My father could not sit still. He was always busy doing something. He was at a loss when his work, Gray Tools, gently forced him to retire. He had worked there for over 48 years. He had trouble filling in his days.
My grandfather could sit still. Dad said that his father would spend his entire three-week vacation sitting on the front porch.
“Pop,” said my father, “you’re on holidays. Why don’t you go somewhere instead of sitting on the front porch all the time?”
“Son,” said my grandfather, “each day I have to get up early and go to work. In the winter, I am the first one making footprints in the snow. Now I don’t have to go to work. Now I don’t have to go anywhere. I am happy to sit here all day.”
My father could not understand.
I take after my grandfather. I can sit still. I am not afraid of silence, and I have no problem filling my days.
I don’t know what my grandfather thought when he was sitting on the porch. When I am sitting still, I explore the world of ideas by thinking, reading and writing—more thinking than reading and writing and, often, lots of thinking about reading and writing.
I haven’t gotten bored so far. I can play with myself. I enjoy playing with myself. (Get your minds out of the gutter!) I don’t need anything outside of me to keep me occupied. Take away the book and the writing materials and I can still sit alone in a room and stare off into space.
To others, it seems that I am doing nothing. Far from it. I am exploring worlds beyond worlds beyond worlds because imagination is limitless. There is never enough time when I crawl inside my head.
Here are some things that make my life worth living:
Books: I love books. I love the feel of books. I love the smell of books. I love being surrounded by books and books and more books. I love when I am reading a book and I cannot put it down.
Silence: I love silence. No background music. Just silence. (Hard to find these days.)
Solitude: I enjoy my company. When I am alone, I crawl inside my head and play with the ideas there. These ideas come from books, and The Beyond. I never get bored.
Writing? I have a love-dislike relationship with writing. I love writing, but will find any excuse not to write. But if I do not write, then I do not feel good.
I do not have to force myself to read books and find silence and solitude. I have to force myself to write. I understand what Dorothy Parker meant when she said, “I hate writing; I love having written.”
“It’s about time!”
I know Blog. We last met on August 24th.
“That’s over three weeks ago. What were you doing for the past three weeks?”
Thinking about writing while staring at a wall.
“What? Were you in jail?”
“A mental hospital?”
“You just stared at a wall?”
Yes, I do that sometimes when I brood.
“Where was the wall?”
At a place where I was staying.
“And what were you brooding over?”
How I should be writing. The more I did not write, the more I brooded over how I should be writing.
“Less thinking and more doing might be a good plan.”
Yes, it would be.
“Well, I’m glad we finally met today. I was beginning to feel like a single woman at a gay male bar. When will I see you again?”
Soon, I hope, soon.
Every year I go back-to-school shopping. I’m not at school, but I like to buy paper, pens, pencils and other writing supplies and more paper, pens, pencils and other writing supplies. I must make sure that I never run out of paper, pens, pencils and other writing supplies.
Imagine that I am writing up a storm. The words are just pouring out of me. I’m in the flow. I can’t let go. And then suddenly I run out of paper, pens, pencils and other writing supplies. What a tragedy! My work of genius lost because I ran out of paper, pens, pencils and other writing supplies. This will never happen because make sure I have backup supplies for my backup supplies for my backup supplies for my backup supplies, and then some.
Do you think that if I didn’t spend so much time buying paper, pens, pencils and other writing supplies, I would find more time to write?
It’s been a week since I have written anything. I always look for excuses not to write. Trigonometry is a good excuse.
I have mentioned before how I am teaching myself the math I avoided learning in high school. For the past week, I grappled with the basics of Trigonometry. Even though learning is fun, I still resist learning new things—especially the math I hated in high school. I wanted to quit because I was not understanding the concepts, but I kept grappling. And finally, I got it!
Wow! I understood! I understood! I understood sines, cosines, and tangents. I understood cosecants, secants and cotangents. I understood how the Greek letter Theta (zero with a line through the middle) represents the degrees of an angle. I understood!
What a natural high finally understanding Trigonometry, and solving Trigonometry problems! If they ever make Trigonometry illegal, then I’ll get arrested for sure.
I’m like a child who has just learned to walk on his or her hind legs. I’m stomping around laughing and enjoying my new-found power!
So there’s my excuse for not writing: I was learning Trigonometry. Deep down, I know that I still could have written while learning Trigonometry. But please allow me to fool myself into thinking that learning Trigonometry took all my energy, and I had none left to write. Thanks.
I want to learn everything, but hold back doing so. Part of me feels safe with the knowledge I have. This part is afraid of change. If I let this part rule me, then I would not be learning how to factor polynomials, and solving equations and inequations.
It’s like my relationship with writing. I resist writing, but love doing so once I start. I resist learning new things, but love doing so once I start. And after I start writing and learning, I always think, “Look how much fun this is! Why did I procrastinate?
You would think that I would remember that writing and learning are fun. You would think that I would remember that I rob myself of pleasure when I procrastinate. You would think that I would remember that my thoughts about how painful writing and learning will be are always false. But I don’t remember. I resist and make excuses for not writing, and not learning before I actually start to write and start to learn.
Too bad I wasn’t married. I could blame my wife for my irrational behavior instead of having to take responsibility for it.
I am working on a writing project and find it challenging to write blogs and work on the other project. Some days, as you can see, are blog less.
What is this other project? I won’t say. The creative energy needed for writing drains away when I talk about what I am working on. Besides, I am a private person.
“Ha!” some say. “Look at all the personal stuff you’ve blogged about,”
True, I have revealed many personal things in my blogs. But I carefully select what I feel comfortable revealing. And often I am writing for therapeutic reasons, and feel that the healing outweighs my need for privacy.
Still, I am basically a private person. Some stuff about me the world may never know.
What do you write about when you don’t know what to write about? You just start writing and something will come out.
Perhaps what wants to be written won’t come out because of all the noise in the library. I have blogged about how libraries are no longer places of silence. I wear earplugs, but I can still hear talking and laughing and cell phone conversations.
I wish libraries had Silent Zones. In these Silent Zones, there would be no talking, no laughing, no cell phone conversations. A Silent Zone means exactly that—SILENCE. And Silent Zones would be strictly enforced. People talking, laughing or using cell phone would be hanged. But if that is too harsh, then they would have to leave the Silent Zone for the rest of the day.
Lots of people are afraid of silence. They must have a radio, music or televisions on all the time.
The fear of silence is called Sedatephobia. Sedate is from the Greek for silent or sleeping or dead. Phobia is from Phobos, the Greek God of fear.
I have used the word phobia a lot. I never knew that it came from the Greek God of fear. The Roman equivalent is Timor. Now I know where timid came from.
I should be grateful for the noisy people at the library. If it wasn’t for them, then I would never have looked up the fear of silence. I may never have learned about Sedatephobia, Phobos, and Timor.
Now . . . what shall I write about?
It’s been 11 days since my last blog. I feel as if I have forgotten how.
“It’s simple. Take baby steps. Write one word after another.”
But I don’t feel like it.
“The best time to do something is when you don’t feel like doing it. Doing it makes you feel like doing it.”
But I still don’t feel like writing.
I am, but I’m afraid because I’m not sure where I’m going.
“Feel your fear while you follow the words.”
I think this is it. No more words to follow.
“Not bad for someone who didn’t feel like writing.”
But what I wrote is not all that good.
“Perhaps, but it is more important to do than to do well.”