What "I do" to earn a living is copyedit college-level computer science texts. A new graphic design suite, the new version of Office, or of Windows itself -- the textbooks that teach these things to students, I make sure the words are right.
It's good work, and often interesting, though I've been at it for years. It's nice to be a fly on the wall, to get a sneak-peek at new software, to learn a little bit better how my own computer works.
But I am not a copyeditor. If someone asks me "What do you do?" the answer won't get them much closer to who I am.
Which is why the past few months of The Flotsam Diaries have been so eye-opening. Because I'm finding, this is who I am. Wherever I wander, I see bits & bobs lying in the gutter or the side of the road or a sand dune. Today our family visited a few state parks in Mid-Coast Maine. I couldn't leave Reid State Park without collecting all the jagged pieces of someone's water gun lying near our beach towel.
Friends and family now always ask what I've found, what the most interesting piece was, something Flotsam Diaries-related. I'm awful at answering; whatever eloquence (or even basic literacy) I muster on the page evaporates when I open my mouth. But I'm working on it.
Like I've mentioned, I'm an archaeologist at heart. It's my first love. And a surprising lot of the Flotsam Diaries is still the archaeologist that courses through me. Archaeology is the study of the physical remains of human activity. Well, what else is flotsam?
But it's funny how life happens. How it pulls you.
When I first held my little newborn girl now almost 3 1/2 years ago, I was just a scared guy with a kid. Now I'm a dad. I don't know how or when it happened -- it just did. In the same way, when I picked up my first bag of flotsam at Ocean Park in March this year, I was just a guy with a trash bag. Now I'm a Flotsam Diarist. I still have no idea what that actually means in the long-run. But I know that I'm viewing the world now in a completely different way than I once did.
And I like it.