I’m currently reading Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. In every writing text I read, I tend to find something useful, but this is the first book during which I am literally screaming, “THAT’S ME! THAT’S ME!” every other page. Between the copious amounts of highlighter and scream spit gathering on this book, I doubt I’ll ever re-sell it.
Not that I would want to.
Lamott validates a lot of the writer neuroticisms I struggle with: the perfectionism, the desire to write a whole book in one day, the assorted critical voices that descend up you and machete your self-esteem into ribbons as soon as your fingers hit the keyboard.
Crafting a daily routine that involves exercise, writing, and eating food that doesn’t come out of a microwave box shouldn’t be hard. But it is.
I kind of let myself go when I first moved back to North Carolina because the environment at my last job was so stressful and drama-filled that I just wanted to coast for a while.
I was ready to stop coasting two weeks ago, but then the whole women-plan-Fate-laughs thing happened and I woke up with a fever the day after I wrote that post. These delightful surprises are what tend to happen anytime I start finding some semblance of balance in my life. Like many people, I sometimes imagine Fate as an Indian Empress lounging on a silk-covered chaise next to a pool that shows her the world at large, being fanned and fed by devoted slaves as she concocts nefarious plots to mess with my life.
Many people like to use a roller coaster metaphor when they’re talking about life. One of the problems I’ve always had with that metaphor is that roller coasters have chains that pull them up hills. In life, there really isn’t anything or anyone who can yank you up a hill but yourself. There may be things that are out of your control, yet that doesn’t change the fact that the only one who can power the climb up that hill is you.
The part of the metaphor I do like though is the idea of letting go at the top of the hill and just seeing where the tracks take you.
So I went to two more swim practices since I wrote my last post, went for a two-hour hike, and did a yoga class.
It’s great to be moving again. I feel my best when I’m exercising, I’m eating right, and I’m being productive. I’m sleeping better. My mood is even and positive.
But I’m also tired.
Bet you thought I’ve gone off the deep end with a title like that, eh? It’s relevant, I promise. To prove it, I’ll talk about the fish first. The breakdancing cat will be after the jump.
I’ve never seen an overweight goldfish. But after my first swim practice in more than a decade, I can imagine what one feels like. By the end of the second lap, I wanted nothing more than to reach the end of the pool and pass out belly-up on the lane line.
It didn’t help that the bowl of chili I ate before practice was sitting in my stomach like a lead-plated ostrich egg. Not the best way to remember that eating before practice is a BAD idea.
I know I promised y’all a thoughtful and insightful post today. Then a migraine happened last night, and sleep didn’t. I still finished the post this morning, but I don’t feel that it does justice to the topic I want to discuss. So I’m going to let it age a little bit.
The great thing about this being my blog is that I rather than deadlines, I have guidelines for when I want to post. The guidelines being that I aim to post SOMETHING once a day whether it’s a quick update on my life, a link to something cool, or cat pictures. At least once a week, I intend to post some thoughtful essayish-like thing that will hopefully provoke some thoughts in your noggin, or at least make you laugh.
The Internet has a solution for every conundrum whether you want to obtain that perfect banana slice or construct a backyard trebuchet.
But what about an age-old problem that has plagued mankind since the dawn of time? A problem that creative individuals fall victim to more often than Katy Perry changes her hair color?
I’m talking about the antithesis of inspiration, the nemesis of productivity, the evil stepparent of social media–procrastination.
To me, few things feel better than a productive writing workend. When I’ve put a huge chunk of words on the page, I am so beyond happy that even the Republican party couldn’t tug me out of my nirvana.
Then the alarm clock beeps.
And I realize have a pile of dishes in my sink as big as the Smokey mountains. The laundry pile is more like the Rockies. My cats’ litter box needs to be changed. I have no groceries beyond a rotting bag of Trader Joe’s salad and two Laughing Cow wedges. I didn’t check the mail on Saturday. There are takeout (salad) boxes littering my loft.
About a month ago, I shared this idea that I had for motivating myself to write more. And I have to say that it’s going pretty well so far.
It didn’t go so well initially. January was a kind of packed month in terms of folks visiting, cons, etc. But once I finally got going at a steady clip, I’ve found that it’s super-motivating to encourage myself to cross that 1,000 word threshold and earn another comic.
I’m not nearly as grumpy as this cat is, although the writing cove (a.k.a., the loft in my apartment in which my computer and my giant dry-erase board reside) still lacks power. And I’m regretting my decision to put my internet router up there as well. I can deal with no power. No internet is an entirely different bowl of thorns.