I’m sharing this NPR article for all the Unknown Creators out there. Its author, Ian Martin, shares his experience of writing a book about the underground rock scene in Tokyo. More significantly though, he touches on some of the trials and tribulations of small-time writers dealing with largely ignored subject matter. Why are we writing? What do we hope to gain from the experience? Does it matter if no one reads our creative output? If they do read it, do they even get it? That pretty well sums up my internal monologue about my largely ignored blog. At the end of the day, people like myself and Ian must accept the fact, no, revel in the knowledge that we do it mainly for ourselves. And that’s slowly becoming more acceptable to me. Good days and bad days, amirite?
As much as I hate to ruminate over validation of my efforts in terms of clicks, likes, comments, etc, or in my case the complete lack thereof, there’s a flip-side to that coin. I would also hate to wake up everyday knowing I was a hyper inflated, mainstream, highly overrated shit-show like Beyonce just as much. I’d rather die in obscurity.
To my extremely, shall we say, “eclectic” audience, I want you to know you are greatly appreciated. (Although at least one comment, just one, on anything on this blog would be nice. Not sayin’ just sayin’.) Just as Ian will not be abandoning his efforts to document the often overlooked underground cultural enclave of noisemakers he knows and loves, regardless of attention or indifference, nor will I abandon you.
And Ian, if you somehow find and read this obscure post, thank you for writing from the perspective of the Unknown Creator. I have immense respect for any passionate writer pursuing personally rewarding but obscure interests over robotic chasing of trends merely for a payday. I haven’t read your book, but I already know it would be an entertaining read. That being said, may your book sell millions of copies in every language and continue to inspire other Unknown Creators for years to come.
Lost Angel is not a rock band (that I know of) but a rock wall. It’s not just any rock wall though, it is the single biggest draw for climbers in Dream Canyon, Boulder, Colorado. Stunningly beautiful and impossibly challenging, it’s easy to see the attraction.
The video below follows climber Heather Weidner on her epic journey sending the Lost Angel by what is known as the China Doll route, an extremely challenging route only achieved by a select few climbers. Did I mention she is the first woman to do so? As if that wasn’t a cool enough reason to watch, the vignette artfully parallels her obsession for climbing to her relationship with her husband and climbing partner, Chris.
It is beautiful to see someone who has found their own personal China Doll route to a successful marriage and climbing career. Have you found yours? What are you really passionate about doing? Do you have a special someone who shares that passion with you? Leave a comment and let me know. The support of a loved one can boost your confidence, inspire and motivate you to reach new heights in whatever you pursue.
If you haven’t found your true passion let alone your China Doll route yet, all you can do is keep putting yourself out there and trying as many things as possible to see what moves you to pursue it further. This will help surround yourself with others who, like you, are just looking for their China Doll routes in life.
Even if you end up meeting someone who doesn’t share your passion for Afghani Buzkashi matches, no worries, but try to find a partner who has passions of their own.
On that note, remember never to be too critical of another’s interests. A lady friend of mine met a guy who was really into disc golf. I mean, really really into it. He was so much into it she complained to me awhile back that it seemed to be all he talked about. Flash forward to two years later, they are now a loving couple and guess what? She’s really into disc golf! More than that, she went from barely being able to throw a disc to joining tournaments and making a bunch of new friends. It just makes sense – that birds of a feather thing, but sometimes you just need some time to grow into your feathers.
Spaceman Ross is lacking passion in his life. Sure, as a spaceman there’s a little sense of adventure striking out into the unknown, but it has become a bit of a grind. When isolated in his shuttle, sealed off from humanity on a mission, he fantasizes about what he would be doing on earth if he were home. More than that, he wonders if he will ever fall in love. His job is like a prison, and each time he returns to earth he feels like he’s re-entering society, having been locked away for such long periods. Plus it’s hard to chat with people about sports, current events or popular tv shows when your shuttle receives transmissions months after they’ve aired on earth. Not all of his communication is so slow, he can text message about as quickly as we can. Entertainment transmissions are not deemed a priority by the One World Government Space Program and require much more data processing time.
Whether you are locked into the hermetically sealed confines of a spaceship out in the cosmos or just stuck in an airport here on earth, the holiday season may be a lonely time for you. Often it is our jobs that keep us from our loved ones. Maybe it’s a recent breakup or the stress of dealing with those pesky family members that makes this time of year not so merry. What ever is going on in your life right now, just remember to take a deep breath and remind yourself of two very important things.
First, all your life circumstances that existed before the holidays will still be there afterwards. All the hype, good and bad, that you may feel around this time of year is just you getting inside your head. So just let it go. They’re just a few days on a calendar, maybe a few awkward gatherings, you can get through it. You got this.
That brings us to thing number two: you and only you control your shuttle. If you feel yourself getting super stressed out because you couldn’t buy that certain gift or didn’t make it to your neighbor’s after-party, just remember they are only failures if you choose to view them as such. Trendy gifts or social gatherings are not things that should be causing you stress anyway. If those are some of the more stressful things about your life I’d say you’re doing just fine. Ross will be lucky if he gets a good enough signal from earth to even have decent WiFi this holiday season. So, things could be worse.
If things are seriously worse for you, like you just lost a loved one as someone I know has, please remember that unlike Ross, you are not locked in a hermetically sealed shuttle and you have an entire world of other humans around. So find one, even if it’s a stranger, and don’t isolate yourself. Whatever your situation, my heart goes out to you.
Even if one person is having an amazing holiday this year, next year they may not be so lucky. If you are one of the lucky ones this year, keep an eye out for the lonely Spacemen out there. Maybe invite that dude at the office who can’t fly home for the holidays to your family shindig. Who knows, it might make the whole event more enjoyable. More than that, in the most extreme case you might be saving a life. Sorry, that was dark. The point is, it can be lonely here on earth sometimes, but unlike space it doesn’t have to be.
Here are some One World Government approved methods of staying strong this holiday season:
Volunteer. Nothing can get you in the holiday spirit more than giving of your time and expertise to those in need. Go to https://www.volunteermatch.org/ to find opportunities to get your mind off things while helping others.
Exercise. No better time than the present to start getting in shape for your next interstellar adventure! Gyms are open all the time, and usually there’s plenty of room since most people slack off this time of year. So while others are getting fat off empty carb-laden cookies and candy, you can be getting a jump on that New Year’s resolution.
Make. With the internet being what is today, you can find all the tools and instructions you need to build damn near anything. Maybe it would be the perfect unique gift. Maybe it’s for yourself. Find something you’re interested in and even if you don’t have any experience just give it a go. Why not? Spaceman Ross once built a birdhouse that was so shitty I literally watched a bird starve to death next to it. It’s not about the finished product, it’s about the experience.
Reconnect. Remember back when you used to go to such and such place with what’s his face? Yeah, those were the days. Hey, I wonder how what’s his face is doing, man I should give that guy a call. You get the picture here. Sometimes people have a fear of reaching out to someone they haven’t spoken to in a while even when there is no bad blood there. Get over that. Chances are, the person you’re thinking of has thought about you too and would love to hear from you. You could suddenly have plans where there were no plans before.
Adopt. Sadly, many domestic animals without loving homes will not be having a joyous holiday season either. Why not bring two lonely souls together by adopting a dog or cat? Be advised, this is not at all a good idea if you are looking for a temporary pick-me-up for the holiday season. Adoption should only be considered if you are really interested in becoming a permanent pet parent. Make sure you have the means to provide for it and do your homework beforehand, of course. You may also be interested in offering your services as a pet sitter or dog walker. Many people travel for the holidays and this might be a more suitable option for you.
Hike. If the holidays aren’t your thing or this year you just want (or need) to focus on yourself and get your head together, hiking/camping can be the perfect alternative. There are few things more cathartic and enlightening than being alone in nature. It’s good exercise, and if you hike the right area you might get a glimpse of rare wildlife. Don’t forget your phone, I mean, camera.
If all else fails please don’t hesitate to fritter and waste those lonely hours this holiday season reading and commenting on this blog.