Apparently, I was just as lazy and unmotivated 20 years ago as I am today.
March 23, 1995
Here, in no particular order, is what I usually end up doing when I sit down to write:
- Test the refrigerator door to make sure the hinges are still operating properly. I rarely take anything out to eat. I also open the door slowly to see at what point the little lightbulb turns on. Someday, that bulb isn’t going to turn on and it’s going to make it all worthwhile.
- Go into the bathroom and look at myself in the mirror for a long time. Sometimes, I comb my hair in bizarre and funny styles. Sometimes, I experiment with different hair care products, like gels, rinses and conditioners. Sometimes, I cut my nose hairs. Sometimes, I stare at myself and ask, “What’s wrong?”
- Turn on the TV and make the rounds. I go through the channels in a specific sequence: 2, 4, 7, 5, 11, 9, 13, 21, 25. I realize that’s out of order but the pattern is ingrained in me. I can manipulate the remote with my thumb without looking at it. I start to feel guilty after two “laps.” Thank God I don’t have cable.
- Eat peanut butter by sticking my finger in the jar. I’m sure this practice will come to an end once I’m married. [Note: It hasn’t.] This reminds me that when we were kids we had a schnauzer named Nipper who would bark incessantly. To shut him up, mom would take a finger of peanut butter and stick it on the roof of his mouth. That bought us a few minutes of peace and quiet. Dogs love peanut butter, you know.
- Masturbate. I consider this my most healthy distraction and the one that takes the least amount of time.
5a. Take a nap.
- Mope. I have a theory that my extra-special, finely-tuned brand of moping is an important part of the creative process, so I’m not sure it’s fair to include it in a list of distractions. It’s like saying breathing is a distraction.
- Stare at the phone. The best distractions are the ones not initiated by me. When the phone sings, I drop my laptop like it’s suddenly leaking the Ebola virus and rush to answer by the second ring out of fear that whomever is calling might change their mind. I rarely get back to what I was doing. I have reams and reams of half-finished sentences. Maybe I can mash them all together and make some haiku.
- Read someone else’s work. WOW! can some people write! If I’m feeling a little too productive, I’ll walk over to the bookcase and pull out some Dickens or Hemingway and it’s back to distraction #3.