confinement, that our energies are channeled in a way that they wouldn’t be if we had every option in the world. I’ve found that to be true.
I never gave much thought to writing before my arrest. Well, if I ever did think about it, I certainly didn’t express it much to anyone. I guess I doubted that I could ever do it, and I was afraid of trying because I might fail miserably. Well, I’ll tell ya what- if nothing else good came from being arrested with a Range Rover’s worth of illegal drugs and being unceremoniously thrown into federal prison in plain view of my family and friends- It did help to eliminate my fear of failure. There is nothing like an epic (and very public) failure to lower the bar going forward. That’s one way of looking at it. I don’t mean that to be a negative. On the contrary, that perspective has helped me to try things that I never thought that I was necessarily capable of. That in itself is a kind of freedom.
I say all of this knowing full well that it’s very possible that I will fail again, and miserably. There is also the chance that I won’t. Let the games begin, I say. As long as my next failure doesn’t send me to prison- or, if it does, that my next mug shot is at least vaguely attractive, and not resembling some kind of androgynous, exhausted mule after a long day of plowing fields.
186 days to go.