Maybe tomorrow

I wasn’t able to put my newfound “discovery” about writing earlier into practice. The day got away from me (downhill tumbleweed picking up woeful, scraggly things), I’m feeling kind of ill, and the whole writing thing is feeling like more of an albatross than it should. However! I am here complaining instead of blowing it off so that’s a change from “Eh, I’ll just take the night off.” Because every day something is written is a yay. Maybe “yay-ish” is more like it. 

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Not too late to start earlier

One of the things I’m coming to realize is that I simply cannot write at night. I used to be capable of pulling all-nighters for work or school; my brain would continue working until I told it to shut down. 

Those days are long gone. Now, when I find myself at the keyboard after dinner, a kind of fog creeps into my head and all my thoughts are a bit fuzzy. I can think, and I can get the words out, but they are so, so slow. I know I could get more done in the mornings or earlier in the day. 

And this is something that every single writing book in the universe seems to tell us: write first thing in the morning, write when you wake up, write before you do anything else, etc. etc. etc. I never really “got” this. 

Until now.

Tomorrow I start a new routine. 

Tired after my long walk

A few weeks ago I got a Fitbit Force — one of those fancy-pants pedometers that helps you meet your daily walking goals. This has been nearly impossible because of the weather. Excuses, excuses — to an extent — but it really has been a rough winter.

Generally, I’ve been walking a bit more than usual because of my new device; however, I’m not yet in the habit of wearing it every single day. I forget to put it on after my shower..

Tonight, my phone alerted me that I had walked 50 miles since I got my Fitbit! I only pay slight attention to my daily steps, and wasn’t thinking about how they were adding up to actual miles. I was strangely excited about my achievement, like I had won a prize or gotten an A on a pop quiz after being absent all week. .

I’m laughing at myself because — how could I not know? How could I be surprised? I guess it’s unusual for me to not become obsessive with my “data.” I tend to analyze and overthink most things; this time, I just let the Fitbit be a casual part of my life. I am trying to figure out if I’d have been better off pushing myself to meet my daily goals. Yes, I would have reached my fifty miles sooner; however, I don’t know if I would have been as excited when I arrived. There’s something to be said for surprising yourself. I’m glad I can still do it from time to time.  

 

Trifecta Week 102: A Love Gone Wrong

Our cozy quiet woke to utter silence,

elbows and knees suddenly in the way.

Finally shy, doomed to inane chatter,

our voices slowly trailed off,

polite enough until the last sighs,

mumbled goodbyes.

 

This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge: “This week we’re asking for exactly 33 of your own words about love gone wrong.  But we’re asking that you not use any of the following words: love/sad/tears/wept/heart/pain

 

Things (sometimes) remembered

Glancing at today’s date, I remembered it was an ex-boyfriend’s birthday. I haven’t spoken to him in twenty years, haven’t thought of him in recent memory. But I wasn’t surprised. Birthdays come to me, randomly, like my best friend in First Grade (October 17) or my dad’s friend Jack (September 15). I remember Shakespeare’s birthday (April 23) and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s (February 7). I remember the birthdays of all the guys in (the original) Duran Duran. I look at a calendar a few times every month and recall the birthday of an acquaintance or author or celebrity. My brain retains this type of information — I don’t know why.

A couple of days ago my best friend texted, asking me if I had ever seen the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley and, if not, “you would really like it!” Sounds innocent enough, right? Well, this seemingly benign query almost made me cry. Because Ripley is one of my favorite movies (and books) and my friend and I have watched it and discussed again and again over the years. Instead of getting his “joke,” I immediately assumed that I was losing my mind/memory. I spent at least an hour trying to figure out if I was being messed with, or if my recollections were completely made up. I eventually replied “Did you mean to send this to ME?” and got an LOL which didn’t make me L at all. Don’t mess with my memory, people!

I never remember what happens in books. I read a lot, and for the past couple of years, I’ve been writing down the names of the books I’ve finished. (Almost forty last year — yay me!) However, I can’t remember anything but the broadest information about most: “Yeah, that’s the book about Peter the Great.” Dear Reader, the title of said book is Peter the Great. It’s over 1,000 pages long. It weighs almost three pounds. I swear I read it. And there was a two week window when we could have discussed it. Now? Well, it’s hard for me to tell you much. I can confidently assure you that Peter was a complicated man. No, I don’t know his birthday. Oh, he liked boats and his mom was really domineering. He got old. Before he was old, he was young. He had affairs. He traveled here and there, far away places. I did read this book, I really, really did. There may come a day when I am confronted with a trivia question about Peter, and I may still get it right; I am good with random “factoids” and can pull them from the recesses of my brain at a moment’s notice. At least I think I still can. 

I’m not much better with movies. I’ll remember a funny line, strong performance, or great scene. I tend to forget the bigger picture: what the movie was about, how it ended. 

And I never forget my two biggest fears about memory — that some things will never be forgotten, and others eventually will. 

 

An answer looking for a question.

There is something beautiful about perseverance, and working on things until 1. they are finished, 2. your goals are met, 3. your dreams come true. Life is a spectacularly straight line…in the abstract.

However, the real word lacks the simple linearity of fairy tales or movies. Quitting, while not very glamorous, can be quite useful. (And of course quitting can be also be spectacular, dramatic, and satisfying — think: the dumping of the cheating spouse, the quitting of the dehumanizing job, the rebellion against Evil in any of its forms.). But most of the time the desire to quit makes a person feel sorta pitiful. 

Yes, I am “a person.” Who has quit a lot of things. Who feels sorta pitiful.

The first half of my life I was a wind-up, go-getting, never-quitting wonder. The more hard work something took, the more it seemed worth my time and effort. Nothing good could be mine, I believed, without significant expenditures of energy. 

All that work can make you too tired to enjoy things. Especially when life gets harder and you get older. There’s more to think about than your own goals and dreams. Sometimes very bad things need to be faced. 

Exhaustion makes it easier to let things slide. Suddenly, not everything has to be perfect — even less than less than perfect is enough. If you don’t do all the things you think you want to, it’s okay. The world doesn’t end. Most people don’t notice or care. You make a deal between you and yourself and no one knows about it. You keep moving and find other things to do. Fun things. Distracting things. Good and bad things. Sometimes you even forget what you thought you wanted. Because of all the things.

Time passes, you’re better rested, and you think you’ve gained some perspective. Maybe you have an epiphany. Perhaps you grow up a little. 

You notice things (all the things!) are amiss. You’ve forgotten what you once wanted to do. You’ve lost your way. You don’t really know where you are, or how you got there. You’ve become a little (you hate to say it, but you take a deep breath) lazy. Complacent. Cowardly.

(You scribble/read/think/sleep/work/smile/cry/write/dream/ponder/live/wonder.)

What’s the answer when you don’t know what the question is? 

“Keep moving forward” is my best guess. It seems to apply in so many situations. So it’s the answer I’m sticking with, at least for now.