Monday, January 13, 2014

In which everything is JUST FINE REALLY

--heck, I always was a terrible liar. I fell off the wagon this weekend. Hard. I had a remarkably productive weekend and attacked the to-do list viciously, but didn't get a single word down Saturday or Sunday. Avoiding writing may well be the key to success in other areas of life.

What I do have written down, however, is quite a superb list of excuses. Easily 500 words. Care to hear them? Perhaps the one about the back injury? Compelling and vivid, I assure you.


Moving along. How is everyone else doing on the challenge? I need to browse through some of the website links and scout everyone else's progress. I had a thought that in the near future I would do 500 words in comments on other people's sites. Twenty-five words on twenty sites? Seems a good idea.

I had thought as well that perhaps it's time to move from blogger to WordPress, like all the cool people (and because blogger is incredibly flat and restrictive). That would likely serve as little more than a distraction during January, however, so best push that to February. Does anyone have a favorite platform--something other than WordPress to recommend?

Funny how it isn't enough to establish good habits--they need constant maintenance. Years ago I couldn't look at someone sitting on a park bench without spontaneously thinking up her backstory and what was churning through her mind. Now? Lady on a park bench. The end. Given sufficient laxness we gradually atrophy our abilities, becoming less like Sherlock and more like Watson. Fourteen steps up to the room, you say? There were steps?

Part of the problem is how incredibly capable we become at the everyday overhead of life. I have to rub my cheek to confirm the morning shave--yes, smooth and not scratchy. Wearing pants? Thank goodness, yes. Wearing underwear? I'll get back to you on that.

Remember learning to drive? The intense attention required to maintain a relatively constant speed, check the mirrors, stay in your lane, shift focus rapidly between near and far traffic? Now we drive in traffic eating a banana while talking on a cell phone and watching nothing but the rearview mirror. Easy.

Our practiced perfection numbs us to detail. Our autopilot is so well trained as to simulate a life without us even needing to be there. My body has gone on to brush its teeth without me. I'm somewhere up in my head pacing off steps, smoking an imaginary pipe, mentally chewing upon some academically interesting bit of gristle.

Autonomic systems gradually subsume consciousness. The body already regulates temperature and heart rate independently; it is more than capable of handling the entirety of routine living. Life becomes like breathing--it goes on without our attention, but with thought and effort we can govern it. Writing demands that thought and effort.

In my pacing I now come across a woman on a bench. And I know what she's thinking.

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