Sunday, December 17, 2006

I need a routine, and a God played by Bob Newhart

I need a schedule for my life so that I get more writing done.

It's easy to see correlations between exercise and writing. I get up in the morning, roll out of bed, slam down on the alarm, and shuffle off into the basement. I get on the treadmill, or the recumbent bike, I watch whatever TV on DVD's come from Netflix*, lift some weights, maybe, get sweaty. Then up here for breakfast. Shower. Motivate Lizzie. Out the door for both of us.

I should get up, roll out of bed, slam alarm, write. Then shuffle off into basement, etc.

At present, however, I get up at 5:45 to leave by 8:30. Slow in the mornings around here. No action is economical. If I added writing to the mix, I'd have to get up at 5:00. Or even 4:45.

Sounds like a big fat hairy excuse even as I type it. "If you really wanted to write," my mother says in my ear, sweetly, "then you'd make the sacrifice."

"And it wouldn't be a sacrifice," says another sweet voice in the brain. "Because you love it. Right? Isn't that right? You love writing."

I visited a therapist for a while during my last mid life crisis, at least until he decided to retire and move to Florida. I complained that I get caught up in life drama, in people being their own stupid petty selves, etcetera and so forth. Why don't I just write? the therapist wondered. Well, I said, that's just another huge stressor. Procrastination. Avoidance.

Therapist Man arched a Bob Newhart eyebrow, fiddled with his pad on his knee. "I thought that you'd love to write. All writers love to write."

Do we? If his innocent comment hadn't thrust me into an existential whirlpool leading to the hell of despair, I might've been able to muster the beginning of an answer.

Okay, so part of me does love to write. Otherwise, I wouldn't be doing this right now. Instead, I'd be getting dressed for church. Or watching TV. Or reading Oliver Twist.

But another part of me hates it. It freaks me out. There's too much riding on it? It's lonely? It's crushing? It points out all of my inadequacies? It makes me want to become an alcoholic? Words are never enough?

Shit. I have no idea why the act of writing is sometimes, lots of times, like praying to a God I'm not sure exists (or a God who, disgusted, abandoned the universe eons ago). There's something comforting in it. Addictive.

But it also seems silly, and totally pathetic. Like David Brent's frantic attention-getting antics around Tim's desk. What if God just arches an eyebrow at the camera, as if to say "Fuck this noise. I'm outta here," gets up from his desk and walks away?

Of course, I work out, and work out, even though I'm stuck with this body for good and all. Any changes are purely cosmetic, and fleeting. And yet, I continue.

*They're ignoring my list right now, skipping over Homocide and sending The Office. Can't really complain. I need comedy at the moment, especially comedy that deals with the petty ridiculosity (not a word but apt here) of human beings in the workplace. Watching Ricky Gervais, aka David Brent, contort himself like a psychotic clown makes me laugh on an existential level. I can trick myself into thinking that I don't work with such clowns. That we aren't all pathetic losers just under the skin.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"You have to go to considerable trouble to live differently from the way the world wants you to live. That’s what I’ve discovered about writing. The world doesn’t want you to do a damn thing. If you wait till you got time to write a novel or time to write a story or time to read the hundred thousands of books you should have already read--if you wait for the time, you’ll never do it. Cause there ain’t no time; world don’t want you to do that. World wants you to go to the zoo and eat cotton candy, preferably seven days a week."

--Harry Crews