Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

87 Weeks Overdue

Once upon a time, I made lists of all the things I needed to do in Outlook Tasks. And, fool that I was, I put Due Dates on many of those things, even the things that did not have real-and-true due dates. I had heard it said in some self-help thing or other that "You can't feel good about what you're doing until you can feel good about what you're not doing." That is to say, you need to list all the things that you need to do, so that when you evaluate your priorities you can recognize what you're not getting to, and be sure that you are at least doing the most important things first.

I stopped using Outlook for this purpose some time ago -- I use a different program instead. But there are still items in Outlook that I haven't gotten rid of . . . tasks that live on in some kind of undead, zombified state, neither completed nor completely dismissed. Every day or every week or so, a little window pops up to remind me of my non-priorities:

-- Order photos of Malcolm (87 weeks overdue)
-- Type up list of Internet account information to file (72 weeks overdue)
-- Send copy of Symposium articles to Leila (74 weeks overdue)

These items have been popping up for approximately a year and a fucking half, and I have kept hitting snooze. Somewhere in my brain I know that the likelihood of these things getting real priority attention are slim, and at the same time I can't bring myself to admit I will never do them. I mean, surely some day I will get prints of those digital photos, right?

I put this out as a testiment to the nearly infinite power of human self-deception. Kierkegaard is right: we all tell lies, and the lies we tell others don't hold a candle to the lies that we tell ourselves.

-- Start living your life's purpose (36 years overdue)


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