A Hurricane of Textuality

I guess I have some super-secret MezzoSherri playbook, where the private definition of “I’m going to post a couple times a week” means, instead:

I’m going to take two weeks off where I don’t write a damn thing at all.

I guess radio silence is sometimes unavoidable.

In part, this has been the result of living in a fortnight-long perfect storm. The last 16 days have brought me the following waves, in sequential yet overlapping order: deadlines, travel, more deadlines, illness, more travel. (Whee!!!)

Take a system already on the low slope of one’s personal energy curve and put her through that precise sequence of events and you pretty much have a textbook case of “something’s gotta give.”

I’m selfish enough — and sufficiently aware of my insignificance in the blogosphere — that I’m not really writing any of this as an explanation or apology for my fortnight’s silence. Instead, I’m interested to examine and distinct between the things that “gave” during this crunch, as well as the things that stuck.

First off, of course, is the usual non-negotiables. Fulfilling my professional responsibilities  (all those deadlines, don’t cha know), and then making sure those trips happened, what with their non-refundable plane tickets and/or B&B reservations (yup, these were the “hard-working spiritual retreat” and “romantic getaway” weekends I previewed a few weeks ago). No particular mystery about those things making the cut as I was going through my unconscious/unspoken triage process about how to use my finite time and energy and what things to set aside.

What’s fascinating to me is the set of triaging choices that happened once I got past those “obviously essential” things. What optional/recreational choices did I elect to prioritize?

The trend is simple. For the most part, I chose to consume the literary/media expressions of other people rather than to create my own.

Obviously, I wasn’t writing here on JALC. Even my daily journalling practice dropped off: not all the way to zero, but there has been a lengthy gap or two during this past fortnight. (And I also wrote a 1,000 word essay for the comix MOOC. But that’s basically the length of a single blog post, so to take 15 days to write the equivalent of a single day’s  post seems just a bit out-of-balance, wouldn’t you say?)

ordinary batmanIn the meantime, I’ve managed to stay (mostly) up-to-date with all the video lectures from both the comix MOOC and also the Shakespeare MOOC I’m taking over on the EdX platform. (Yes, I said I was going to hold myself to a single course. I couldn’t stop myself: I had fantasies of the EdX class inspiring me to write more posts over at the OTHER blog I’m completely neglecting these days.) I’ve even done some of the reading associated with these classes, including a book on graphic storytelling to help me with that mini-comics project that still has me completely terrified.

I am also pleased to report that the family DVR is below the 50% mark in memory usage for the first time in a long, long while. (Some of this has been the judicious deletion of shows we’ve decided we’re never going to watch. Some of this. But not much.) Why this sort of non-accomplishment gives me pleasure, I couldn’t say. Perhaps it’s as simple as acknowledging whatever small (pathetic?) accomplishments I’ve actually managed to accomplish?

I’ve never really been a Julia Cameron devotee, but I have some passing familiarity with The Artist’s Way, and I know that one of the exercises Cameron recommends is that you do a week-long “reading fast”: abstaining from reading any sort of text (and perhaps, by extension, from partaking in any “alternate addictions” like TV or movies.)

You can find quick discussions of the practice here and here. The latter of the two links includes a quote from Cameron’s book explaining the whys of this particular wherefore:

For most blocked creatives, reading is an addiction.  We gobble the words of others rather than digest our own thoughts and feelings, rather than cook up something of our own.

I might be indulging in a little bit of memoirist’s bow-tying to make the a story line up “just so,” but I sort of recall that it was this “reading fast” that drove me off the rails those couple times I tried to do the artist’s way program.

Now, as I take stock of what got consumed and what didn’t get created drink these last couple of weeks, I’m beginning to get where Cameron’s coming from.

Not sure I’m smart enough to be changing my behavior, yet. But at least I’m thinking it over….

* I also recall taking issue with the ways I perceived the structuring of “morning pages” to be so damned inflexible. (Another story for another day.)

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Image credit: http://giphy.com/gifs/pizza-lazy-11dReiOBRMTRGo

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One Response to A Hurricane of Textuality

  1. I’ve been alternating between writing and gardening. I’m getting the plants ready for winter and since the summer was so – well, what…over the top sounds so ordinary…anyway, the garden got no attention. When I garden, I don’t think. At least nothing much worthwhile. I work. But I’ve also been writing a lot on the memoir. “The Memoir.” After four shots at writing it, I may finally have a ….well. a what. Anyway, I’ve been journaling and writing and even reading but not much blogging work. Some. I inch. Love your writing. J.

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