To be honest, I only chose that title because I’d rather seem overly grand than obvious by writing ‘I am inhaling.’ But, I wanted to take a moment to offer an update to the idea of inspiration that I’d mentioned before.

At the moment, I’m focusing hard on ‘inspiring,’ and it isn’t always easy, but that’s probably a good sign.

To summarize, the idea is this: inspiration comes from breathing in. It’s the idea that, before exhaling, creating something, producing something, you first inhale. As a would-be writer, I think it’s easy to say that this means reading widely, spending time with my characters and stories. Exhaling, then, is focusing again on writing, on revising, on releasing the creative energy I’m hopefully collecting in this time.

What does it mean to me as a father? as a runner? As a would-be guitarist? These are all the questions I posted at the end of the last post.

I still don’t know.

I do know that, spending time with the ideas of inhalation and exhalation, I’ve realized that two ideas present themselves. One is of naturally occurring cycles. After all, I don’t inhale in order to exhale (unless I’m blowing out a candle, I suppose), instead, they’re both part of respiration in general. The other is the idea of preparation and performance — here, we’re at the candle metaphor again — in which there are repeated phases of preparing and performing.

I intuit that both ideas will be helpful moving forward. At the moment, however, I think it helps me to ask myself: what is the ‘performance’ part of being a father? What is the ‘preparation’ part? The same can be said for running: without signing up for races, but still identifying as a runner, how are ‘performance’ and ‘preparation’ separated?

There aren’t easy answers I can write down. If you’ve read this far in the post, you’re not going to be learn anything reading on that you don’t know already. However, I think that, for me, it’s helpful for me to think of growth in all areas in these two ways. I could read more about running. I could get out the books on listening to kids that I bought with good intentions but never read. I could focus more on listening to my kids, try to get to better know them in order to do better in the ‘performance’ phase of my life that’s coming up.

It’s silly to write such things down, because I feel like any intelligent reader would say: shouldn’t you be doing that already? And I suppose that I should. I like to think that I do. But, like many things that I resolve to do, that I think of myself doing (memorizing poetry, remember that?), I put things off. Having this (possibly natural, possibly artificial) time limit on it — I have to read now, because I’ll be writing soon! — does help me get more done.

That’s what I’ve learned so far. I wrote in the beginning of this post that it isn’t always easy, but that that’s probably a good sign. And it’s not always easy, but having the idea that I’d like to finish this book before I re-focus on writing (which isn’t to say I’ll stop reading — or that I’ve completely stopped writing now) does get me reading a bit more. I’m more likely to take the book with me. I’m more likely to use my time when I would have otherwise sat and looked at Facebook.

Maybe this is a temporary effect. I don’t know. Probably. But, maybe I can make it permanent.

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