9:05 AM – Sit down to write. Open new Word document. Look at blank page. Go check email. Check blog. Check Facebook.
10:05 AM – Realize hour has passed. Close Facebook. Return to blank document. Write for several minutes about not writing. Decide to check blog stats. Go like stuff on Facebook. Eat a bowl of cereal. Go back to blog. Fiddle with blog themes. Visit other blogs. Like some stuff. Write a few comments. Check email.
10:20 – Glance at kitchen. See I have not cleaned up kitchen after breakfast. Also have not started fire, swept floor , vacuumed rugs or pulled stew meat from freezer. No laundry started.
10:25 – Return to document and write for several minutes about not writing. Go back to Facebook. Read about bad house designs. Look at pictures of bad house designs. Check email again. Check Netflix queue. Realize feet and hands are cold because no fire started. Add movie to Netflix queue. Think about how long stew meat will need to thaw.
10: 30 – Congratulate myself for writing more than ten minutes. Think about posting “essay” on blog. Think how funny it would be if liked. Ha ha and at all that. How ironic. Writing about not writing. Think about writing about how hard it is to be lazy. How difficult true procrastination is, what a fine art it can be. Think about how modern life has opened the doorway to ultimate procrastination, extreme procrastination like all those other extreme sports. Google procrastination to see if anyone has ever called it an extreme sport before. Sure enough.
10:35 – Son’s favorite new word is ironic. Mom, he might say, wouldn’t it be ironic if I injured myself playing flag football because of course we don’t let him play tackle football due to the chance of injury, concussions and all that. Or he might say mom isn’t it ironic that we got that kindle to read books on and I still haven’t read a book on it yet?
10:40 – Telephone rings. Library. Overdue items. Been busy, I tell phone. Like yesterday, drove three hours for three hour meeting and then back three hours. Think about the Christmas shop stop. I try on a lot of clothes and some boots then buy a bunch of spices instead. Remember I got one present. At the sports shop. Recall the boy in the sports shop asking if I was excited for Christmas. Do I lie, I wondered? Be ironic, sardonic or witty? Just say I love Christmas?
10:45 – Look at me! Still writing about not writing! I have two essays I’m working on, both of which bore me to tears. I open them up and look. Do a spell check on one. Stare at the other as if I’m doing something. Resist deleting. Think about all the pretty pictures on the internet.
10:50 – Look at pictures on the internet. Christine Brinkley in a bikini! At age 61! As if its news. Try not to be annoyed. Ask the dog how Christine Brinkley can look better than me? I’m younger! Think about taking dog on walk. Think about stew meat still in the freezer.
10:54 – Think about yesterday’s drive and news. Probably would not have heard news stories if I had been home pretending to write. Recall story of Yeb Sano, former climate change conference delegate from the Philippines, turned activist, walking to Paris from Warsaw, from the site of one climate conference to another.
10: 55 – Google walk for climate change. Pilgrimage really. Recall clips of Sano speech in 2013, “If not us then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?” I know those words. JFK speech? I Google it. Not Kennedy but Hillel the Elder, of Jewish descent. The ethic of reciprocity – the golden rule and all that. Way back in Babylonia. Hillel’s words started showing up in american political speeches in 1960’s. Ironic, my son would say , since he just did a big project on Babylonians. Empathy is what Mr. Hillel is talking about, brotherly love, do onto others.
10:57 – Sano wept at the Warsaw summit. Typhoon Haiyan, the largest Typhoon in recorded history, having just devastated his country. Sano wasn’t allowed at the next climate conference.
11:00 – Sano’s brother is interviewed too as he walks to Paris. He recalls his changed plans before Typhoon Haiyan made landfall, how he didn’t stay with his best friend and his friend’s family. How they all perish. After the typhoon, Sano’s brother helps collect bodies.
11:05 – Remember other news story from yesterday. Syrians and Prince Edward Island. Google Prince Edward Island and refugees. Find Prince Edward Island Association for Newcomers to Canada (or PEI), sponsors of Syrian refugee resettlement on Prince Edward Island. They want to help. People tell them no – they are too rural – too isolated – but they persist anyways.
11:10 – Remember story of surfers, the ones that disappear near Guadalajara, their burned van and charred bodies having just been found after missing for some time . Google surfers in Mexico. Find interview of friend of surfers. The reporter is gentle. A grim image she says. Yes, hard to get out of one’s mind, the friend says. I want to know this could never happen to me, to us. I want to think the surfers took a foolish risk, did something we would never do. The reporter asks tentatively, kindly enough, did they know this highway was known for hijacks and robberies, known for drug trafficking and gang violence?
11:14 – Go to Google Earth and look at place we’re visiting spring break. Mexico. You’ll love Mexico, I said to my husband. Safe. Search area on Google Earth. Search the sea and beach, the deserted jungle areas nearby, as if I can spot danger.
11:16 – Google irony. Check synonyms. Satire, biting wit, paradox “Incongruity between what is supposed to happen and what really happens esp. when this disparity seems laughable”. What about when it’s not laughable? What is that? And paradox. What’s that? Things that seemingly contradict. Absurdity? None of yesterday’s news seems ironic.
11:20 – Put a title at the top of the page. Might make it seem like writing? Will be in a rush soon to make stew, take dog for a walk, get to the kid’s basketball game, return the overdue library items, go to meeting.
11:23 – Conclusion needed? Can I have a conclusion yet ? Is there always a conclusion? ” Our wills and fate do so contrary run ” maybe? That’s how Shakespeare said it anyways. When humorous its irony. That’s what I say to the young boy in the sport shop. Well not exactly, something more about Christmas, so much expectation and then? We both laugh; we know the disappointments, those odd expectations, what we thought was going to happen and what really does. We agree the food is good; teacakes and sugar cookies and peppermint. I say Merry Christmas. He smiles and waves goodbye. Your son will love those socks, he says.
11:27 – Disparity. Sometimes there is no humor in it. Only tears and sorrow. Irony is a more fashionable way of coping though. Sarcasm. Snarky and snide, critical, as if one could see those twists coming, as if some kind of wisdom was owned about the workings of fate and chance and coincidence. What if irony and sarcasm are the few things that makes living bearable? Humor.
11:33 – Well we all cope somehow. Maybe I should go back to writing about childhood, about marshmallows and campfires and nostalgia. What kind of world did I think I was bringing my son into anyways? Remember the excitement? So many beautiful places to go, things to learn, fun to be had. We peruse atlases and Google Earth. Is this irony? What are we humans? Who would kill the surfers and burn them? Why pollution? Why war and exile and suffering? Why school and mall and movie theater shootings?
11:40 – Won’t tell my son about the surfers. About the marchers’ maybe, the climate change pilgrims. Maybe the Prince Edward Islanders, rural like us, I’ll say. Why not us? I’ll say. Or not. It will be late and we’ll be tired. It will be enough to watch the basketball game, go to a meeting, eat dinner and do homework and go to sleep. Feed the dog. Clean the kitchen. Chop wood. Make a fire.
11:45 – Will imagine the surfers and their van for some time. Will imagine the moment of knowing, the moment they realize they’re leaving this world forever . How they must have loved this place, its beaches and waves and quiet coves. All the exploring and discovering. Imagine the parents, the girlfriend, the friends – their sorrow.
11:47 – Imagine retrieving bodies day after day. Imagine Sano weeping in Warsaw. Imagine refugees in their new homes. Imagine the good people of Prince Edward Island in their meetings, asking each other what they can do, how it is they might be able to help. Imagine the climate summit pilgrims in a late November rain. Imagine twilight and owls as they near a place to rest. Imagine Hillel so long ago. Love of peace. Love of man. Love of earth.
11:55 –Pull stew meat from the freezer. Like some stuff on Facebook. Fiddle around on blog. Eat lunch. Take the dog for a walk.
1:30 PM – Go to kid’s basketball game. Go to library. Go to meeting.
6:30 – Return home. Stew meat thawed. Feed cat. Feed Dog. Make sandwiches for dinner. Help kid with homework. Husband chops wood, makes fire, cleans kitchen.
9:00 – Tell husband about surfers, about Sano, about Prince Edward Island .
9:30 – Bedtime. Sleep? Dreams maybe? Ah there’s the rub, isn’t it? To wake again and start anew another day, with this same madness and continuance of deeds. If we are to be, how is it we should be? How to continue? Can we will ourselves a better outcome?Do we love it here? Wildly and dearly?
11 Comments Add yours
This just about sums it up. Have you ever read Scott Carrier’s “Running After Antelope”? A friend tells me Carrier is too dark for her, but for me, I think he’s about right.
I haven’t read Scott Carrier. I will look him up! (I found one of his books at the library – looking forward to reading it – thanks ! )
This is an excellent description of how our mornings escape us, how our minds go on tangents, how our brains mix bits and pieces of what we see and read and return them to us, how our efforts to distract ourselves surface events of concern that then shadow our days, and, whatever stew meat is waiting for our attention remains unattended. And I thought I was the only one.
We did finally have the stew! Hopefully not too many of my mornings go like this. I have to learn to not look at anything or get distracted by all the daily living stuff until after I write. Just sit down and write and ignore everything else.
I am sure most of us have some version of this. One thing I really appreciate about your writing is how honest you are with that vague sense of angst that runs through life in this “modern” world. Reading you makes me realize that I have it too, but I tend to push it aside. Listening to the news pisses me off so I don’t listen to it. Facebook pisses me off so I don’t look at it. Maybe ignorance is bliss? I’ve always felt that cynicism is a cop-out, a way to deflect the real pain of witnessing unbearable suffering and change. But on the other hand, I couldn’t do my day job without the private dark humor and sarcastic mockery. Underneath all that is same wondering and questioning that you end your piece with. How to live in this world? Do we love it here? Where do these questions lead us?
Write first. The dishes, the laundry, the snow in the driveway can wait. Doing creative work at home is hard, but there you go. Just write.
Yeah I can only listen to the news for so long before I get upset and have to turn it off and my New Year’s goal is to not look at Facebook so much. I agree I couldn’t go on without humor and sarcasm – I love finding the absurd and ironic but I fear using it too much and hiding behind it. Thanks for the encouragement ! Its hard to overcome guilt for spending time doing creative stuff when there is so much else that supposedly needs to be done. You too – paint and write ! and let the other stuff wait!
True! Same for me.
This made me laugh. Oh, the scourge of writer’s procrastination.
oh I’m glad it made you laugh ! Sometimes I think how much more i’d get done if it wasn’t for the internet – but of course i’d just find other ways to procrastinate.
Seems that I have some of the same problems you do. At times, I sit down here to write in WP, but get distracted by something else that I think of. Many times, I just have nothing really to write about. I forget what I did write about, so I may have double posted about the same thing. If I do, I hope my followers will tell me. Cheers!
I still get very distracted and my resolution this year was to once again to change my writing habits so I stay off line more but alas it has been hit and miss. I go back and forth between feeling like I have nothing to say and then I have too much to say and not nearly enough time. Thanks for stopping by!