Monday, January 9, 2012

I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU...

...but I'm finding it hard to keep up with all the stuff coming at me. Some of it of my own making.

I know there's a calendar on my computer that I could write things in instead of using The New Yorker desk calendars I've been using for years. And maybe if I did keep a calendar of impending deadlines and meetings and events etc. I'd feel less harried.

But I have the sense it was easier in the old days when I just stuck a flyer or postcard announcement on the refrigerator and threw them away (or saved them for the overflowing archive I've yet to try selling though I've had offers from university libraries to take it for free).

Sometimes I feel like just emailing everyone in my email address book that I'm sorry if I didn't respond to a request or invitation or just keep up the e mail correspondence because, whether it's age or the brain surgery or the times, I just got overwhelmed by too many things to deal with that way.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, just explaining. I'm grateful that people want me to write recommendations or blurbs for their books or read their books or listen to their CDs and respond to email updates and exchanges of personal news or edit their manuscript or etc.

But I just forget. The way the emails disappear from the screen once the next several hours worth appears makes it difficult to go back and find some of them (I know I can do it by approximate date if i can remember when I received it, or by name if I remember who's name the e mail was under).

And now I've added another impediment. I've been posting daily on this blog, sometimes more than once, since I started it, except for when I was in the hospital for the brain surgery. But even after I got out, when typing just a few sentences took hours, I still made an effort to post every day because it made me feel better, gave me a purpose and gave a purpose to my thoughts and opinions and taste and discoveries etc.

But recently I figured out a formula that is helping me focus and organize thousands of pages I've written over the last several years of a seemingly endless memoir about the people I've know in my various "careers" and locations etc. It's an obvious solution that it's taken me decades to discover or rediscover. And it's got me so energized and excited I stay up half the night writing and rewriting in my mind (and as we all know, or at least I do, the writing I do in my mind in bed at night is always much better than anything I come up with at the computer the next day, including this post—I woke up at 4AM and turned the light on a few times to jot notes but basically wrote in my head until the alarm went off to get my fourteen-year-old up for school three hours later).

I don't want to underestimate the real problems people have with real obsessive/compulsive disorder or graphomania, but I do tend to spend a lot of time and energy obsessing over and compulsively writing as I have all my life (twenty-seven published books and tens of thousands of unpublished pages of prose and poetry and more) because it seems to keep the fear and doubt at bay, and usually makes me very happy.

But it has caused trouble over the years, like lack of sleep, or mates not being happy with what they thought of as wasted time of mine when it seemed like I was just sitting around reading or doing nothing but I was actually writing and rewriting in my head, or people, including my kids, who took the look on my face for anger when it was really just me working over a sentence or line in my mind and the concentration (some would say distraction) made me furrow my brows and look all upset with something.

I wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's though, nor my obsession with writing, mine or others (I've been known to be such a print junkie I've read about everywhere possible including years ago I'm sorry to say while driving!). I felt at 5:15AM like writing something like this after my son left for school so I did.

14 comments:

TC said...

Michael,

I can't, for the life of me, imagine anyone having these symptoms.

Though my wife says she can.

Lally said...

Ain't it the truth, Tom.

tpw said...

Dear M:
You apparently don't know about the Senior Citizens' Blanket Pass, which applies to Everything. And you qualify.

harryn said...

"I Don't Know About You" ...?
I know you do.
The part about people in your surroundings mis-reading your facial expression while you were working out a literary issue - right on!
Being a visual animal in this world of cacaphonous glut often leaves me in a state of perpetual bewilderment or confusion when I leave the controlled environment of my studio.
I can't imagine having the 'word filters' working all the time.
Keep on ...

Trules said...

and i thought i was the only one up at 4 a.m., worrying about petty details!

William McPherson said...

Michael,

I think I must have written this. At least in my head. Thanks for doing the work for me.

Bill

Lally said...

I hear you guys, and very grateful that you hear me.

AlamedaTom said...

Lal: Am I missing it or did you fail to reveal "the formula that is helping me focus ..." and the "obvious solution" as per the following:

"But recently I figured out a formula that is helping me focus and organize thousands of pages I've written over the last several years of a seemingly endless memoir about the people I've know in my various "careers" and locations etc. It's an obvious solution that it's taken me decades to discover or rediscover. And it's got me so energized and excited I stay up half the night writing and rewriting ..."

What the heck is "the formula," which is the "obvious solution?"

~ Willy

Lally said...

Well for now brother, it's a secret formula, until I finish the project. Don't want to jinx it etc.

eastcoaster said...

Huh? What was that? I had it around here somewhere.....

VANITAS said...

Thanks for the e. With so much coming at all of us, all the time, I rarely have time to check out my friends' blogs, even when they make me laugh, think, sigh, and finally dig to (as Prince put it) this thing called Life, as yours always do.

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

As my friend Andrei Ridgeway long ago said: "If it gets in the way, it is the way."

Ty Granderson Jones said...

Looks like we are all on this train, taking this journey. Not a coincidence that we are aquainted and love one another. Its the right brain we embrace, our right brain at war with the left brain, as we continued to keep rising and living the creative dream as aging artists in the middle of this modern nightmare.
Love you Mikey....
Ty

Ruby said...

Michael, I'm so happy you sent out an email with a link to your blog. I am also deeply grateful to you for the wisdom and experience, time and listening you shared with me back when. Reading your writing is like listening to some of my favorite music.
ciao for now,
stephanie