things i’m amateur at


  1. person who engages in an activity or pursuit, such as an academic discipline, sport, artistic endeavour, for pleasure rather than financial gain;
  2. person who lacks significant experience or skill in a particular activity;
  3. person who admires an activity or has a certain love for it, without the pursuit of monetary compensation.

I am, or have been, an amateur at a number of things. I think you have too. When did we start to disinherit the amateur soul?

In my life, I have been an amateur at a number of things: photography, writing, investing, blogging, sewing, hydroponics, French language, ink painting.

All this means that I do these things in private. Most people have no idea I’ve done them, probably because they’re usually so short-lived. In keeping with the more tainted definition of amateurism, I can’t do any one of these pursuits with great skill, and have never made any money doing any of them.

The concept of 10 000 hours terrifies me.

When I begin one of my amateur episodes, I have great hopes, and for a short time, I am convinced that I’ll make any one of these pursuits into a career. Then, it gets hard – the hydroponic nutrient balance is off; my stocks start to hemorrhage; those French conjugations get too tricky.

My amateur’s soul, like yours, is infatuated with its lack of skill, its impatience to be better, now.  The amorous part of amateurism – the doing for the sake of doing – is lost on me. Without affection for what I do, I enter into a loveless enterprise that runs its rocky course, until one of us ends it.

I have decided that I need to be a more loving amateur. There’s no use in spurning one’s novice pursuits because of an expectation for them to be immediately excellent.

Always starting, never finishing, only ending.



those lost hours, when I was in the dark and disconnected, are recaptured, quickly, as I scroll through lives.

For years, I have lived the lives of others.

From the moment I wake, my body still under the spell of sleep, I reach for the glass through which I view others. My eyes are still cloudy from the sleep granules that tickle the corners. Rheum, as its more old-fashionedly known. I am in their world. It doesn’t take long. I consume the faces and bodies and words of the people I am not.

After eight uninterrupted hours, a crop of life stories has grown, and I am ready to reap. As I blink in the new morning, things play out the same. My hungry mind accommodates to the new things. My yearning cools, slowly, as I fill myself. Those lost hours, when I was in the dark and disconnected, are recaptured, quickly, as I scroll through lives.

These days, the people inside the looking glass can move, like the portraits and news photographs in Harry Potter. I notice that they always move so carelessly.

I am the farmer whose crop never never fails. It self-sustains and renews as I sleep. There is endless water. I know, and I know, and I look, and look.

And it is never enough.