April 07, 2017

Where Do I Fit In?

Where Do I Fit In?
By John R. Greenwood 

 Where do I fit in as a person who likes to write? I have been asking myself that question for several years now.  Author Jon Katz says, "You write, therefore you are a writer." Being a writer doesn't come with a flow chart of earnings or readership quotas. The biggest thing I ever received for any of my work was a beautiful framed photograph of the Catskills that I won when a story I wrote was published in the Conservationist magazine. It hangs proudly in my home. The most rewarding thing I get from writing is when someone is touched by what I put into words. That's why I enjoy writing simple notes and letters to people. I have always liked writing captions to photos and I have always been drawn to thought provoking quotes I run across. I collect my favorites in a notebook. Let's just say I'd have a better chance at being a Hallmark Card writer than a Stephen King. 

When I go long stretches without expressing what's going on inside I begin to isolate myself. I withdraw from the things I enjoy and I lose interest in everything. I'm at my best when creativity is a steady flow and I'm on the move. That's why it's so important for people to have an interest or a hobby to keep them attached to the world. I began Raining Iguanas because I needed to find out who I really was. I went from teenager to father and provider with little time to prepare. In later years, just when I thought I might be able to set aside "me" time my parents became more and more dependent on me. It's called life and if you plan to enjoy it you had better learn to enjoy the little things or you'll never be truly happy. When my parents had both passed I was in my mid-fifties. It was now just my wife and me. Our sons were grown and had expanding families of their own. I needed to stop and catch my breath. That's when I began to put thoughts down on paper. That was the spark that became this blog.

What's next?

I'm still not ready to make work a second thought. I think work keeps me grounded and vital. What I have been struggling with is whether or not to do something more with my thoughts and words. I rise to my alarm every morning at 4am but I struggle with procrastination and discipline. I can put off difficult things for years. I've discovered a vein of inspiration on the television. It slowly emerged when I subscribed to Netflix. The endless barrage of commercials on network television became so annoying that I, like many others, began searching for an alternative. It was a few months after watching various options on Netflix that I began pulling up YouTube on the television. I stumbled across a BBC show called, "What do artists do all day?" It stirred up that creative fever that is always present. It's that itch I can never scratch. I can never seem to figure out how to feed that fire. Writing helps but it's either not enough or it only makes me more frustrated because it creates an even larger yearning for something more. It's that, "more" that I can't seem to identify. I believe it's a need to express myself via some form of visual art. What form that expression takes has yet to speak up. I keep searching and searching. I absorb the works and ideas of anyone and anything that passes by my window in hopes something will stand up and shake me by the shoulders. Whatever it is, it has to be original in some way. I am convinced the answer is out there waiting for me to uncover it. My mind races when I watch an artist that seems to be in a sort of creative trance because that's the feeling I'm trying desperately to recreate. I'm too impatient for fine art, so the venue I choose must be larger and more crude. I feel drawn to using materials presently around me.

What I'm experiencing is not rare. There are millions of people who suffer from the same malady. It's something that has plagued man since the beginning. We find it etched in caves. We unearth examples throughout the world. My fear is that sometimes  the ember dies without ever knowing the flame it may have become. I believe we all possess the same fear. It seems to strengthen with each passing day.

I wrote the words above weeks ago and let them marinate in my iPad. I just returned to the piece and reread my words. I do that sometimes. I forget the original point I was trying to convey and I wander off on a tangent. The key, I suppose is that we return. It's easy to get lost entirely and fall off the edge of the earth. I refuse to do that. On my recent visit to the NYPL I found fresh inspiration in the form of two lions; Patience and Fortitude. They spoke volumes to me, not just by the books within the walls behind them but by their message. Relying on instant gratification is the instigator of all our present day woes. It's knowing that true happiness lies in the calloused hands of hard work and appreciation of the end result. To possess the patience to muscle though diversity and despair is the true test of man. Having the courage and resiliency to withstand the roller coaster ride that life throws at you is what helps you appreciate what you have.

I am a content man in what I have, but I am always hungry for more contentment. Sounds crazy but it makes perfect sense to me. In this world-wind world, I crave quiet. Quiet in the form of art. Art in the form of anything assembled out of creativity from within.

If this sounds like rambling, it's not. To me it's as clear as a bolt of summer lightening. Embrace what's within reach but reach further, swing for the fences but celebrate a double, sip coffee, gulp life, sit down and cheer. 

Most importantly, come back soon.



  1. Don't ever stop writing. Don't ever stop searching. Don't ever stop knowing there's always more.

  2. Beautiful and honest. Keep writing, I love reading your work.

  3. I think you have a gift with story telling. Humorous, honest, a warmth that draws the reader in ... :)