Sunday Rant: Putting Things Off

I can't really seem to blog. I have all these things to say, I think, except that when I sit down to say them it turns out that all I really have to say is that I have something to say and I don't know what it is. So I think, well, I will just come back to it later, when the light is tilting through the window at a slightly different angle and I am sitting more upright and the air smells softer and circumstances are Just Right. And then when I come back to it later the light is tilting through the window at exactly the wrong angle and I can't sit up straight because I'm too sleepy to do anything but slump and the air smells of tea and reminds me that I haven't had anything to eat for awhile, so I think I'll have a snack and a glass of water and come back to it later and then I end up having a nap on the couch and then the sun is going to go down soon so I feel I should go outside even though I don't want to, so that later I don't regret not going outside when the light was good and the coyotes weren't howling menacingly on the hillsides. Each day has been like this, but a bit different. On sunny days I have sat outside on the bench with a cup of tea and read Geoff Dyer and Alain de Botton and admired the simplicity, the complexity of their work, and thought how if I could only clarify my thoughts enough, even for an afternoon, I could do that, too. On rainy days I have watched the windows being washed by a downpour and thought that it would be a good moment to write except not now, not just yet - and then it's turned into another week and still it is not the right time. And then I think: the right time for what, exactly? If only I knew that, if only I knew what to begin, I could begin.

This is also how I feel about my book. I have begun it probably a thousand different times, and still I don't know how to begin it. I keep expecting it to be like the start of a race; I will screw the spikes into my shoes and place my foot at the line and wait for the gun, and as soon as I hear the gun I will know what to do, because there is really only one direction to go: forward, around the curve of the track, until you reach the end. When I ran track I was never very good at speed but I could pace myself pretty well. I think I could pace myself pretty well with this book if only there was a track. Sometimes I try to create one; I make maps and plans, but there's no gun, and anyway I get confused - is the line at the beginning or the end of the race, or is it actually at the middle? So I sit and think about this for awhile: about beginnings and middles and ends, and how the problem is that I think everything is a middle even when logically it can't be. And then I realize that it's been another year and I still don't have this book and every year I grow increasingly frightened of it, and increasingly obsessed with the idea that if only I could write it, things would be okay, because I could move on to another project, which would be an easier project because it would not be This Project. But I must first finish This Project, only a) I do not know how to begin so that I can finish; and b) even if I were to begin, I am too afraid to finish it because I do not know what happens next. So I cannot finish This Project so I cannot begin the next. This is the art of circular thinking and in a way it is just like a race: when you finish, you are just where you began, except tireder.

So I make another cup of tea and look out the window and do not write the blog post I think I meant to write because I will write that when the light is different and the wind stronger.