Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sitting down to write, and other chores

What to write? I can't write anymore it seems. Words have been falling out of the holes in my brain so that I can't find even approximate terms to describe the simplest feeling, the clearest memory. To lose the skill that is your stock in trade is less cruel I suppose when you also lose the will to employ it, as seems to be my case. The word count of my annual journals peaked in the mid-90s and has been dropping like a punctured balloon ever since.

Of course there was no World Wide Web then, no blogs, no Bloglines, no online newspapers, no sudoku, no email lists to keep up with, no YouTube, no podcasts, no online radio, no CSPAN, no computer meltdowns that require hours to repair. Now there is that anxious feeling that comes with knowing you haven't read the latest Frank Rich, Kevin Drum, Paul Krugman, Bob Herbert, Sy Hersh--and that tomorrow the situation will only get worse. That your downloads box is full of must-reads that you will never get around to, that you are so far behind in filing the papers, cleaning the cobwebs, fixing the broken walls and windows, organizing meetings, planting the garden, turning the compost, getting the daily 30 minutes exercise, that you really can't justify sitting down merely to write.

But what you can do is relieve your overtaxed brain with meaningless downtime. So you sit and watch mysteries on TV, play sudoku instead of cleaning the ceilings, eat when you're not hungry and stay up too late because going to bed requires overcoming the inertia of just sitting here on the couch with the cat purring in your lap and your knitting wrapped around your knees.


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