Creative Profanity

Musings of a Multi-Hyphenate…

Dabblers, Generalists, and Railroad Tracks

Today I came upon Sebastian Marshall’s remarkable post on Dabblers versus Generalists.

Head over and read it. I’ll wait.


Back? Good.

Some of you may know about Reverb 2010 – a series of web prompts to encourage reflection & everyday blogging. I’m not participating in Reverb 2010, mostly because I think the prompts this year have been uninspired, and it’s not exactly the best idea to ask me to reflect and write deep each day during the chaotic holiday season. That being said, the first Reverb prompt this year was a doozy: Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word.

Before I even knew about that prompt, I was thinking about how I would describe this year. At first I came to ‘Distraction.’ Because it’s been that sort of year. Every time I get started on something, something else gets in the way of it.

In general, I’m not content. My desk is littered with receipts and bank statements – I haven’t logged expenses or balanced my accounts in months. Started, but didn’t finish. I have the components of my new skydiving rig sitting on a chair in my living room. They’ve also been there for months. Waiting on me to actually plan a night to go over to my rigger’s and work with him to build it. So it’s in a state of limbo, also unfinished.

Come to think of it, I haven’t started one thing I can think of this year that I’ve finished.

But then I thought more, about Nick. And Emily. About things we said we would do, but never did. At Nick’s funeral, Betsey came up to me and said, “Next time we’ll do better about doing the things, instead of just saying we’ll do them.” Same goes for Emily. She encouraged me to get my AFF-Instructor rating from the moment she evaluated me on my coach rating. And when I did, I was unable to go out and make an AFF-I jump with her as my partner, because the DZ schedule was full. “We’ll get to it in the spring.” We were always talking about flying wingsuits together, and never did.

Life just got in the way.

So now I think about what I’ve put out there this year. About what I’ve accomplished. (Or what I haven’t accomplished).

And I think I need to change that word. ‘Distraction’ is close, but doesn’t really cut it. The word for the year is ‘Caesura.’

Caesura (Text)

2010 has been like a giant railroad tracks through the middle of my score. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. On the career front, the personal front, and the general Life front.

Let’s start with personal. Dating has been a series of missed connections this year. A total dry spell, if I’ve ever had one. And not through lack of trying. My game has just been off. (Truth be told, it’s really kind-of laughable, the train wrecks I’ve gotten myself into.)

Skydiving came to a screeching halt. I got my AFF-I rating, but that was really an afterthought. It wasn’t planned as a goal – it just happened, and I happened to be there at the time.

I got started flying head-down in the wind tunnel. And didn’t ever get competent enough to get off the net. Not committed enough? Perhaps. Definitely halted in mid-stride.

In 2010 I came up with an idea and built a product that won at Boulder Startup Weekend. Started it, then stopped. Moved onto a better idea that I didn’t finish. Because I put other things in the way – the job, the ‘other things on my list’. Had I started learning to code at the beginning of the summer, I could have build a prototype by now, all by my lonesome.


In 2011, I aim to change that. Haven’t settled on a word yet. Execution? Ship? Focus? Commitment? Not sure yet. But figuring it out.

I’m tired of saying I’m going to do something, only to move onto something else that seems more important at the moment…or simply taking the easy way out and watching an episode of Mad Men or going to grab a beer with friends instead of putting my head down and doing it. Not that grabbing a beer with friends isn’t important – god knows, I need to be more social, and create new memories instead of dwelling on old ones.

I’m reminded of being a kid, when I would rearrange my room once a month or so, just because I felt compelled to. I didn’t particularly enjoy doing it – I more enjoyed having it done. That’s the sensation I’m looking for. And I feel like it’s in sight. I just need to do a better job of planning, scheduling, then making things happen. Be it shooting an email to that business contact I met, cleaning up the explosion of paperwork sitting on my desk, painting my loft, selling off old business inventory, writing a blog…or something else.


All that being said, this obviously isn’t very congealed writing. More of a thought process, really. But it all started with Sebastian’s blog post. I’m growing weary of being a dabbler, with nothing to show for it. I need to find a way to insert into my life the discipline to choose something to do and stick with it for a bit. Then to get to a stopping point and leave it, ever mindful of the fact that Perfect is the enemy of Done.

That’s my epiphany of the day. Just thought I’d let you all (my mass of devoted readers) in on my process while I ironed it out. Dabblers aren’t even that interesting, because we don’t take the time to sit down and reflect on the big picture. We simply keep jumping from one thing to another, in a frenzy of ‘have to do that, and that, and that, too,’ only to come to the end of a year and look back and realize that by doing all of these things, we’ve effectively done nothing.

The quote by El Jobso is spot-on.

Real artists ship.

What It Is

That’s right. Here we are. Blogging. This is normally where the first post would go…if I had gotten around to it. Hopefully, we’ll take care of that sometime soon.

For now, sit back & groove out to our light show.