Sunday, August 16, 2009

Portfolio Piece: The Debate

I said in my first blog post that I would be sharing some fiction and work from the archive. I figured tonight would be a good time for that. I will note when I pull something previously written by calling it a "Portfolio Piece". I am posting a commentary piece I wrote during the presidential debates last fall. Old, I know, but still relevant as it is not really about the debate. Anyway, enjoy!

As I sit here and watch the debate I am dumbstruck. Do not worry. This has nothing to do with politics or even the state of the nation. This is much smaller and much more tangible. I am in my living room perched on the couch, work clothes still on, shoes off. I am able to see myself from the outside. I become aware of my breathing and everything seems to slow down. In this moment, like none other before, I realize that I am an adult. I am my mother and my father. I am every teacher that has ever stood before me with a lesson in hand.

I look at the floor in front of me and imagine a small child. I imagine her playing with something that keeps her in one position, like a coloring book. She would be less concerned with the history unfolding on our television and more concerned with what color blue to use for the sky. She would be pulled from her shading when she hears something about polar bears not being able to live on melting ice. That would get her attention. She would drop her crayon and look, not to the television but up at me. She would be waiting for a sign that the world is okay. She would see how intently I am watching the screen and the few men talking feverishly.

She would notice that I examine each word. I weigh the plans and promises of both politicians against my own ideas. I try to search their faces for authenticity. I have thoughts on every topic, but I do not have fear. Just as a passenger of a plane might look to a flight attendant during turbulence, the little girl would look to me and find comfort.

I must admit that my mind is made up. I know whom I will vote for and knowing does not alter my need to watch. I want to feel connected to my country, to this process, to this moment. As the debate moves on, I realize how much I already know and how strong my opinions are. I realize how important this time is and that I am living history. I realize that with or without little kids playing beneath me, I am now my parents and my teachers. I am an adult. It is scary and real but with the new role, I am not allowed to be scared and so I watch.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Later Will Be Better: A Procrastinator's Promise

My horoscope today said that my creative upswing would be coming to an end. I took that to mean that today was opposite day and my ability to focus and create would come rushing in like it has so many times before.

There are so many things I should be focusing on and I always seem to choose the one that should be put on a back burner. In college I always chose the night before a paper was due to rearrange my room or give the apartment a deep cleaning. Even earlier this year after my boy and I sat down and had a long and exhausting talk over career options and opportunities for growth, I decided to paint the office.

There's something to it and I don't know what. For the most part my backwards way of working has played out alright. I clean when I should be writing. I work-out when I should be cleaning, I write when I should be sleeping, and so on. But in the end it all gets done. Sometimes though, I wish I was better at directing myself. It is like I'm a rebelling teenager only I'm the one setting the tasks in the first place.

I love making to-do lists. I love feeling organized. I'll create lengthy and complicated lists and hold onto them for weeks at a time. Rarely are the easy things done first but there is something satisfying in looking back at what I've accomplished even if the accomplishment is an oil change.

My boy often says anything big you want to do is just a series of small steps. He's right. Imagine planning a trip to Europe. It's buying tickets, picking destinations, hotels, etc. Each step is one small thing but without addressing each step, you can miss something major or even worse, you may never go to Europe.

My relationship is wonderful but I have to admit that in some aspects we are so different. He does not have this problem with procrastination. He puts off things like putting away dishes and socks. But I think my whole schedule of doing things at off times, completely confuses him.

I guess my reason for writing this is to ask, doesn't everybody procrastinate a little bit? I don't know if I'd trust somebody who said they never procrastinated on anything, ever. Tonight, I did not do laundry, I did not finish reading my book, but I did write and I did put up a new background which I think I'm pretty happy with. I need to mark if off my to do list... tomorrow.