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Staying Humble

Here’s a topic I’d like to write about, but there’s almost no way to put it in words without sounding like a hipster douchebag.  So let’s go for it.

I think having a shitty house might be good for me.

Something I worry about with my work is that I might lose touch with the day-to-day realities of life.  In a best-case scenario, I’ll be lucky enough to make tons of money one day and I’ll end up becoming isolated from the subject matter I want to write about.  Or, more realistically, I might just keep doing the same things over and over again and become complacent with a life that’s overall pretty sweet, taking for granted the conveniences of my world.

I naturally gravitate toward conflict in order to find inspiration for my work, no matter how mundane or shallow.  So if I ever am complacent, I fear that rather than writing stories about men and women who suffer poverty and death, I'll start writing stories about men and women who can't find the right wall color for their living room.

Fortunately, my house is just shitty enough that it's hard for me to completely forget what real problems look like.  Let me give you an example.

I've written in the past that our laundry room is a pile of garbage.  Nothing has really changed since that last post - the laundry room is still uninsulated and falling apart.  If anything, it's gotten worse, as there's now a dent in the floor where the last pipe leak has eaten way at the floor boards. Because the room is cold and gross, it is virtually impossible right now to winter-proof it - which means that anytime the weather drops below freezing for more than 12 consecutive hours, our washing machine ices over and cannot be used.

This is the only corner that looks presentable enough for the Internet.
Most of the time, this is just a minor inconvenience.  It means I have to plan ahead and pay a little more attention than I'd like to the weather, but other than that, life goes on.  Once in awhile, though, I run into something that is a legitimate hardship. For example: running out of clean blankets for our baby.

"How is that possible?" I ask myself.  "I may not be rich, but I'm hardly poor, and I live in a fairly large city in a first world nation.  How is it that I'm now reduced to wrapping my baby in bath towels to keep her warm for a night?"

And that's all I really need to remind myself that there's literally billions of people on this planet who would kill to swap places with me - because not only do these people also not have access to washing machines, not only do they also not have access to clean blankets, but they also do not have access to clean bath towels and they've got more than one kid.

It's good to come back to the ground every once in awhile and realize how vulnerable life is.  I know that probably sounds snotty coming from somebody with so much privilege, but I can't help it.

The question, then, is what would I do if I ever actually do make money from my books?  Am I going to fix my laundry room or will I purposefully keep it crappy to remind myself that I live in a bubble?