things i’m amateur at

amateur

  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.

-jules

 

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.

-jules