Monday, January 4

“Work while you have the light. You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you.” Henri-Frédéric Amiel

I hit a wall over the holidays in regard to my writing output. It’s of little consequence, but the blog is a sideline for me, something to do to save my non-fiction muscles from complete atrophy and provide a vent for the angst I feel whenever I’m forced to pay attention to what’s happening out there. I obviously have some angst… 

Anyway, I hit a wall, and it affected me most profoundly in regards to the novel I’m scratching out. The blog is essentially fun, even though I’m often feeling grouchy when I pick a topic; the novel is what I’m pinning, have pinned, my future on. It’s kind of important. Paradoxically, while the novel is the part that takes the most effort to work on sometimes -it requires the most conscious choice - it is the one that provides the most happiness and satisfaction to me. This dynamic makes me wonder why it is sometimes that we, as humans, seem most inclined to choose (or not choose, and by not choosing make a choice) those things that make us least happy in the long run.

So, over the holidays; maybe it was the tryptophan, or the good company, or the weather and the shortest days of the year. You pick. They’d all be excuses, not reasons, so I don’t care what the actual machinery was. The bottom line is that I got lazy and abandoned what little discipline I manage to exert over my creative and intellectual life. And it’s time to get back to work.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not one of those that perform annual reviews upon my self, set a myriad of goals which I record in a book and track via spread sheets and data bases – I hope to live a less regimented life than that. Call it a prejudice if you like, but I find that kind of organization, even the thought of that kind of organization, personally demoralizing. I know it works for some people – okay, a lot of very productive and successful people – but I refuse to comply. I’m looking for a more romantic version of productivity, one that builds few roads and ignores fences, preferring to scramble over loose rock and run across open plains under a hunter’s moon. I refuse to give up on that ideal, but I have realized that it is still up to me to do the running. I must put one foot in front of the other and overcome my internal inertia all by myself.

But a little push once and a while is nice…

Three strange things happened in the last week to give me the required kick in the butt to overcome my lethargy, three separate and unsolicited confirmations that I’m on the right track, so to speak, and should keep on it and keep after it. And just when I needed it. I don’t know how exactly I feel about the interaction of choice and destiny, but anecdotally there seems, at times, to be evidence of some sort of grand scheme in the midst of our daily choices. I think that they dance together, cosmically, and try not to step on each others’ toes too much.

We don’t have a destiny beyond being the best version of ourselves that we can be, and that destiny is made up of ability, opportunity and the choices we make to take advantage of the former and create the latter. So I guess, if it’s a chicken and the egg kind of question, I’ll vote for choice first. There is no such thing as destiny without choice, or at least nothing I’m interested in. That would just be boring. I’m glad, though, that whatever destiny there is has the patience to wait for us to make the decisions we need to make, overcome whatever inner demons we need to vanquish, and realize that better version of ourselves while we’re fighting our way through it.

So, to those friends that provided the boost, thank you: The timing was impeccable. My little rest is done now and I’ll get back to really working; to taking advantage of the light.