Here’s another oldie-but-still goodie:

December 27, 2012

Right before I started this post, I caught myself worrying about dust.feather duster

Yes, dust.  The stuff I convince myself nobody else has in their house because they keep up with it.

Here I am, off work until the day after New Year’s, with tons of time to do all kinds of neat stuff, and I’m worrying about freakin’ dust.  That’s pathological.  No, worse than pathological, it’s pitiful.

I mean, what is wrong with me?

Dust didn’t bother me when I was scrambling to get ready for work last week. It didn’t permeate my thoughts while I shuffled paperwork and fielded phone calls.  It didn’t come with me to the grocery store, or settle on my shoulders like a fine gray mist while I was paying bills or falling into an exhausted sleep.

But now that I have unlimited hours to work on my book, play with my plants, rearrange my crystals, read, or just kick back and do nothing, something in me wants to worry about the dust on the bookshelves, between the knickknacks, on the stairs. If somebody came to my house, says this nit-picky little “something”, they’d get all smug and superior and think I’m a slob.

Let’s take that last sentence apart.

“Somebody”.  The only people who would ever be allowed to set foot in my house are people who were invited, by me.  In no universe would I invite smug and/or superior people to my house. Why am I worrying about something that ain’t never gonna happen?

“My house”.  Where I come to rejuvenate from time spent in The World Out There. The place where I pull up the drawbridge, drop the shields and let my inner happy little lunatic out to play.  My own precious sanctuary where things like bras, shoes, and what other people think of me do not exist.  In other words—my house, where I decide what’s important.

“Slob”.  I am a slob.  I live in a whirlwind of books-plants-notebooks-crystals-cats-pictures-CDs.  Coats tend to live on the backs of chairs.  Scarves roost on the frames of pictures and mirrors.  Multiple pairs of shoes reside under my computer desk, which is where I kick them off without thinking when I’m writing.  When the hoofware population becomes too dense, I cull out the non-seasonal ones.  (Example:  it’s late December;  today multiple pairs of summer sandals have finally been relegated to storage.) It’s how I roll, and it works for me.

Back to the dust:  I’ve decided the problem is all in my mind.

Effective immediately, I’m evicting those imaginary smug-and-superior types.

Instead, I’m going to imagine my character Rick (better known as Ricochet) has escaped from Old Wolves.  He’s a whirlwind of a young man with long white-blonde hair, outer-space eyes and a very impressive tattoo.  He’ll bound into the house like Tigger and hug everybody in sight.  If he sees dust on a table he’ll swoop down on it and exclaim, “Dude! Can we snort it?”  Then he’ll smile, draw a heart in the dust and write “I love you” inside it.

And he’ll really, really mean it.

photo credit: chickenscrawl via photopin cc

The Five-Minute Rule

Came across this post I did awhile back for an online website class.  It gave me a (literally) timely reminder of the power of increments:

When I saw the ad for a workshop in Time Management I almost didn’t take it. What little time I had was already so eaten up by responsibilities that there wasn’t even a stray minute left to manage.  Then I figured, what the heck—the workshop was online, so I could do things at my own pace; maybe I’d actually learn something helpful.  If all else failed, I could always drop out.bluesilver clock

Early on in the workshop I was asked to name something  I really wanted to do but hadn’t been able to fit in my schedule.  I was to imagine there was nothing preventing me from doing this thing, and I was not to limit my response in any way.

My “something” was writing.  I used to write all the time when I was a kid; when I was older, I had a few pieces published in a small local magazine.  Writing fell by the wayside as life became increasingly complicated, sometimes traumatic,  and always demanding.  I promised myself that “someday”, when I got everything under control, I would devote huge blocks of time to writing.  But the likelihood of getting everything under control was laughably small; whenever I  finally managed to get one tiny little piece of my life working right, another piece would go spectacularly to hell.  I was too busy putting out fires to even think about writing.

As the workshop progressed I was asked to carve out just five minutes each day to devote to writing.  Anything I managed beyond that five minutes was gravy, but those five minutes were to go to the top of my to-do list every day without fail.  At first I laughed—what could I possibly accomplish in five minutes?  Then I thought about the minutes I spent in the parking lot at work five mornings a week, dreading going in and bemoaning my lot in life.  I got a small notebook and devoted those minutes to writing whatever popped into my head, no editing allowed.

And the words came.   Slowly at first, but they quickly picked up speed.  I found myself looking forward to that parking lot time and groaned when I had to stop.  I spent my lunch hours writing.  I carried the notebook with me everywhere  in case an idea staged a surprise attack while I was cooling my heels in line at the grocery store.

I filled that first notebook, then another, and another.  A storyline unfolded, characters came to life.  Every evening I’d transfer what I’d written onto my computer.  On weekends I’d sit down to do my “required” five minutes; three hours later there would be feline melodrama over late suppertime.  Hit “save”, feed cats, back to writing.

The storyline became a book. It’s  on another tab as I’m writing this piece.  It’s called “Old Wolves”, it’s currently at—let me check—294 pages.

I’m already in the early stages of my next book.  It’s in a notebook right at my elbow.  I know I can finish it it— all I need is five minutes a day.


photo credit: tronixstuff via photopin cc