The nearest exit might be behind you

I’m not going to lie. I’ve drowned my talent in a sea of whiskey. I’ve set fire to my ambition and watched it float away in sprials and clouds of cigar smoke.

That’s the truth. Not all of it, but enough of it.

Unlike a visit from an old friend, or a long, lost cousin, my relationship to the blank page is like the final month of an affair. There might have been something there, once. But now we have nothing to say to one another. Just holding on in a tension-filled silence.

Every day I immerse myself in someone else’s genius is a day I’m losing touch with whatever passes for my own.

I need to find a way out.

On airplanes, stewardesses pantomime the means of egress. Years ago, they actually talked you through the emergency procedures, though now those life-saving instructions are transmitted in too-easy-to-ignore videos.

“Be aware the nearest exit might be behind you.”

We’ll see.

There was a time in my life when I was always on a bicycle, breathing the restorative air of open ocean. All my writing, what little of it there was, was all my own. Now it belongs to someone else.

That’s not a complaint. I’m paid well for what I do. I enjoy a sumptuous complement of health-care benefits I fear I will need more and more. I have a comfortable office I still haven’t hung anything in (including myself), even after a year.

My way out is behind me. While I still have time. I need to get back to that place, philosophically, where I saw nothing but the years ahead.

Not that those days were perfect. I wasn’t with the person I would be with the rest of my life. I had a shortage of money and an abundance of unpaid bills. I didn’t always think I had a future, but I did.

That future is now. At times, I live the life I always dreamed of. At other times, I’m merely a cautionary tale. To myself, anyway.

The key is to look back, find the ingredients that worked, and avoid the sins of the past.

And the sins of the future. Man. There are so many.

But there’s also faith, hope and love. And, as someone once said, the most important of these is love.

Time to show some love to myself. While there’s still time.