Tempting the Clock

It has not been a productive day. I say that as the productivity part, well the productivity part related to work, earning an income, putting food on the proverbial table, that part, comes to a close. It ends at 2:21 these days. And sixteen seconds. That is not to say that I am without things to produce. I have several. And more important, they are to be produced within a certain window of time. It is a small window. Single pane. This is when I sometimes feel spunky, brazen, you know, dangerous. I am not like this when I have a bay window-sized window, or a sliding door-width window. It is only when I am crunched. Ha ha, I scoff, at the things to be produced.

Why do I do this, I wonder. I should say that I don’t always do it, but when I do, it is consciously. It is decided upon. I will tempt the window. I will laugh at the tightening deadline. I will hope that I don’t trip tomorrow and require stitches in an elbow, or toe, which will monopolize the actual minutes that remain. Usually, I tell myself that something in me, something in my artistic soul needs the extra breathing room. The brilliance that will make the particular assignment that much more magnificent needs to germinate this exact amount of time. Then, it will be ready to sprout. Then, it will emerge, glorious, at 9:12 tomorrow morning. It is germinating, now, all by itself. I can feel it. So, in essence, I am working, yes, I am.

This is the kind of thing I tell myself when I just need a day off.  Why can’t I just take a day off, polish the toes, eat a normal lunch? People with regular jobs get regular days off, and they don’t tell themselves their ideas are whirring around in their brains right then, when they are doing relaxing things, so that they don’t feel guilty. They just eat the normal lunch, happily, and paint the toes, angst-free. 

It is now 2:09, which is pretty darn close to 2:21. I don’t have much time left, though I probably have more to say. I could have done more with my day off, I am thinking. More day-off things. But I guess you have to know it is that kind of day before it just becomes one. Aaarggghhhhhhh.

Taking a Seat

The only chair left was in the Reference section. It is hard to be creative in the Reference section. Test preparation manuals don’t inspire the flow of compelling ideas. And that is what I am after, after all, the flow. The Flow.

When the house gets stale, I leave, in search of a place that might do the mental trick. Often, I will go to the bookstore nearby. At the bookstore, you don’t have to feel guilty about not buying coffee. Coffee turns into another substance when it is not made in my kitchen. So I go to the bookstore, where there are big upholstered chairs set amongst the stacks. 

“Try that book,” they seem to say. “Here, sit here and read it, or some of it. C’mon.”

But I do not go to read. The literature section has three chairs, and they were all occupied today. That made me pretty mad, since the occupiers were not writing anything. One was talking…talking!…to another person who sat on the floor. The second was reading. Imagine, reading in the literature section. The third was sleeping. I felt like a pregnant woman on a bus, hanging onto the strap. Look at me, will you? I’m a writer. I’m dying here. Get up, will ya?

I walked around the store until I found the chair that ultimately became mine. I was not motivated, tucked in between guides to Asian walking trips and dictionaries of generic drug names. I debated whether to go back to the shelves where the real books were, and to haul the non-writing people up to standing. But I realized that might be a neurotic choice. Instead, I picked up a “Fast Fact Review for Algebraic Equations” and settled in. 

Find Me, Idea

It has been cold here, so the 1 pm walk/run has been eradicated from the schedule. Instead, I hop on the Stairmaster, but only if it is 40 degrees or above, as such hopping requires a dash across the yard to the back house. In Texas, some houses have back houses, separate little buildings that could have been garages or extra bedrooms. They are also called “quarters,” the kind of quarters for guests.

All of this is irrelevant. Except for the cold part. I have lost my tolerance for it, I am embarassed to say, and even a trot across the little lawn is too unpleasant at 39 degrees. So, I stay inside and exercise in my bedroom. I do aerobics in my bedroom, in front of a mirror, just like the eighties.

“What did you do today?” my daughters will ask.

“I did aerobics in my bedroom,” I tell them. They look at each other, thinking, “What. What have we been given in this person. What does it all mean?”

Anyway, when I do aerobics in front of my parents’ antique oak mirror, which has moved as many times as I have, I think of other things. That is because aerobics is boring. I should inject, here, that I do not do the traditional Jane Fonda-style work-outs, but have my own modern take, more dance, more Fosse, more moi. The ideas that pop into my brain when I do this are generally very good. I learned a long time ago that when you are a writer, you are always writing, even when you are at the movies or having a little snack or doing aerobics in your bedroom.

Today was terrific. I’ve been working on a nonfiction book that today became a “concept.” A whole “thing.” Not just one, but many. It could be many. I am not going to say what it is. It is going to be a secret. When I got the idea, I was finished exercising. That is how it works because then, you have to do the idea. But since I needed to go to my daughter’s basketball game in fifteen minutes, I had to shower before doing the idea. In the shower, if you can believe the wealth, I had another fabulous jolt of creativity. Yet another something poured out of the head into my head and I had to stay there until it was finished. It was a long shower.

I tell the girls to hurry up in the shower. The younger one uses enough water for a small nation. Maybe I should permit it, I am thinking now, as long as she emerges not only clean, but inspired.