Jul 22, 2010

Fly on the wall (and the desk, the ceiling, the window, etc.)

"Follow that writing bug. For some it flies straight. For others of us the writing bug might fly like an actual fly, in 10,000 different directions, stopping, starting, changing direction... But it gets where it needs to go."
I am sharing words from my friend Robert. I think many of you are familiar with his thought provoking blog.

I think comparing myself to a fly is disturbingly perfect. I have been described as buzzing on more than one occasion by coworkers, bosses, and friends. In the blogosphere, I am often described as here, there, and everywhere. And then, poof, just like that I am gone for a while. Probably reincarnating in the pantry, above the raspberry jam.

You see, we flies only live for a few days and somehow we make it our lives to cover as much territory as possible. I have gone to school for interior design, urban planning, business, and now I am in for education. Some may boil my frequent change in direction down to the inability to commit. Others might relate it to the fear of getting in too deep. But Robert's words put it into perspective: I like to create. In order to create, I need to move around from project to project and keep things in motion. I am not sure if my ADHD aids in this or ultimately brings the demise of 90% of my projects, but it doesn't really matter. The sheer bliss I feel in the beginning of an endeavor is worth the utter collapse I feel when I drop the ball.

I shared my own wise words at Robert's the other day when I urged him to forgive himself for spending all his time on one thing while he ignored a list of many other important things. As creators, we have to forgive ourselves for choosing one thing over the other. Sometimes people get hurt and projects sit collecting dust in our minds and eventually end up in the haunted attic. But in the end, we are on a shared path where a sense of self is perhaps the most important indulgence we need.

And so, it is without further ado that I allow myself the missed opportunities that this blog may or may not have provided and grab the reins of my own life, again. Imagine me, six millimeters tall, on a fly with a harness. Because after all, I am not the fly, but I am riding the fly. The ups and downs. Life is the fly and how else can we deal with it but to go along for the ride. 

I just hope I don't throw up every time we land.


  1. "As creators, we have to forgive ourselves for choosing one thing over the other."

    I definitely needed to hear this today as two abandoned projects glare at me from the corner. I'll get back to them soon...

  2. Perfect Jon. Well said :) I love that you say that you now allow yourself. Yes, that is what it is, isn't it? Bravo, good for you, huzzah!!

    I was looking for something today as I haunted Maggie Stiefvater's blog and I found this. She said, "I think what it comes down to is that your sense of confidence and purpose HAS to come from within."

    yeah I know we've heard it before. But I needed to hear it again.

  3. You once told me there was nothing wrong with being yourself (I'm paraphrasing). Not that you're now saying there is, but that was great advice Jon! Thanks.

  4. You know how I figured out I was a writer? It's the one thing I always want to finish.
    With all my other projects, the fun is in the problem solving, designing, inventing stage. Finishing things is just "work".

  5. J--above all, I hear you being kind to yourself within this blog post. YAY!

  6. "A sense of self is perhaps the most important indulgence we need." - Jonathan Arntson

    You know that will be in a book of quotes. Is Oscar Wilde somewhere in your family tree?

    Thank you for the shout-out to my blog!

    Flies unite! ...and, thanks for the reminder not to throw up whenever we land. Actually, that can be a challenge, not to beat ourselves up for every new direction we've taken.

  7. J, see I picture you in a human sized sleigh like Santa Clause, but instead of reindeer, harnessed and carried by DROVES of flies.

    I think you're smart.

  8. Def. can't focus on the missed opportunities! If I had a choice though, I wouldn't be riding an insect. More like an eagle or something b/c insects when you look at them really closely are like giant monsters.

  9. I'm glad you're the rider. It means you're in control, even if you do go in lots of different directions. You learn about lots of things that way. And probably have many more book ideas than some of us like me that just focus on one thing, like one manuscript for many years. It's totally fine the way you're doing it.

  10. Nice post, Jon! I must admit, I'm much more like the 2nd fly in the quote :)