Friday, December 14, 2012

The Perversity of Life

So after a week and a half, I’m returning to my blog.  Amazingly, during that whole time, I’ve had my topic in my head, but life just got so busy that I couldn’t find the time (or energy, which is more key) to create the post I envisioned.

But now it’s Friday and I’m here, listening to random Spanish songs and relaxing from the work week, and a sense of duty to my poor neglected blog is calling me.  And what I want to talk about tonight is irony. 

My golden days usually feature Mediterranean sunsets!
We humans are perverse creatures.  When we’re running around with our hair on fire (like Blackbeard, perhaps), forced by duty to put aside our personal hobbies and plans, we dream of the golden days of the future.  Then we’ll have escaped the business and in perfect leisure we’ll pursue our dreams

And yet, when we do reach those purported golden days, how often do we find ourselves lying on the couch watching TV, while we studiously ignore whatever plan we had idealized in our head.  If that’s not situational irony, I don’t know what is! 

I had just that experience at the beginning of this past November, when I had a week off school.  I did manage to edit about ten pages, but I’d had glorious fantasies of working through two whole chapters of my novels.  HAH!  Granted, I had a bit of an excuse because my whole vacation was thrown off kilter by the cancellation of my trip to New York, but still…I definitely let the laziness creep in. 

Interestingly, in the past two weeks, while I’ve been slogging my way through endless grading and averaging and filling out of report cards, I’ve actually squashed in about 15 pages of editing.  I guess this means that when we’re in the mode to work, it carries over into all aspects of life. 

Anyway, to increase the irony of the whole situation, in the midst of my business editing has become this shining beacon of all my desires (no matter that when I’m not busy I’d rather do almost anything else!).  That probably contributed to the fact that I managed to get quite a bit done recently - resentment over life keeping me from doing what I wanted prodded me to make some progress no matter what! 

A complacent face!
Now this could be just a sort of ‘ha-ha’ story about the silliness of people and me in particular.   However, I think I’ve also learned something.

See, if I were complacent, I’d just say to myself, ‘Huh, how funny,’ and then go on with life.  During my Christmas vacation, I’d let myself get distracted and remember how many other things besides editing I could be doing.  And actually, what with Christmas baking and wrapping and all, I will still be busy for a while!

On the other hand, if I’m smart, I’ll learn my lesson.  See, I think that artists – and even people in general – are benefitted by self-reflection.  We notice our little quirks when we take the time to look at ourselves, and instead of just carrying on blithely in a non-productive path, we suddenly have the opportunity to seek a healthy change. 

These aren't even the reddest pages of my editing!
So what did I learn?  Well, basically two things.  A) I’m actually more likely to do some editing if I feel like it’s a reward after a busy day.  B) I have a tendency to get too lazy during vacations.  My resolutions, therefore, can be to not let myself get too passive this Christmas, and to plan out my time so that I end up with free hours here and there.  Then I can spring on my stack of papers and pour out red ink like blood upon them.  Seriously – my poor MS for The Art of Dying is a mess of red scribbles.  It’s at once gratifying and terrifying!

Anyway, basically I have returned after my hiatus to declare that if you’re incredibusy during this crazy but delightful month of December, I sympathize with you.  Er…I did want to say that, but even more I wanted to say that if you are busy, channel the adrenaline.  Squeeze in a moment or two of whatever project you’re in love with at the moment.

That will serve to whet your appetite, and then, when you’ve got precious time again, you’ll be in the mood to return to it.  Besides, making a little progress on what you like to do helps make the daily grind seem much more pleasant.  

1 comment:

  1. You speak of weeks or hours that you attempt to squish in those things closest to your heart. While not gainfully employed for almost a year now...
    I have been fulfilling grandmotherly duties but that doesn't take up all of my time. Where did the year go. Time for a new year and to make resolutions...again?!?

    I was getting concerned though that you'd fallen off the planet...But life is just like that. "That" - takes time to live.

    I have though gotten some crafting accomplished. I had odd yarn and have been turning it into scarves. Sitting comfortably with hubby watching TV my nimble fingers play with yarn. I've made one for myself, one as two gifts, three to sell...while I still putter with writing. My pieces are shorter than novels so I don't have to play with the dreaded red editing pen.

    Just a bit of a babble - In this season of Light celebrations - Enjoy the gift of time. Oh I saw a cut t-shirt that had a slogan: 'Irony', the opposite of 'Wrinkly'. Cheers.