Terrance Heath

Running Out of Air

Filed By Terrance Heath | September 18, 2010 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: running out of air, writer's block

I feel sometimes like I’m running out of air: blogging. Looking at my output over the last few weeks, it would seem like I’m running out of stuff to write about. (And look at my blog statistics, and the over all trend, I may be running out of readers.)

The truth is, I’m not. I’ve got the opposite of writer’s block; a flood of ideas.

I just keep running out of time -- it’s always time to do something else, or go somewhere else. Either that or I read something that sparks an idea, but by the time I get to write about it it’s old news.

Or, I just have more ideas than I have time to write about. Or, by the time I do have time to write -- late at night when everything else has been done and everyone else has gone to bed -- I’m too physically and mentally exhausted. (And I can’t get by on 4 hours of sleep, like I used to do in my 20′s.) I barely had time to write this, and it’s shorter than any of the other stuff I’m working on.

I do have a couple of posts in the works. But they probably won’t see the light of day before Monday. There are a couple of stories in the news that probably aren’t news by now, like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell being ruled unconstitutional, and Maryland’s governor suggesting he would sign a marriage equality bill. (Am I even a “gay blogger” anymore? Honestly, most of my blogging is work-related, so I don’t write much about LGBT issues anymore.) But I’ve linked to them here. Beyond that, I don’t know when I’ll get to write about them, or if I’ll have anything to say that hasn’t been said when I do.

I’ve been here before, and I suppose I’ll be here again. I’m not the first forty-something, working parent to have difficulty balancing work, family, and personal happiness. Not the only one, and not the last one either.

Bottom line: I’m a writer, and always have been. Whether I’m a good,  mediocre one, or terrible writer, that’s what I’ll always be. It’s something I need to do, for reasons I can’t (ironically enough) put into words, just like I need to breath air.

I just wish I cold take more than the occasional breath.

Last month, we spend a week at a nearby beach town, as a family vacation. We took the kids to the beach every day that the weather was nice.

leaping_dolphinsOn the first day, and every day thereafter, we were treated to a dolphin sighting. Someone pointed them out to me, and I pointed them out to the boys. They were so far away that the looked like shadows against the sun. Yet,when we looked out at the water, we could just see their backs and their dorsal fins when they came up for air. There was a whole school of them on the move.

I couldn’t help noting how often then needed to come up for air. When Parker asked why they did that, I explained to him that even though they live in the water, Dolphins are mammals, and need to breath air just like do. So, they come up to the surface, take a breath through their blowholes, and then go back under. When they run out of air, they have to surface again.

Every day, we saw the dolphins. And every day, they came a little close to the shore. They were no longer shadows after a few days, and seemed a bit more real as they swam closer to shore, and we could see the color of their skin and some of their other features.

Of course, we never saw even one of them in its entirely, because they never surfaced completely. They popped up just long enough to get the air they needed to keep going.

And they did keep going. On the our last day at the beach, we didn’t see any dolphins. They kept moving on to wherever they were going.

But they’ve stayed on my mind since then. Lately, when it comes to writing, I kind of relate to them. Being a writer who doesn’t make a living writing is kind of like being an ocean mammal. We need to come up for air in order to live. So, we come up for air, surfacing just long enough to take a breath, but never fully surfacing -- because we have to keep going.

Maybe that’s a bit over the top. But frankly, I’ve been envying those dolphins lately. I wish I could come up for air as often as they do.


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Wonderful post Terrance. I am always very happy to see dolphins when I am on a boat. They loves to ride the bow wave for a while then the skitter off in pursuit of other pleasures.