How the Artist's Way Led Me to Buy a Pool Table
She Dreams of Shooting Pool
Life is weird. No really, it's super-weird. I started out the day much like any other day and somehow, at the end of it, I committed to buying a pool table. It will be delivered on Sunday.
But first, let me tell you a story.
I was 23 and on my own in San Jose, California. It was the early 90s and my ex and I were going through a contentious divorce in which we were sharing (and arguing) over custody of our daughter. I lived in this tiny little one bedroom apartment that had no air conditioning. Summers were miserable! For the first year, I walked and bussed everywhere. I didn't have the money for a car, and when I did, it was a car that was three years younger than me, a worn-out old 1973 VW bug that ran like crap.
I barely had two nickels to rub together, but one night, with my kiddo over at her dad's and me thinking I really needed to get out of the apartment, I walked into a bar in downtown San Jose called 'Toons. Live music, cartoons playing on the tv's up in the corners of the rooms, and...pool tables.
I hadn't played pool since I was a kid growing up in Flagstaff, Arizona. It took every bit of nerve I had to walk in, and even more to make friends, but I managed it. And I kept coming back, because pretty soon, 'Toons was the one place I could truly enjoy myself. Here I was in the middle of a horrible divorce, a miserable job that I hated (well actually I just disliked my co-workers, the job was fine), and to top it off, I was so damned poor. But I would shove a $5 bill in my pocket, head downtown and spend the evening playing pool and drinking a couple of $1 well drinks. Eventually, I made enough friends and got good enough at pool that going there meant playing for free all night, as I would hold the table in win after win playing doubles with the guys.
It was a long time ago. Nearly 30 years since I have been able to slip into short shorts and a tank top and own the night. It kept me going, though, a spot of happiness in what was otherwise a rather difficult time, and it has been something I missed dreadfully since I left San Jose. I never found anything quite like it here, though, truth be told, I didn't look too hard. I was a full-time single mom and then a wife, and a mother again.
And I have to wonder if it isn't so much the pool table as the memory of slinking around it, eyeing my next shot, spending my evenings with others who enjoyed the game just as much as I did. Who knows...but the memories are bittersweet...kind of like a fine bar of chocolate.
This pool table, it isn't super-fancy. Not like the antique, competition-length table my stepdad owned in the 80s, the one I learned to play on. It's simple. A 6.5' gently used Wal-Mart brand table. Nevertheless, I am ridiculously excited about it.
Goodbye, Art Room. Hello, pool hall!
Don't worry about the death of art, we plan on moving the Art Room to either the second floor or the attic.
I didn't wake up wanting a pool table. Well, technically speaking, I've wanted a pool table of my own for something close to 30 years, but I didn't wake up actively thinking of it this morning.
Instead, as I began working through the exercises for Week 2 of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, I got to the 3rd and 4th exercises. Exercise #3 instructed me to make a list of 20 things that I like to do. Writing 20 things that I liked to do was actually kind of hard. Mainly because, at age 50, I’ve learned to like to do things that I have to do, and it is difficult to delineate between things I like to do and things that I can enjoy doing because they need doing. Dusting my house is a good example of this. I have learned to appreciate the look of clean, dust-free furniture (not enough to do it regularly though, just when it gets bad, LOL), and nearly made it on the list of 20 Things I Like to Do! And as you may have guessed, shooting pool was on the list. I also followed the edict to list a date next to each of the items, indicating when I had last enjoyed the activity. In the case of shooting pool it had been at least two years!
As I moved onto Exercise #4, I was instructed to choose from my list of 20 things and choose at least two to do this week. As my eyes fell to "shooting pool" I wondered if pool halls were even open at this point and did I really want to have to wear a mask and deal with hand sanitizer and all the other miserable addendums it takes to going out in public these days and my inner voice just went and said it..."Why don't you ask for a pool table for Christmas?"
And the next thing I knew I had Facebook Marketplace open and I was sifting through the listings. And of course, you can guess at what that sweet inner voice said next..."Why wait for Christmas?"
And the lady I reached out to told me her husband was willing to deliver it for $40. Brand new it would have cost me $750 on Walmart.com, but on Sunday it will cost me $360 (which includes the delivery fee). Which gives me just enough time to clear the room of a metric shit ton of crafts and Airstream Airbnb supplies.
I've wanted this for 30 years. And I'm finally getting it. I can't tell you how excited I am!
And really, the point of this whole post is to say - if you have dreams that you are deferring, ones that you are waiting on, even if they seem silly to others, GO...FOR...THEM.
You can wait your whole life for the right moment or you can make that moment the right one, right now.
p.s. I used to be pretty good at shooting pool. Here's hoping I can get back to that again!
The Creative Process
I haven't really wanted to talk about it until now, but I've been struggling. Ever since we brought the Little Prince home from the hospital three months ago, and I wrapped up my cleaning biz, I've been struggling with my writing.
This is frustrating when you consider that I then cleared my schedule even further by sending the sweet little boy to daycare during the week once he was 11 weeks old.
Here I have been with hours of writing time on my hands, and I have continued to allow myself to be derailed by other things. And there will always be other things when you have kids, and a house, and an Airbnb to run.
I picked up a book I've had and never used - Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way - and decided to try to give it a real shot. I made one change - I decided to type, rather than longhand write, the Morning Pages. These are supposed to be three, handwritten pages on 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Honestly, though, my hand was cramping severely with just one page, three was impossible and ridiculously painful, so I decided to just type it up in my word processor. It's worked out quite nicely.
After one week of of twelve-week program, I am beginning to see progress and have great hopes it will continue. On Wednesday, I wrote nearly 2,000 words in "Take the Shot" - a short story that is part of War's End: Tales of the Collapse. It isn't finished, but it was a great burst of creativity.
Here's to it continuing in the days and weeks to come!