Ghosts and Slot Machines


I’ve been haunted by good intentions this week. Normally, these specters exist in my periphery; gently reminding me of their existence and encouraging me to do something productive with my day. When I listen to them and accomplish the tasks and goals I set for myself, they are appeased. This week, they’ve largely been ignored, and they are pissed. 

The longer I go without acknowledging them, the angrier they get. On Monday they were quietly muttering about how I wasn’t living up to my potential. By Friday they’ve become banshees; shrieking words like, “useless”, “untalented”, and “uncommitted”.

All I have to do to make them stop, is something. Write a page in my novel. Write a blog post. Browse the job listings. Research making soap. Make a Christmas list. Set up my sound equipment. Make a to do list. Any one of these things would be enough to silence the ghosts, at least for a while. But I don’t do it.

When I first typed the previous sentence, it was, “But I can’t do it”. I realized after I wrote it that it’s not accurate. In fact, that’s really where this problem stems from: I know I can do it. I just have to buckle down and force myself to do the thing. But I’m having a really hard time forcing myself to do anything.

Especially the writing stuff. As much as writing is something I enjoy, I also kind of resent it sometimes. It asks for so much. It wants my time, it wants my attention, it wants my effort, it wants my energy. So I pour all of those things into it like coins into a slot machine. I click “publish” or write “The End” and watch the wheels spin, hoping to see a row of cherries, but just as often getting a seven or the word, “bar”.

But, that’s kind of the way of creative endeavors, isn’t it? You pour yourself into something, hoping for the best. No jackpot is ever guaranteed. I’m curious though, for all of you creatives out there, what makes you come back to pull the lever? What inspires you to keep spending coins on your art? Love of the craft? Are you hoping for that big win? What makes you take out a second mortgage so you can keep playing the slots when your pockets go empty?



One response to “Ghosts and Slot Machines

  1. This: “Perform thy duty! Abandon all thought of the consequence.” -Krishna
    I write because I was put here to write. most of it sucks, but I put it out there all the same, trying my damnedest to not get caught up in what happens once its out there. I write because if I don’t, the world misses out.

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