Saturday, August 11, 2007

Avoiding work is an important aspect of my career strategy

I shudder to imagine what Colleen is going to think when she wakes up to find yet another color scheme on this blog. I've been noodling endlessly with the design all week. It's not my area of expertise, so there's been some frustration, but in general, I find it meditative. And every once in a while I have to do something that completely removes me from writing for a few days.

I don't believe in "writer's block", but like Pete Seeger and Jesus said, to everything there is a season. Sometimes it is not writing season. Unfortunately, I've become such a workaholic that it is not possible for me to not write unless I'm fiercely focused on something else. I used to paint trompe-l'oeil scenes around my house, but after the tree grew in the stairwell, Saint Basil of Cappadocia appeared on the coat closet door, my son's wall turned to a stack of cinderblocks, my daughter's room turned into a Monet landscape, and an Aztec sun god burst through the kitchen ceiling, my family begged me to stop. My work avoidance therapy this week came from the extraction of a graphic from a 1930s pulp novel and the obsessive compulsive search for the right color combo.

While I worked, I listened to hours and hours of music. For about three bucks a month, you can program your own station on Yahoo's Launchcast or listen to uninterrupted streaming of their genre stations. ("Classic Soul" and "Martini Lounge" are my current faves.) I've also been lifting weights and going to spin class every day, and let me tell you, the unpasteurized satan milkshake that is spin class puts me in a very specific head space. It's like a test pattern takes over my brain. A test pattern with German techno music. And pain. Lots of pain. But I love that feeling of utter autopilot. It's freeing for someone who can't shut off the noise of constant ideas long enough to fall asleep at night.

Shutting down the idea chatter for a few days opened the flow for one good idea to come shining through. And suddenly, it's writing season again.

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