R is for restless.


I don’t think I can sit here long enough to get this done.

Harried, choppy, then lazy and bored. Am I too busy or not busy enough? It doesn’t matter…either way nothing is getting done.

I watch reruns of sitcoms because 20 minutes into a full-length movie I’m jumping off the couch to do something else before I forget.

You know what I really should take the time to do? Nah—forget it.

It’s not that I’m absent of ideas—the lists are long. Always with the lists. And when I get like this they hover over me, threatening to squash me with the heaviness of their paper-thin weight, heavy with black lines of tasks, chores, responsibilities and even hobbies.

The writing is the first to go…the blogs, the novels, the magazine queries, the fiction-writing contests. Of course they don’t disappear—the written reminder lies in wait; even worse is the niggling memory that it still hasn’t been done and won’t go away until it is.

Then it’s the housework. It’s just way too much effort to go upstairs, bring down the vacuum and then actually use it.

There’s not even motivation to figure out why there’s no motivation. Nothing’s wrong. Not sad, not depressed, not distraught, not sick… just…meh.

Eventually it’s the fun stuff that goes, too—Twitter and Facebook and phone calls to friends and even outings. SUCH an effort to make the plans, especially when the plans don’t hold your interest long enough to make them.

Wait? What was I talking about? Oh yeah.

Sit on the couch. Hold the remote with the television still off. It’s a big commitment to choose a channel. Then while you’re scanning the guide to decide there will always be some loudmouth pundit shrieking away about something you’re not paying attention to anyway. Or it’ll be Sarah Palin. It’s always Sarah Palin. Luckily she’s easy to tune out, folksy twang and all.

Flip through a magazine. Pictures are pretty. This looks like an interesting article—wow, that first line sucked. Turn the page.

This isn’t relaxation, either. That takes too much concentration and effort.

So stuff piles up—book, magazines, mail, shows on the DVR, voicemails, texts, blog comments that require a response. Every day that goes by is one less day’s worth of writing, one less day to actually accomplish something and succeed. And still, time ticks by…not fast enough to get you moving, but still.

Eventually, you’ll be lying there, watching “Murder She Wrote” (the episode in Cairo; only seen it about 18 times) but not really listening. Foggy brain, tired eyes, restless hands. And in the middle of it all, the best first line ever pops into your brain:

  • “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
  • “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
  • “Call me Ishmael.”

Yup, the best first line except for, you know, one that somebody else didn’t already write.

And then you’re moving forward again, writing stuff, doing stuff, cleaning stuff, watching stuff, getting stuff done.

The restless time in between? That’s just where the good stuff comes from.

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