And/Or

Remember those kids’ Choose Your Own Adventure books? Here we have a Choose Your Own Excuse blog post.

1. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! I haven’t posted since June. Where did the summer go? It went to some glorious places as it turns out, or at least I did:

  • Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, and Belize on my favorite vehicle, Semester at Sea’s MV Explorer, in the company of smart, eager, compassionate students and talented faculty, new friends and old;
  • The peaks and shorelines of the magnificent state of Washington, accompanied by my son the newly minted Stay At Home Dad and emerging writer, his gracious wife the Starbucks VP/VIP and ferry commuter who actually tolerated the presence of her mother-in-law in lovely but somewhat close vacation quarters, the Old Soul five-year-old girl child, and the curly-headed grandson continuously muttering the color commentary for the Mariners game being played in his head;
  • Shreveport, to enjoy the warmth of extended family, scorching heat of July notwithstanding;
  • West Hartford, CT to scoop up and fly home the two youngest granddaughters of another son’s family as they began a long anticipated, heart-warming transition back to Colorado;
  • And finally, Jackson, WY to reconnect with longtime friends as we jointly celebrated 65 years on the planet from a vantage point several thousand feet above it in a hot air balloon and splashing and squealing through some gorgeous white water on its surface.

How is a person supposed to sit at a computer and update a blog with so much fun going on?

and/or

2. The Procrastination Monster has once again ravaged my best-laid plans and intentions of blogging regularly.  The theme that has bedeviled my retirement years is “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?”

Other stages of my life have been wall-to-wall deadlines. I had to show up for work on the Labor Deck, not because I feared being fired but because I knew in my gut the hell of working short-staffed and I couldn’t do that to my colleagues. I also remember asking myself at 2:00 am one Christmas morning: “How did I not get these gifts wrapped and toys assembled before now?” Scrolling back in my memory through the last month, I realized that all of that time had been taken up with meeting other imminent deadlines like the last day to mail packages, the last day of school to take the gift to the teacher, the evening holiday party that necessitated spending the afternoon buying stain- and hole-free dress-up clothes for three boys, etc.

My current life certainly still has deadlines but far fewer and that makes all the difference. I procrastinate because I can. There are probably a number of other reasons why – I’m workin’ on those.  Check back with me later.

and/or

3. It’s an age-old writer’s thing: How can my work possibly be good enough?  My stories are boring, my insights clichéd, my skills and talent are meager at best. Woe is me. I suck.

I’ve also been told that “real writers” just do it, while it’s crystal clear that I do not. They sit down at the computer and write, regularly, no matter what. Then they put it out there. They don’t fuss over its imperfections for months on end. A techno blogger I follow wrote this from a different lane of the creativity highway:

“I could tweak the hell out of it, but as the coders say, real developers ship. Real musicians have to ship as well. The big problem with working digitally is that the temptation to tweak is so great and so easy to do that it takes a great deal of restraint not to want to dive right back in.” http://blurbomat.com/2012/02/16/bright-and-shiny-surfaces/.

Sometimes for inspiration I read other writers I admire, like Anne Lamott or Cheryl Strayed. Mostly that effort backfires because they are just so damn good I feel even more strongly that I suck. Sometimes I manage to get my butt in the chair and then get distracted; what else is new? I actually have ideas I want to blog about fairly frequently and even get them started in my head in the shower or during a walk. Later when I try to go back to that tapestry of ideas and emotions I want to create, I grieve that the colors have all faded or I’ve lost hold of the thread entirely.

Blah, blah, blah. I’m boring even myself with this excuse.

Rewind back to the beginning of this blog, the “sitting with the questions” intention. It feels important to me to figure out why I don’t write, to tease apart the complex ball of emotions and behaviors that underlie this whole effort. Most days I feel no closer to straight, understandable strands so I’m forced to sit with the mess in my lap. This much is clear: I love the feeling of having written. So for today, with apologies for my absence, I’ll just hit “Post”.

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3 Responses to And/Or

  1. Marillee Carroll says:

    Great writing, Marjorie, and remember, you’re only humanlots of distractions and many more in retirement! Isn’t every day a Sat. fun?!

    Marillee

    Like

  2. jean Miller says:

    Marjorie was Jackson WY with St Tim’s ’65!!

    Like

  3. Linda Kobert says:

    Remember what I said in class? The hardest part of the writing process is sitting down to do it. 🙂

    Like

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