Hello, Readers. It’s taking a monumental amount of willpower to avoid the big, combed-over elephant in the room. The news has been riveting. But I am not writing about that. And I’m trying to marinate in it less overall. What this means is a short and scattered blog post.
Tidbits and News:
Following my own advice from last week’s post on dealing with distraction, I have tried, somewhat successfully, to limit my exposure to the media, both formal and social, and to focus on my writing. That advice really came from the example of my friend C, mentioned last week, who has found the months since November 9th to be some of the most productive of her career. I tried to follow her example and to forge ahead. The result is that I do have a rough draft of approximately 90,000 words. All written last week.
No, not really. That’s about 240 pages. Not possible for me to amass in one week. But the draft did start to coalesce over the last week. I read a little of Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird every night to inspire me. In case anyone in the world hasn’t read that book, the title refers to advice her father gave her brother when he had a report on birds to write from scratch and it was due the next day. Take it bird by bird, was the advice, extrapolated to any writing and by larger and further effort to any daunting endeavor. Bird by bird. A way to get one’s writer self into the chair.
Turning off the web browser is another crucial element I employed last week.
In other news, the dog is afraid of the kitchen. I think he’s actually afraid of bees, but more specifically of things that buzz, including but not limited to bees, and by extension he is afraid of the places where things that buzz have recently been buzzing. That would be the kitchen.
Now I’m not going to have any of that. He needs more grit, does that dog. And also he needs to be reprogrammed to like the kitchen again. I am hopeful that a little play therapy with him in the kitchen every day will work magic. I started out with one of the puzzles I bought him during a phase when I felt extremely guilty for his under stimulating life. And he does love the puzzles, which he solves with nose and paws, and which reward him with treats.
The college student is home for the summer! I picked her up on Saturday at noon, and I am happy to report that she was all packed up and ready to load the car. This kid is no snowflake. This kid has grit. What she doesn’t have is a job. She thought she had one, but it fell through. So she has been looking, along with every other recently arrived home college student who didn’t get a job over spring break. Which she did. But I guess not really.
I read Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders, and I liked it. I didn't love or lurv it, but I did like it. I liked its Buddhist elements, such as how life is full of suffering people and how we all need to be compassionate towards one another - and towards ourselves.
That’s about all. I think all that writing while trying to avoid getting sucked all the way into the news used up my available willpower and I’m depleted. That happens with willpower. It’s something that can be strengthened, according to Roy Baumeister and John Tierney, but it also has limits. Like a muscle, it can grow stronger by use, but it can also fail from overuse. However, overuse, like a vigorous workout, will lead to strength. Unless of course you tear something. I haven’t torn anything, but I have worn out my willpower muscle. So keep me away from the cookies and the chocolate. And please consider this post a gentle limbering exercise.