Monday, June 04, 2012

Living in Inertiaville

In the state of Catatonia

The spring semester ground to a halt several days ago. As usually occurs after a prolonged stint of intense effort, I lapsed into a semi-coma when it ended. My grades filed, I folded myself up into a tiny space of inaction.

I'm resting. Or something.

Some of my colleagues treat the filing of semester grades as a starter's pistol. Bang! And they're dashing off to foreign climes or holding parties or gorging on movies. School's out! Party time!

I can barely move.

My friends barely suspect the degree to which I shut down when the school year ends. I'm afraid I get overwhelmed by all of the deferred secondary tasks that accumulated during the busy times. Buridan's ass is reputed to have starved because he was fortuitously situated at the midpoint between two identical stacks of hay. Two stacks? Heck. I feel encircled.

Thus it has been that books remain in unsorted stacks, sheafs of papers sit unfiled, laundry rests unfolded in baskets, newspapers pile up unread in the recycling bin, blog posts remain unwritten, and an entire residence awaits a much-needed top-to-bottom clean-up job. (And let us not speak of my office at school.) Instead of attempting anything on the long list of things to do, I've slouched on the comfy chair in the living room, remote control in a flaccid hand, chuckling at the inane antics of Father Ted, the hijinks of Rocky & Bullwinkle, and bits of Fry & Laurie. I've let Simon Schama lead me through British history. (My video tastes are eclectic.)

Of course, it's not all couch-potato viewing. I also take naps. And I have been plowing through lots of books. I do that all the time, but pick up the pace during the summer. Reading is a useful and constructive activity, but I fear I'm using it in alternation with watching television as a way to avoid performing other tasks.

What to do? What to do?

My past history suggests that my suppressed sense of personal responsibility will eventually generate enough pent-up pressure that I will—any morning now—explode into a spate of furious activity that will strike out big segments of the mile-long to-do list. But it hasn't happened yet.

Perhaps writing this post is a kind of mea culpa that will nudge my conscience closer to the trigger point....

Nope. Not yet.


Kathie said...

Didn't you once mention that you composed the first draft of your novel one summer? Why not write another book (in between gigs flacking the new novel)? Short stories? Essays (perhaps the best of Zeno)? Poetry? Anyone else have any other topics or genre suggestions for our Zee?

plam said...

No tips (though Kathie's sound great) but a suggested term for the spate of furious activity: "deferred life maintenance", which for me usually happens after paper deadlines.

Zeno said...

I have no idea where Kathie got the notion that I need more things to work on. My plight is quite the opposite!

Even my list of future blog posts is longer than I need right now:

Southwest Radio Church's hilarious strawman version of evolution;
Catholic Radio's insane apologetics;
proofreading as a blood sport;
the horrors of open-mike readings;
the plight of the invincibly non-self-aware;
heaven is impossible by definition;
how the Church will ensure my success.

That's enough teasing for now.

Porlock Junior said...

Buridan's ass? Hey, there was an old sailor my grandfather knew...

Whenever I'd read to the kids from When We Were Very Young (or was it Now We Are Six?) I would read this one with great relish. Not quite so edifying as King Hilary and the Beggarman, but more the story of my life.

Ever tried the Benchley method? I don't have my Works of Robert Benchley here, but one of his best essays gives his secret method for getting things done, which has been stolen by various other people.

Mainly, you get several of the things you need to do, in the form of the boxes of books that you need to shelve, and the like. And you place them to that you can't help seeing them out of the corner of your eye as you sit with great determination at your desk, amking yourself work at the worst on the list, the one you really need to get done.

He tells it better than I, duhh, but you can see how it works.

[Hoping you can blackmail Google into fixing the beastly Preview here, since it makes hash of paragraphs.]

Zeno said...

Thanks for the link, Porlock. Now I have a new poem to memorize! (You know, when find the time.)

"Deferred life maintenance" is a great phrase, pham. I'll be sure to work that into conversations now.

Kathie said...

As a preemptive strike against the "proofreading as a blood sport" topic, let me just aver in my own defense(!) that it's always better to err on the side of listing too many possible typos, which the author can then assess for whether they need fixing, than to ignore ones of which the proofreader may be uncertain, some of which may prove to have been valid mistakes in need of correction. It's up to the author (or translator) not to take it personally -- and I say this as one who's sat on both sides of this fence.

RBH said...

Naps are under-rated as a form of recreation. :)