Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My apple cores, my snot tissues

"I've been here now for some days, groping my way along, trying to realize my vision here. I started concentrating so hard on my vision that I lost sight. I've come to find out that it's not the vision, it's not the vision at all. It's the groping. It's the groping, it's the yearning, it's the moving forward." --Chris Stevens, from the Northern Exposure episode "Burning Down the House."

I know it is wrong, but sometimes I'm so damn relieved that I feel no real need to hold myself accountable to my own goals. Before you think me lazy (as true as that might be, I am loathe to be perceived as such) hear me out. It isn't that I don't see things through...well important things...well consequential things anyway. It is just that I silently (or quietly) make these demands of my future time and effort, particularly when it comes to writing and I rarely fulfill any of them. Here's a classic "me" example: last Friday, after getting out of work early, at the same time as I have done every Friday for the last six years, I actually wrote quite a bit. I came close to finishing something I started which is quite notable for me. Pathetic? Sure. But I had promised myself a cocktail in reward and I was going to write like an alcoholic so I could earn it. (It was a kiwi caiprinha in case you care and it really was worth every keystroke).

And while it was happening, I tried not to think ahead or say or think anything that might interrupt the flow but I'd be lying if I wasn't boosted by my usual notion of "I can do this EVERY Friday! Fuck I can do this EVERY DAY!" I had a breakthrough about a future breakthrough, it is my M.O. I get so ahead of myself but I do it in such a quiet, no one knows kind of way that there is no one to talk me down from the ledge. And while that is good for my ego later on when I fail to do what I spontaneously plan, it is really terrible because I have no one to talk me down from the ledge. I can usually be stopped from doing something stupid with even subtle cues from someone else, a glance askance, a distinct clearing of a throat, for example. But the dumb thoughts, the silent goals...they no a stop.

And,when I find myself still in my pajamas, playing a video game on my phone or watching the umpteenth marathon of the umpteenth show (even if it's bad) on one of a million websites, I usually think of this one janitor that works at my full time job. He's been working there, doing that job for as long as anyone can remember. And his job is to clean and do general maintenance, both things at which he fails spectacularly. To wit: everyone in my office has caught him vacuuming in the dark. There have been reports of him eating food from the garbage and I have seen him take the garbage from the pail in my office with his bare hands. He touches it all, my apple cores, my snot tissues. (When asked about that in particular, why he never wears gloves when handling garbage, he responded that he has a strong immune system. I can only assume he also has the ability to ignore everything disgusting about everything he does in life.) He's famous for showing up right smack in the middle of parties we have in the office and parking his huge garbage pail and accouterments right in the center of the room where everyone is gathered, chatting. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Anyway, periodically he'll talk about how he's going to get his doctorate. He's never been to school past high school but he's routinely said he's not even going to bother with community college...he's just going to go all the way right away. He's never clear about what course of study he'll pursue but he's going to do it, any day now. Someone in my office once found out that he ran for mayor of NYC one year and even found proof on video that he had officially announced his candidacy. That guy. I feel like that guy on days like today. Instead of organizing my thoughts and finishing one single thing, I'm vacuuming in the dark, sucking up all the little bits of I don't know what to store in the bag with the rest of dirt, dirt I'll sift through later with my bare hands, avoiding the extra work, ignoring the disgust. And that will exhaust me and whittle what's left of my own confidence that I can write anything at all, that I'll just skip right to the caiprinha without earning it. Until I get bored of living without vision or chronicles to remember it all by and the cycle starts over again.

Sigh. Nothing to see here. Just some more of my neurosis, getting out the front door before I can close it.

And then I take to the blog to write about how I can't write. I write to distract myself from the fact that I'm not writing. But really, that's all I feel able to write about: not being able to write. Groping through the brambles, looking for a vision. And along the way I make these dramatic proclamations (to myself), hoping that if I do that, it will stick. It will take. As of this writing, it's all still apple cores and snot tissues.

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