It seems an all too common preface for my blogs here, "It's been a while since the last post," but that makes it no less true. Nor does it reflect any lack of progress on any number of creative, professional and personal fronts. But as well you know by now, I post when I can and when I feel the need to. And lately that need has been overwhelming.
Doors are opening once more all over the country, even if they never really closed all that much here in Florida. Jen and I got vaccinated back in April and took our first real trip since the pandemic began (I'll have more to say about it in another post). I've been writing business proposals again after being "put on the bench" for almost a year. I'm still writing resumes too. I'm still getting "Secret Tampa Bay: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure" on more bookstore shelves. And I am very nearly finished with my second book, "TB Scavenger." The volume and intensity on all fronts has been rapidly mounting.
I've lost over 20 pounds now since January - more than halfway towards my goal, which would put me at the same weight I had in college. Every five pounds the resistance I get from my own body seems to increase - progress comes more slowly or plateaus completely and seems to take more energy to maintain and keep moving forward.
It's that gravitational pull of what's comfortable. What's known. In some ways, the same invisible force that I've felt before launching a business venture. It's hard to achieve escape velocity, but I've done it before and I'm doing it again now.
But it's different this time around. Slower going. TB Scavenger is proving more complex to write than I could have imagined. 360 riddles related to various points throughout the greater Tampa Bay area. Yet even as I try to get pictures of each one, every week they change - an old building is knocked down, a storefront with over 100 years of history hangs a "closed" sign in the window for the last time, and so on and so forth. So I've got to keep writing faster than the world is changing. And the world is changing faster, it seems, than ever before.
This week marked six years now since the death of my friend Steve, which essentially launched me off on this new path. Maybe his last and most powerful gift to me. And he's still with me as the path branches further and further off from what was known to me before. The metaphorical highway became a local road, then a dirt path, and now seems to be heading in dense jungle.
So that's where I've been lately, hacking a new path into the unknown. Learning, as I do so, the very same lessons the Spaniards learned when they first explored the very same land I am reexploring now; and the reason they sent scribes along with the conquistadors to record their deeds and discoveries:
It's hard to take notes while marching through the uncharted wilderness wielding a machete.