19 July 2012

Billy Blaze Is Beating The Crap Out of Chuck Lumley. Maybe.

Monday, July 16th, 2012. 4:38 PM. Thirsty and nervous.

A problem with writing, sometimes and at least for me, is that there is an excess of voices in my head. Not in a "I've-lost-my-grip-and-become-unhinged" sort of way. It resembles a cacophony. A circus. The trading floor of a particularly eccentric, bizarre stock exchange.

Plus, there is the subtle yet pervasive odor of fear in the atmosphere. Fear makes me nervous.

The voices, they often make it hard for me to get anything done. Today is a case in point. I've been bouncing back and forth between trying to cobble together an effective job search, and attempting to suss out the thread of something my inner voice insists I write. Doing two complex tasks at once, and doing neither very well. I mean, just look at the drivel I'm putting on the page!

Gahhh. It is a first world problem that strikes at the root of my dilemma. I have been pursuing what I know how to do*, with unfortunately little usable results. I have also pursued what I don't know how to do**, with results even less impressive. All of this against a backdrop of a life in whirling flux. So many changes, so many things new and outside of the fragile snow globe I used to inhabit.

Well, that glass is broken now. A leap into the wild blue after years of habit broken by personal upheaval. It has affected my concentration. My creativity. My resolve to produce something worthwhile. The ideas come like stones skipping over the surface of the ocean. Tracking them all makes it own exhaustion, especially since I have aspirations to be more than just a hobbyist. As an architect, I should know more than many that in order to build anything, you need a solid plan.

So the joke seems to be on me. For reasons I have yet to understand, I have been unable to formulate a solid plan for any path I want to follow. I think about it, I make tentative steps in certain directions, and then I get distracted by the Stuff and the Things. I have lost focus far more times than I care to count. This is anxious-making, because I'm painfully aware I need to get it together.

The pragmatic, practical side of me, the one that is fond of structure and routine is banging heads with the creative, artistic side that is desperate to bloom and explore. There has to be a way to reconcile the two. All the more critical as I hope to find a way to make a living out of the beautiful mess of my life. I need my one big idea.

Remember the movie Night Shift which came out in 1982, with Michael Keaton and Henry Winkler? As some may know, Michael Keaton played William Blazejowski aka 'Billy Blaze'. He was the feckless numbskull, always carrying a miniature tape recorder so he could capture the big ideas that were constantly springing forth from his overheated mind.*** Henry Winkler played Chuck Lumley, the sad-sack, straight-laced guy who quit Wall Street for a low-stress job in a morgue. They both end up on the night shift, and hilarity ensues. The Creative and the Steward in comic tension.

Chuck Lumley and Billy Blaze are slugging it out in my head, cheered on by a crowd of reprobates, hangers-on and clowns. I'm not sure who is ahead in this contest, but I can tell you it is noisy, it is frenetic and it is exhausting. Chuck wants me to settle down and take the first, safest thing that comes up. Billy wants me to keep cranking out the ideas until we have that One Big Idea.

I want that One Big Idea, too, dear readers. I'm just not sure how much longer I can hold out.


*The wonderful if exceedingly frustrating world of architecture.
**In other words, writing and photography. By 'don't know how to do' I mean I was not formally educated in, nor do I have professional credentials in, either area of artistic/professional endeavor.
***My favorite is the one where Billy is eating a fast food burger. He stops to stare at the wrapper, then whips out the recorder to say "Idea to reduce garbage:edible paper!" The look on his face was hilarious.


  1. One of my favorite flicks..I was walking in Union Square last week and a dude was holding a sign that said "Big Ideas Wanted" and he was recording them into a device as each person gave one...so I reached in my memory bank and pulled out a Billy Blaze "Feed Mayonnaise to Tuna Fish" idea and told him my name was Billy Blazejowski lmao... There's a compromise somewhere between Chuck and Billy, and just like the movie I expect the same when that big one hits you...just without the hookers and morgue job...Also, the writing education bit ? You've been writing professionally since you started this blog, and long before that I'd wager...hold out bro, its comin'...I'm cheerin for you, and I know all your readers are too...we dont come here for the booze ;) ..and remember, that Barney Rubble, what an actor.He had no formal training either ! Lol Cheers from the NYC bro.

  2. Hmmm. Do you have a meditation practice? I'm not saying because I think you should. Mostly because I think I need to be a bit more disciplined in my own practice. But it can't hurt, can it?

    Also - don't worry about the professional credentials for the art stuff. Seriously? You're all set.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...