Life

Shut up, List.

Ever feel that pressure build up inside, where there’s so much you’ve got to do, and so much you want to do, that you run away and do nothing instead?

Just read a few online articles? Watch a show? Pace aimlessly around the house?

Because it’s a pressure so terrible, so full of guilt and fear, that if you actually tried to do anything, that thing you were trying to do would seem so small, so petty, such an insignificant fleck of such a huge should-do and want-to list.

Like writing a blog post, for instance, when there are dishes and laundry to do, and you need to call the doctor’s office to make an appointment (but they’re not open), and you need to get “real” writing done, and you’d like to make another sketch, and you need to work out, and pull up the stinging nettle that’s trying to take over the yard, and–

OH! It’s just too much. Because if you try to do any one of those things, you’ll be cringing under the guilt of not doing all the other things, the fear of what will happen because you’re not doing them right now.

But if you can successfully distract yourself, then, hah! You don’t have to feel guilt and fear anymore. The pressure is gone, washed away in the delerium-inducing stream of a Netflix binge or facebook scrolling or munching a string of snacks.

Until you run out of time-nibblers to hide behind.

Until the guilt and fear build up enough to crush through your defenses.

Until a Dire Consequence springs up to punish you.

And then you’re farther behind and far worse off and stretched tauter and stressed tighter.

Or, you can do

Just

One

Thing.

Like write a blog post.

And while you’re writing it, you defy the rest of the long and frightful list.

You turn your chin up against the guilt and the fear, and you say,

“Shut up. I’m getting something done.

Shut up, laundry and dishes.

Shut up, appointment I need to make tomorrow.

Shut up, Other Art I Could Be Doing

Shut up, gym,

Shut up, stinging nettle,

Shut up, List,

Because I’m writing a blog post.

I’m writing a blog post even though I want to run away from everything,

And I’m damn proud of me for that.”

And then beam, because you’re getting something done.

And then when you finish, you tell yourself,

“Well done, mate! Good on you. You’re a boss.”

Because you’re right. That was brave of you, not running away.

 

And then, you turn up some music and go do the dishes.

Shut up, laundry…

Part Nine: Truths Best Forgotten

A 100-word chapter of a 1,000 word story. Part one here.

*****

He wondered at her stunned and pale face when she returned from the healer’s.

“Pregnant?” he guessed, knowing she didn’t wish to be.

“Not more life; less,” she whispered. “I’m dying, love.”

His heart grew suddenly cold, though he kept his face smooth. “Isn’t everyone?”

“In weeks, love.”

It wasn’t fair. She was yet young. If she were to die, it ought to be on adventure’s height, not from withering sickness.

“Let’s have weeks of adventure, then,” he spoke gaily, trying to shake off despair’s sticky fingers. “And no more talk of death, dearest. There are some truths best forgotten.”

*****

To be continued.

The Fascinated Life

“The more you learn about something, the more interesting it is”
-Ann Duncan

Ever heard that quote? I would be kind of surprised if you have, as it’s Mom’s. I find it to be a very useful quote when used in conjunction with another famous familial quote:

“It’s more interesting when you’re interested.”
-Me

I know, I know, it’s hardly mind-blowing. In fact, I’m pretty sure everyone knew that. (In my defense, I said it as more of a comeback than a deep philosophy.) But it really got interesting when I also realized this:

You can choose to be interested.
And when you choose fascination as a way of life, your life becomes fascinating.

I first learned this principle thanks to my dad and sports.

Dad was the only baseball-lover and sports-liker in the house. When he took me to my first football game, I was swept up in the cheering and the chanting and the roaring, in the rousing music from marching band and loudspeakers.
But somehow, I realized that I would get a lot more enjoyment out of the whole affair if I knew what the heck was going on down there on that huge green field in the middle of it all.

And so, mostly because there was nothing else to do, I started asking questions.
What was “holding”?
What were first downs?
How did they get two points?
What were the lines on the field?
Why wasn’t he clapping when everybody else was?
How did he know they were going to run it down the middle? 

I had an ever-stocking arsenal of questions, and Dad was happy to answer them all. And all the questions I had about baseball, and about fantasy leagues.
And now, ten years later, I have an arsenal of information about football and baseball. I certainly (along with every other sports fan alive) know more than the bloody refs.

But knowledge isn’t the most important thing here– interest is.
Thanks to my early choice of fascination, watching those two major American sports are two more ways I can enjoy myself– not to mention they’re another great connection I have with someone I care about.

So whenever I’m in a situation (or with a person) that seems dull, I remember that my interest is in my own hands, and make it my mission to find out the fascinating.

Because life is more interesting when you’re interested.