Jan 14, 2011

Down the Dark Stairway

Maybe this post is a stretch or just a poor excuse to create a metaphor, I don't know. Maybe it's just an excuse to write something in this sad example of a blog that has seen posts few and far between. Maybe I just saw this picture, which has been sitting in my phone for a couple of months and it flicked a switch in my brain, somehow reminding me of all things that I've wanted to do and haven't; that I want to do but can't seem to get started.

I took this picture leaving a club on a cold, November night. I don't go out much so it was kind of a big deal for me. It must have been, I don't know, 11:30. (Whoa, party animal.) I looked down the dirty stairway that led directly to the street and it seemed a bit creepy. Narrow and dark, walls covered with posters and pictures; bent metal and matted carpet on the risers. There's nothing really special about the stairway, just an ordinary, if not a little too steep, set of stairs. But being the cell phone photog that I profess myself to be I was drawn to the view and just had to snap the pic.

That leads to today, the second week of 2011 and I happen upon this picture in my phone while sitting in front of the TV, wasting away another perfectly good night that could be spent doing something useful. It's like I'm stuck in my head, waiting at the top of the stairs, looking down, not exactly sure why I don't dare take those 20 or so steps down to the street below.

Will I trip on the first step and tumble down the narrow stairway, smacking my head on each step along the way? Will I get halfway and realize down those steps is not the direction I want to go? Or will I get to the street just to get caught in a torrential downpour, to get mugged or hit by a car, or simply not know which direction to turn?

That dark stairway taunts me daily. Some days I take a few steps down, look back at up to the top and retreat. There have been days when I've made it to the bottom step, only to smell the sour scent of rain and car exhaust waft through the doorway making me turn heel to the stench of failure and stale disappointment.

You'd think it would be easy enough to just go down those stairs and do what I need to do. Unfortunately, it's not. But maybe it is just that simple. Stop over thinking, take the stairs two at a time, burst out into the street and pick a direction, damn the consequences. No one ever got anywhere without taking that first step. But they also got nowhere from taking that first step and failing to take the next 19 after that, and the next 100 after that, and so on.

I really don't know what's going to happen down the stairway, if I make it down, if I make it through the door, if I get the chance to turn and walk away from the dark stairway, but I think I'd rather find out instead of waiting at the top, worried what will happen.

Metaphor, complete. Let's write some songs quit being an excuse creating procrastinator and get on with life.

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