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.

Monday, November 13, 2006

All done

Occasionally, we all find ourselves feeling sorry for ourselves, saying, “This sucks. I am not liking life right now. Things are wrong. Circumstances are bad.” Maybe we don’t actually say or think the words, but the attitude is there. It most especially comes upon me near the end of the day, when I’m slumped at my desk, too tired to continue and to stressed to rest.

Whenever I find myself in that state, I stop and ask myself: “What would it take for me to be happy right now?”

This is the answer that comes back to me:

I want to be done.

I want all obligations to be met: the day’s work accomplished, everything according to plan and ahead of schedule. I should be ready for tomorrow’s work and not dreading it. My receipts must be entered, my books up to date, my notes written, my appointments confirmed. My oil must be changed, my leaves raked, my house clean.

Completely caught up.

All emails read, responded to, filed away. No conversations I’m dreading, no calls I’m dreading, no work I’m avoiding. No dreams foregone. No ambitions unaddressed. Proper exercise, proper diet. Clean bathrooms. Premiums paid. Portfolios balanced. Children hugged, kissed, and put to bed, secure in the knowledge that I love them and they love me. Matresses rotated. Education continued. Teeth brushed, hair combed, toilets scrubbed.

And then, when I’m completely done for the day, there is still a couple hours to kick back in a chair with a beer, a good book, and a light heart. Is that so much to ask for?

And yet, it is. I remember reading a passage from some Southern novel, where a black field worker sniffed, “Done. Only white folk think work gets done. We know better. We know work is never done. It just waitin’ for you tomorrow, the same fields, the same chores.”

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