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Sunday, July 13, 2003

What I'll never do...but would really like to
A mini-series

A few minutes ago I decided I must have had a fever and it was on its way out. I was sweating and shaking at the time. Within a few minutes I decided it wasn't a fever. It was an ugly sunburn. I spent three hours outside today pressure-washing my driveway. Why? Nothing much better to do. I have a long list of indoor chores that I don't want to do. Outside, there wasn't much to do but make my driveway look nice. Now, I'm sunburned and wishing I had done one of the things I'll never do. So, this week, when I feel like writing, I'll submit the things I wish I was doing, but know I probably never will.

I wouldn't have to pack much. A laptop computer, one of my acoustic guitars (more than likely my friend, Old Alverez), a black and white bound composition book, an atlas, a couple of good ink pens, a bottle of something (maybe scotch, maybe Tang), and a case of SweetTarts.

The atlas would sort of be a fail-safe. Frankly, I don't want to know where I'm going. I just want to hop in Emilio and drive until I'm tired. I want to find the nearest motel or campground, pull over, sleep, wake up and discover what that place is all about. The place doesn't matter. The "all about" part does.

The rules would be as such:

1) I am not allowed to pre-plan destinations.
2) While I won't slum on purpose, five-star hotels are out. Campgounds and small motels are preferred.
3) I'm not allowed to leave the town/city until I've written both a song and a short story about my time there.
4) As soon as Rule 3 has been completed, I get back and Emilio and drive until I don't feel like driving anymore.
5) Repeat rules 1-4 until I feel like going home.

I decided this afternoon (shooting highly-pressurized water at concrete can be a bit hypnotic) that my stagnant lifestyle is the reason my creative side has atrophied so much. Like I have most of my life, I feel like I have things to write, but I rarely want to share those things with anyone (this forum being a welcome exception). I think I need to be alone for a while before I can feel free to create.

Of course, hitting the road to write is something young, unmarried men do. It's the life of a tramp, the life of a wanderer with no ties. It's the life of a man who has either never had a job or just lost the only one he'll ever have.

Right after I wrote that last line, my mom called. I had talked to her briefly on the phone before I sat down to write. She'd been sitting at home stewing about the fact that the last few times we've talked I've had an odd tone in my voice. That's my mom. The ultimate lie detector. She asked what was wrong. I didn't have a really good answer for her. I would've told her if I really knew the answer. The best I could come up with is: I'm bored. That didn't seem to pacify her. She knew being bored was probably only half the truth. But I think she understood without me saying that I don't know what the other half is.

Maybe if I wrote about the places I've been I could understand the place I am.

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Rapid Eye Reality is the personal blog of writer Brad Willis, aka Otis.
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