I follow Shari Blaukopf’s blog. (It was a protected blog when I started following and because I’ve been following that long I don’t know if it’s public now or not.You might need to request a subscription.) Anyway… I found her recent comments fascinating — about who much pressure some artists feel when starting a new sketchbook — what do you put on the first page of that sketchbook? Shouldn’t there be something significant on that first page.
I thought about that a while. I wonder if my blog is a writer’s mental sketchbook. Any given day’s post isn’t a ‘finished’ thing, it’s a starting off point for the day’s thoughts and thinking. It’s a collection of ideas to pursue at other moments. It’s the punctuation at the end of a day.
I don’t know how many people lead the same double live that I live. There’s my life of thoughts, and a very different life of actions. Ever so much of life is routine and mundane — I quickly tire of that and discovered long ago that I don’t really need to be present for that stuff. Habit will carry a person through and while habit is working there’s time left to think!
It’s like I’m driving down the road and it’s a bumpy road. I can spend time thinking about the bumpy road or I get off the topic of the bumps and wonder how long it might be until they fix the road, or whether my shocks need replacing, or 1000 other things that take my mind off how bad the roads are. Or maybe I’ll think about what to make for supper — food’s a better thing to think about than bumpy roads, right?
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking.
It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
― Albert Einstein
That applies equally to our lives as to RV’ing. RV’ing can be both fun and a horror. RV’ing can set you free or enslave you. How much you insist upon forcing your RV lifestyle into the mold of your preconceived ideas will determine whether you enjoy full timing or whether you take a couple trips and end up selling your RV before it’s even broken in.
Of course there is the principal truth that there’s no right way to RV — and conversely there’s no wrong way to RV. Because we live our own lives what works for me might not work for you. I can say “You should buy the RV that you like” while someone else might say, “You should buy the RV that you can modify into what you want.” I don’t particularly want to spend weeks and months modifying 23 different aspects of my RV, but I know other RV’ers who need projects and they could never afford to buy the RV that had all the little bells and whistles they want — so for them the best best is to buy something less expensive and spend however long fixing it up until it’s what they want. And perhaps selling it then and buying another to start the process all over — except with the knowledge that doing it once has provided.
Everything starts with a thought. Sometimes everything stops with a thought too!
If you’re an RV’ing couple are you always agreed about what you want in your RV, or where you’re going to go in that RV, or how long you’re going to stay where you went? I doubt it. Peg and I are about the easiest going couple when it comes to making such decisions and even we have our moments when one wants one thing and the other wants something completely different. Working through those differences is also a very individual process. When I was still in ministry and counseling couples for whom I was officiating at their wedding I was always amazed at how completely unique the “peace” between them was. I never met two couples who had the same dynamic; I never met two couples who processed decisions the same way, or who processed conflict the same way — love is truly a unique phenomenon. About as unique as the Full Time RV lifestyle. 😳😳😳
But, back to my original thought…
Mental sketchbooks; I suspect we all have our own little mental tricks to remind us about things we’ve seen or places we’ve been or ideas we’ve had. For me this blog is part of that process. The day I wrote about our Brake Buddy being on the fritz one of my readers wrote privately to suggest that I was sending mixed signals, and perhaps not being completely honest about why I chose to hook the car and tow it anyway. I’m glad they brought the subject up and publicly I’m not going to explain in detail the circumstances but I did want to comment on one thing.
I do think it’s important for me to be honest about my writing. It would have been easy not to write about that experience at all, or not to have written about the compromise solution I ended up choosing. The thing is, that as any RV’er will tell you, the full time RV lifestyle is filled with best alternatives. We don’t/can’t always do or afford the optimum choice.
Maybe in my case that’s tempered by knowing a fellow high school classmate who married a person who labors over decisions and every decision has to be the absolute correct decision — that means that 10 or 20 years from now it has to have been the decision that they would not regret having made with more knowledge at a later time. If you use your imagination you can realize that living with that kind of burden — having to know everything perfectly so that you never make a bad choice — is a horrible burden, a debilitating burden to bear. And I guess that has helped me even more to look at a set of circumstances, to weigh them, and then to act without a lot of delay upon the best combination of options. And then forget about it. To move on. To let it go.
No matter what we ‘write’ in our mental sketchbooks it’s not going to be perfect. It’s a SKETCHBOOK not a completed art work. It’s a collection of ideas not a binding contract.
When I’m out in the field making images I know full well that the process of making the image I see in my brain before I click the shutter is not the image that I’m going to get when I look at the photograph. The image I see in my brain when I create the photo is but the first step in what I want to see on a piece of paper some time in the future. In the days of Ansel Adams half of any finished image was created in the darkroom. Sure, he labored over exposure and composition whilst in the field but he labored longer and harder in the darkroom dodging and burning the highlights and lowlights in each print until they were perfect. A sketchbook isn’t supposed to be perfect. Our mental notes on what we’re thinking aren’t supposed to be perfect. They are works in progress. They are tinkering with perspective and form, and perhaps the realization that this technique won’t ever work, or finding another technique that becomes one’s signature.
Mental Sketchbooks. I like that. I guess if someone were to ask me today why I blog — I think I would tell them that just as a sketchbook is a place for a graphic artist to play around with ideas, similarly, my blog is a place for me to play around with ideas. Some of them have to do with RV’ing; others have to do with life; sometimes I wander aimlessly without making a point, and occasionally I’m straight to the goal. But I always have fun. I’m always glad to share. And I always enjoy the interaction between readers and myself.
Thanks for stopping by, and let’s do this again tomorrow.