2003 Road Trip Diary: Epilogue and Forward Ho

I went back to work a week after getting back off the road. While I’d like to say that I grew as a person as a result of my experiences, the truth is that I still look out the window and daydream too much. I’ve been at this job for five years now – nearing ten years as a lawyer overall – and while I am far less prone to existential angst these days, most of the time I feel like I would be happier doing other things. I think most lawyers feel that way, honestly, and the ones that don’t aren’t the sort of people you really want to talk to.

But things are better. Until my road trip, I struggled to simply get through the day most of the time. Now I have something to get me through when the going gets tough. Two somethings, actually:

Anna was born on December 15, 2003. Carlo followed on July 19, 2005. They and their mother are the best things that have or ever will happen to me. When they’re old enough I’m going to take them out west and show them how a big sky and all the time in the world to ponder it makes life’s problems feel pretty small. Until then, we’re just going to have fun.

The other thing that keeps me sane is writing. I sort of lost momentum at my new firm last year. ShysterBall saved me. Now, no matter how bleak things get at the office, I have something to look forward to every day. It’s hacky to quote Whitman about this, but I’ll do it anyway because it’s true: “It’s our game – the American game. It will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair these losses, and be a blessing to us.” Maybe it’s not as much the American game now as it was in Whitman’s time, but it’s still true for me.

But it’s not just baseball, it’s writing about it. Actually, as I’ve found over the past month or two in this space, it’s writing about anything. Everything. Writing is the one thing I do better than almost anyone in the law and is probably my only distinct talent in life at large. I wanted to be a writer when I was a kid, but I suppressed that, because I didn’t know any writers and didn’t really think it was a job that real people actually did. Writers, I assumed, lived on other planets with rock stars, athletes and cowboys. You couldn’t just become one. You had to be one already.

I know that’s not true now. Sure, it’s still a pretty tough trick to make a living at it. I’m not even close to that yet, but it probably doesn’t matter. I’ve been paid for a handful of writings in the past year, but the fact of payment added exactly nothing to the experience for me. For me it’s all about getting an idea, transferring it from my head to the screen, and working to polish and complete it. Making a living at this would be wonderful, but I get the same sense of accomplishment writing one of these installments for an audience of 50 as I do writing a book review for the New York Post that will be seen by half a million.

And really, that’s what this space is for: writing for the hell of it. I have some odd autobiographical things I’ve always wanted to write down, so you’ll see some of those going forward. I’m going to do my best to keep this from becoming an excessively bloggy space, but I might put down the random news-inspired thought here from time to time as well. I’m going to do my best to put something new up once a week or so, but don’t hold me to it. If there hasn’t been anything new in a while, click over to ShysterBall to make sure I’m still alive. If I am, come back later. There will be something new eventually.

I hope you enjoyed reading the story of my little trip as much as I enjoyed writing it. For those of you whose minds are still on the road, the pics from the trip can be found here.

Craig Calcaterra

Craig is the author of the daily baseball (and other things) newsletter, Cup of Coffee. He writes about other things at Craigcalcaterra.com. He lives in New Albany, Ohio with his wife, two kids, and many cats.

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