Wednesday, January 25, 2017

So how long did your new year's resolutions last?

Barbara here. Well, that will teach me to make new year's resolutions. On my last post, I resolved that in 2017, I would try not to miss my Type M posting day - every second Wednesday. And what did I promptly do? Miss the first two in a row! The problem lies with the essentially timeless nature of a writer's life. The day of the week is often meaningless to me. I write every day, unless I have other obligations or distractions, and these don't usually fall on any predictable schedule that would help me remember that today is in fact Wednesday. Having spent most of my life in the era before computers and other devices, I have two calendars – an old-fashioned book variety, which I still find far easier to use (no turning on a device, clicking through links, fumbling back and forth between days or weeks), and an electronic one, which usually I program to remind me of my dogs' tick and heart worm medicine. The advantage of the electronic is that it will beep a reminder. The book one, unfortunately, does no such thing, so the trick is to not only put an entry in the book, but also remember to look at it.

I think I will have to finally admit that I no longer can keep track of all sorts of things in my head. I reminded myself numerous times in the past few days about Type M, but in the end I was distracted by booking flights and airbnbs and rental cars and coordinating plans with others, while trying to find time to do my daily quota of writing. So guess what fell off my radar?

It's no excuse, of course, but outside obligations often fall off the radar in the life of a writer. We get so engrossed by the story in our head, even when we are driving in traffic or walking the dog, that we tend not to be aware of the the passage of time or the demands the outside world. "What, you mean it's dinnertime?" "Really, is it two weeks since I last phoned?" Absent-minded, thy name is writer.

In my defence, I come by my absent-mindedness honestly. The term may have been invented to describe my father, a university philosophy professor who inhabited a world of lofty thoughts. We children used to marvel that he found his way home every night, and managed to be on time for lectures and airplanes and such mundane but unforgiving things. He kept a little appointment book to help him keep track of his life, and even as an old man, he entered things in it, underlined them if they were important, and ticked them off once he'd done them. I remember looking at the little book one day late in his life, when he was mostly confined to home. "Brush teeth" was on his list, duly ticked off.

Most mornings I still remember to brush my teeth, even if I do forget to get out of my pyjamas. But I can see the future. And it starts with my opening up that tedious electronic calendar and entering "Type M post" on every second Tuesday, programmed to startle me with an annoying little beep every time I open up a device.

We'll see how that works. Can brush teeth be far behind?


Leesa John said...
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