I’m overwhelmed by the new house. It has a lot of land, which makes me feel like I’ve added a new vocation to my repertiore. Farmer. Or at least Caretaker. I see all the little elms that need to be cut or pulled up by the roots. And dead sunflower stalks from last season. Lillies that sat all winter in 100-gallon trash bins, the water rank. I’m supposed to put them out in the pond this month. We agreed to keep the seller’s 30-year-old bull snake, which is waking up from a hibernation of sorts. Soon there must be a baby rat for feeding.
And that’s just the tip of the outdoor-chore iceberg.
Do you ever feel like you’re trying to create a life that looks a lot prettier on the outside than it is on the inside? I’ve gone so many years watching other people, coveting what I presumed they had. And not just the material stuff. Not to say I didn’t envy the tangibles. I did. But mostly it was all the emotional benefits I imagined came with the stuff.
Will a bigger house and more land make me happier? Busier, perhaps. Maybe the demands of the new house will relegate writing and drawing to the realm of “hobby.” (Remember hobbies? Mom played poker while raising kids. Dad did oil painting after he retired. And he wrote a story of his early life, birth to age 14.) Either way it’s too late. If writing and drawing are passions, I’ve just given myself an even bigger test of how to fulfill them in my life.
Last night I finished a drawing I started Saturday morning. It’s a vato standing in front of a microphone singing. I don’t know who he is or why I drew him. He ended up with thick black hair slicked back, a la Eddy Munster.
At this moment, sitting in my cubicle at work, writing about the new place, I think I’m pretending to be an artist and writer. It’s all part of this desire for the intangibles. I don’t want writing and art to be my spare-time hobbies. I don’t even like the word. Hobby.
Mom and Dad were happy with their lives. Why do I want so much more?