I once saw a meme on Pinterest that said something about the idea that you should make your living doing what you choose to do when you procrastinate. That made some sense to me, because that must be the thing you would always rather be doing.
Of course, I can procrastinate in myriad ways. And I will even sometimes stoop so low as to do the dishes before finishing a task I hate, even though if you asked what I hate most the response will often be “doing the dishes”. And I know I don’t want to make my living washing dishes. Done that. So over that. Never want to do that again.
But, I still think there may be some truth hidden in that meme, because right now all I want to do is write.
My “To Do” list includes: the hated washing of dishes, cleaning perishable items out of the fridge, packing food items, packing dog toys, portioning out medications to be sure I bring enough, packing the toiletries, spraying my peppermint oil bug repellant so centipedes don’t take over my house while I am away, packing extra Wii remotes and all the cords and chargers and various items needed to make electronics invade every aspect of life, pack my computer, unplug items that won’t be used while I am away, make my daughter pack the rest of her clothes (I am certain she will forget her bathing suit…the one I have mentioned four times already), put the butter in the fridge to avoid returning to a rancid stick of yuck where the butter once stood, prep snacks for the road, and take out the trash.
All this needs to be done in about 14 hours, and I should also sleep for seven or eight of those hours, at least. And yet I am typing about what needs be done instead of doing it. And maybe that is partly because this is the thing I love. This is my bliss. And when you have a long list of things to accomplish overwhelming your spirit, maybe the thing you love can help to calm and free and care for you.
I suspect that writing cares for me. I suppose that is why I am drawn to it, and always have been.
When I was young, books were a beautiful escape. I made a secret hideaway in the back of my closet and I would sneak back there and pour all of my attentions and affections into story. I loved the library. I loved the search for something new and interesting. I loved the way it felt like finding treasure when something you happened upon while browsing the shelves turned out to be one of your best friends, the story that you could not live without and that you read over and over until the librarian told you to cool it and let someone else check that book out for a change.
As I grew older the words began to come from inside. Mostly in jagged and torn sorts of poems or song lyrics. There was a lot of dysfunction and anger in those poems. So, I also started a journal. I would write out all the madness that was swimming in my head, and pour my struggles and pains onto the paper. It felt like a release. It felt good to get it out. And then, one day, I remembered that I used to write stories, and that I have always loved stories. So, I started to write those too.
Then I wrote flourishy-languaged and well-researched papers for graduate school. Some of them were rather fabulous. I still wonder at my lack of energy toward publishing any of them. I think they would have made great journal articles…might even have changed the world…but I didn’t seem to care and they sit in boxes in my office wondering if they will ever be read, I suppose. While I was writing for grad school, I mostly stopped writing for myself. I still loved writing, but the writing was to prove a point and to pass a class, not to let the stories out.
So now we come to today. We come to the place where almost all of what I write is written to tell my stories. And they are only about eight percent meant for others. They are told for me. They still offer me that release. They still allow me to get it out. Writing brings me peace. It brings me joy. It makes my life richer and more meaningful. It is the thing that I should be doing.
So, do it I shall!
And maybe it can be the way I make my living, or maybe it can be the way I find purpose in my life. Maybe it can be both and more. But what I know it will do now is make me late for my scheduled departure tomorrow, so perhaps I should stop doing the writing just now and start to tackle that list of tasks lazily labelled “B4 trip”
Don’t worry. I’m certain to send you some stories from the road!