Pretty Sounds & Procrastination

© 2010 David Parker

Lately my hands and my brain have been very busy making What-I’m-Going-To-Do-With-My-Life out of interdisciplinary arts, education, wooden dreams, ideals that turned out to be not so far gone as I’d imagined, and other people’s money. I’m still only just on the brink, but I’m beginning to fall in love with the sound of pieces coming together and stars aligning. (It’s like this deep, celestial ripping sound—like when a torrent of rain peels itself from the sky.)

And when I haven’t been doing that, I’ve been trying to convince Ruthie that she’s not afraid of the dark, a task almost as difficult as trying to convince myself that I’m not afraid of failure. And I’ve been wondering if maybe it’s not so much about pretending not to be afraid as it is about accepting the darkness and the failure that makes the fear piece go away. And I’ve been noticing how all-of-a-sudden Ruthie grew so tall and so smart, which is painful in the hurt-so-good way of falling in love. And I’ve been promising myself to write, but I generally tend to put that off until tomorrow, which always seems to be the most convenient time to accomplish most tasks.


Since I Gave Up Hope, I Feel Much Better

© 2010 David Parker

I started this blog because I got tired of waking up at 2am with the Things-I-Haven’t-Done stuck in my throat. I’ve always been an ideas person. You know, I can think of great things, but I lack the administrative assistance, domestic help, and general drive that are required to actually do great things. Usually, this is when I totally shut down and admit defeat. But not this week.

This week, I gave up on hoping for what I’m not and I picked up the phone. I just started calling people: colleagues, successful writer-friends, friends who are good at life (you know who you are), people who pay people to make art, heads of creative writing departments, someone from the Provost’s office at Auburn University, and a some kind folks in the English Department. And nearly everyone spoke to me. At great length. About  how smart I am and how we can make something together.

Richard Goodman, whom I wrote about here in my old blog, was very kind and very dear when I rung him up at 9am this morning to talk about how the hell am I going to salvage what I thought I would do with my life and I just want to do what I love to do. Within ten minutes of speaking to him, my inbox dinged with news of a low-residency writing program and how I might be able to drop in for a workshop or two in November. I’ll be there. Why? Because when Richard talks about writing, he uses words like discipline and accountability, and you can’t do anything that entails any degree of those words without a community of people working together to accomplish the same goal.  I hung up with Richard and I called Emma Bolden, who is so brilliantly brilliant, it’s positively stunning. And she hooked me up with Ross White who’s doing something with other writers who are writing everyday. The Grind, he calls it. I’ve got a phone date with him tomorrow.

Now for the so-what. Usually, when I get into a funk like this, I do nothing. I wallow for so long that I actually begin to enjoy wallowing. Then I just pre-occupy myself with something else until I remember that I should be wallowing. But this time, I made up my mind that I am nobody. I am nobody. And I started calling every somebody I knew. And stuff started happening. It’s taken me nearly 28 years to learn that in order for Things to happen, you have to do something. And the first something is generally humiliating. It could be something like, I don’t know, a BLOG where you write what you think everyday as though it matters. Next thing you know, you’re writing down things from dinner* to remember to write about because you have this ridiculous goal to say something everyday.

*Things I wrote down at dinner:

  1. The entire time that our waitress talked to us (which was a while because she’s one of those thespian waitresses with dramatically arching eye brows and a kind of “this is my voice being a voice” fakish voices), she was holding four plates, a bucket, a bottle, and a wine glass in one arm and managed to jot down our order with the other.
  2. David told me a story about one of his friends whose house was robbed. They got away with a pistol and a T.V. dinner.
  3. There was a table of girls next to us and all of their laps were lighting up.