You know what I could really use right now? A nice incisive piece of writing by me.
The occasional gasps that escape from me onto this blog suggest that I am being completely consumed by my work. I wish this was true and also a good thing. I would like to “work” at something that is worth doing whole-heartedly.
Actually, as much as I am staying busy with work, I am defending my own time as much as I really care to. Rather than waiting to have some travel forced on me with 48 hours notice, I am scheduling my own travel. When I’m travelling, I work the hours I choose to work; if it’s more than eight, it’s because I decided I’d like to work. If I don’t do anything interesting when I leave work, it’s because I chose not to try. Sometimes I amuse myself, but more often I either mope or work. It is surprisingly hard to mope when you are not home, so mostly I work.
When I am home I sometimes start an hour early and finish an hour late for a ten hour day. Sometimes I do more. But sometimes I power on my computer not a moment too soon and shut it right on the hour. Then I will either join whatever my roomate is doing, or wait for him to come home and start doing something, or start doing something that I know he will join. From time to time I must do something that is not participatory, like pay my bills, but I try to get that out of the way.
Writing is a solitary art. You participate with your own imagination. I have a reactive muse and feel more full of thoughts when I am interacting with someone. Thoughts and questions come to me throught the day, private reflections that I think would be interesting to write my way through, but when I reach the time of day that is my own I no longer want to have it all to myself.
This is not necessarily bad. I admire the creativity that springs from an internal dialogue, but you can choose a goal that requires other people. You might join a community or adopt a visonary’s prospect. Working, playing, or thinking together can be useful and constructive.
What rankles me, though, is my apparent dependence that amounts to little more than echoing the company around me. Take away my company and I am the ghost of a person, hibernating. I am a desloation awaiting visitation.
When I am surrounded by work associates I can only think of what could be done to solve our problems, and I would give every effort to see it done. When I am with family, from whom all this work draws me away, I regard all that work as vanity and a reproach. Whoever I am around, I adopt the values I share with them as if it were all I had or cared for.
It is socially convenient but personally disorienting. When I am alone I am unsure of what I am supposed to be pursuing. Take away my context and my definition goes with it.
I have been feeling a little too spread out, and on a recent lunch hour I tried to marshall my thoughts around what I really wanted. If I am going too many different directions, what do I abandon and what do I embrace?
It quickly turned out that I didn’t know. There are some things that I would like; I would like to be able to make music. To be able to play a song that expresses what is on my mind, without struggling to express it in my own words, promises a solace and a reflection that eludes mere function or entertainment. There are other things, too, worthy pursuits all; but I don’t really want to expend my effort unless someone else cares.
What could be a more unstable guide to life than the inclinations of the nearby people? I might just as well drop all pretense and go into politics.