Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Challenging times

Hey people.  I've had a hard time gearing-up to post anything lately because I just don't feel I have much interesting to say.  I guess more accurately, I feel too blurred to put together a very coherent post.  I feel scattered and undefined and sort of like I'm running down a hill-- too tired to stop myself.  But, what the heck-- here goes---

One thing that has been taking massive amounts of time and physical energy lately is the trail.  This is one of my trail-work shirts after a day of pulling buckthorn.  I have never been as hot and dirty and sweaty in my life as I have in the last month.

My activities at the trail are simple on the surface--- there is tons and tons of physical work to be done over there, and only a handful of volunteers willing/able to do it.  I've committed myself to this.  Physical work in and of itself could not be more simple--- show up on time, work your ass off, do what is asked, and contribute mentally also-- ideas.  There is something gratifying about accomplishing physical work, a boiled-down-ness.  When I make up my mind to do something, I bring it full-force. 

This is where it gets more complicated.  My commitment to the trail gets all tangled up in the friendships I've formed with the rest of the crew, and a strong desire to keep a hand in and *know what's going on*-- sort of a control thing I guess, how I approach things I worry about--- get as much info as possible, and even my own ego--- how I think of myself--- as someone who works super hard, and has something worthwhile to contribute.  My ego is now wrapped-up in wanting our trail, and the races held there, to be one (or more, more would be good too!) notch above other trails/parks.

Most people around me, who are not on the crew, don't really get this--- why I'm so willing to go so hard at this.  Sometimes they'll say, "That's really nice of you, to volunteer so much..." and there's this silent, "I guess..." at the end.  And the trail work doesn't feel as altruistic as the word "volunteer" implies.  I def do it for me.  It's kind of weird, because sometimes that makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong or is another sign of how weird I am or something-- like I shouldn't care so much about it.  But I do.

The other thing I write about a lot is riding so here's an update on that--- I've back-slid a bit.  I was feeling pretty good about my skills and fitness level about a month ago, but then we got a slew of monster storms, and a heat wave that has made it feel like we are all residing in Satan's underpants.

The storms made trail-work an almost nightly activity for a while.  It's seemed every other day 20 trees would go down we'd have to saw off the trail.  To top it off the torrential rains washed-out at least half the trail and completely changed the topography.  The couple of times I've gotten to ride lately have left me feeling like I completely suck.   My confidence is almost at zero now.  I'm trying to just back-up and take it slow, but even my fear has crept back up.  It's a little discouraging.  I'm going to go back to square one and just self-coach myself back on track I guess.

Last night I rode with Trusty Pam, who has become a bit disenchanted with our now much more difficult trail.  It was fun spending time with her.  She's found a bunch of roadies to ride with some days a week now and I'm happy for her on that score.    I think my little personal skills clinics at my trail will be sort of solitary for a while.  That's fine, but has always made me jealous of the guys and their tribe.

Tonight we hit a faster, easier trail closer to her work that she's come to enjoy more than Hillside.  I like it too for a non-technical zoomy ride.  It's riding your bike in the woods, and a good confidence builder.  I like it to ride for fun.  I just know when I ride there I'm not improving my skills at all.  This is just something I'll have to put in different boxes.  Riding with my friend, for fun, is as important to me as improving, if not more so.  (But there is a big part of me that still has ambitions of awesomeness.)

Now for art stuff.   Working on the horses, one of my favorite parts was exploring some more complicated movements.  There was a time I'd def get caught up in simple confirmation-- how long and thick everything is supposed to be and how it's all arranged.  Now I am more intrigued by how they shift their weight etc going around corners, or shuffling quickly to the side.  I have 3 sculptures I'm pretty happy with, and one less dynamic pose in the pipeline, and still don't think I've made the *best horse of my life*.

I really like aspects of all 3 of these so far though, and making them has taught me new things, that I'll use in future sculptures.

While I've been working I've gotten back to listening to audio books.  There was a time I wanted nothing but music.  Fast/hard rock/metal felt sort of like grabbing onto a tow rope that yanked me with it into a current of energy I was both craving and emitting.  My clockwork was spinning so fast, it felt like the only thing close to my natural rhythm.   Now I want fiction.

The story I'm listening to now is about a writer, and talks about the dual realities writers inhabit-- the real world, and the one of their own creation.  I remember that so vividly.  When I think of it now, how invested I was, the level of commitment I felt to my characters and the world I wrote them into, it seems unbalanced, bordering on crazy.

And at the same time, like something I could def see myself going back to at some point.  It was a total creative rush.  I remember thinking and saying if I didn't get published my life would amount to a big zero.  Now I just don't give it the same weight.  Is it a cop-out?  Am I a failure on some level?  I don't know.  All I know is most people I know haven't written 2 1/2 novels, even unpublishable ones.

For now my plate is FULL of visual art commitments-- commissions waiting, shows I'm preparing for, and pet projects I have no idea when I'll have time to begin, and that doesn't even cover *new idea*, which although is currently on the back burner, I remain very committed to.

Wow, can this be longer?  And I thought I had nothing to say.  Hmm.


irishk said...

"Living in Satan's underpants," I might have to use that one. LOL It is so true...this heat and humidity have really been oppressive. There is something pretty cool about the way you throw yourself into whatever it is you are doing. There's a fine line between obsession and passion and you are walking it well. It is that same passion that is apparent in your art...and in your friendship:-)

Maery Rose said...

Sue, you do so much and you give what you do your all. I certainly wouldn't consider not writing right now a failure. I've been looking at all the things I do and trying to determine which ones I really want to commit to and focus on and which ones to let go because I cannot do it all and really get anywhere with the one thing I want to do -- write a book. Who knows, I may find I'm not cut out for that and move on but I hope not. You are talented at so many things which is awesome but the pull on you can be exhausting, as you are experiencing.

pseudosu said...

K-- I def cross the line from time to time. Hopefully my friends will keep me from going too far over it. ;)

M-- It's kind of you to think of mine as a problem of being good at too many things, instead of what I often feel like-- *master of none.* The writing I did, even though "unsuccessful" in that it didn't get published, still doesn't feel like a waste of time. It helped me work some major personal issues out, and I learned TONS about writing, story structure, and publishing. It was still worth doing at the time. I hope at the very least you feel the same in the end, regardless of how far you take it. :)