An aspiring writer fascinated by what we simply are.
As of 7:00 AM this morning 10.5 inches of snow has fallen outside. It’s 10:00 AM now and I know a few more inches have fallen since. I’m grateful for my neighbors snow blower and his generosity. I only have to shovel from my door to the car today. Not that we are going anywhere. With over 500 closing alerts across the city there is nowhere to go even if we wanted to.
Those of us working for the school districts were gifted with an even longer Thanksgiving break. I have nothing planned for the day but there shouldn’t really be plans or expectation on a snow day. They should just be enjoyed, savored.
I’m in our “creativity room” this morning cleaning up and making room for writing and making art again. My desk was covered in notes, books, trash from my backpack, and even a dead plant. It’s about 75% clear now with dedicated spaces for my laptop, my books, and my collage work. I have fresh notepads, new X-Acto blades, and a renewed sense of purpose.
There is a nervous excitement all around me today. A snow storm is forecasted to move in tonight and there is a real possibility it will at least be significant if not record-breaking. We hope with each storm for a snow day, but this time, in a week where we’re only scheduled to work for two days anyway, we are daring to allow the certainty of it.
I’ve still got Ray Bradbury in my head telling me to WORK RELAX DON’T THINK. I’m up to the task of writing 1000 words or more a day but I’m not sure what those words should be about or what form they should take? Should I write in a stream of conscious? Should I simply begin in my preferred genre, the essay? Should I start with an idea, a quote, a point in mind? I have the time but too much self-consciousness to begin.
That sounds as sad as Bradbury said it would.
I finished Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury tonight and I’m convinced that it’s the greatest book on writing I have ever read (except perhaps for On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King but that may only be because I read it first).
It has been a long time since I felt so enthusiastic about writing and so willing to try again, to fail, and to have some damned fun with it. I remembered how it felt when I first started to write and how I felt when a few publications accepted my work. It has been a long time since I wanted to feel exactly that again.
I’m picking up The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx next. It’s another short one. I won’t reach my reading goal by far this year but I’d like to be well of halfway there come December 31st. I’ll probably read Ethics by Baruch Spinoza. It’s less than 200 pages long.
Did I mention that we won a painting from the Octopus Initiative this month? The program is awesome. The way it works is you log into their website every month and select which paintings you like. If you win, you get to take the piece home and keep it for up to 10 months.
Today we went to pick it up, and I did my best to enjoy being out of the house. I’ve been spending too many weekends cooped up and though I’d love to go on being cooped up I have a feeling it’s not the healthiest way to spend my winter. The weekends are my best chance to see the sun and remember there is more than work, and sleep, and darkness.
It doesn’t feel very much like a Friday. Getting up was very hard this morning. So hard I almost opted to spend the day in bed. I’ve decided I get one day a month to do nothing when I should be doing something but November’s mental health day has already passed.
So, I went in, and then worked much more than I wanted to. We moved around office furniture and I ate lunch at a desk. At least we ordered out and at least I got to eat with the best coworkers around. And now I’ve been left to work alone. I sound like I hate it but I’m flattered by the opportunity to play boss.
Looking back on the day I’m grateful for a job where I can get up and move, where I get to be with my friends and laugh, where I have a team and where I know I’m wanted and doing well. I don’t think most people have that.
It has been a good week for reading. I finished Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky on Sunday, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller this morning, started Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury, and made slow progress through Moral Letters to Lucilius: Volume 1 by Seneca nearly every day.
It feels good to spend so much time with books again, but I’m also disappointed and perplexed in my inability to keep up the habit given how much I enjoy it. Why am I like this? People are weird and I guess I am no exception.
This week is long, they always are after I take a day off. I think there is a lot of anticipation in the week too. It’s the last empty week of the year. After this there will be Thanksgiving, there will be Christmas shopping, there will be Christmas, and then there will be a whole New Year. It’s a week of waiting and waiting makes the time pass slow.
I started a new post for Z+P. I started with a quote and a dim idea and I’m just exploring it. I’m writing to figure out what I think rather than beginning with my point already in mind. I’ll grow this piece one sentence at a time.
It’s raining now, but it’s not the kind of rain I like. It’s the kind of rain that you know will turn to snow any second. It’s cold, dark, and dreary outside. It’s only 5:00 PM, but it feels like 8:00 PM. I hate winter, the time change, the weather, the feeling that there is nothing to do but sleep and work. I hardly see the sun anymore. Tomorrow is forecasted to be even worse. I don’t even want to think about the coming months.
I think this weekend I need to get out of the house. These last few weekends I’ve stayed inside to clean or to try to write but I suddenly feel cooped up. Maybe I’ll start my Christmas shopping early, or pick up the piece of art I won from the Octopus Initiative? I just need to get out.
The worst way to start the workweek is to start it on a Tuesday. Nothing went the way I meant for it to though it didn’t necessarily turn out bad. I’m off my path but I’m still moving and that’s something.
I did have time to catch up on some things here and to get some reading in but not much more. This evening I spent with my wife. Between work, my personal pursuits, and my poor health there has been little left of me for her at the end of the night. I have to be mindful of the time I give to her just as I do the time I claim for myself and I realize that lately I have been coming up short.
The rest of the week looks bleak with lots of work, cold temperatures, and snow. I’m ready for the weekend again already.