Friday, December 1, 2017

"Another 'Break In The Action' (Because I Apparently Wrote One Already")

I guess I do this once in a while.  I didn’t remember until my Apple “Desktop” said, “This title already exists.”  It’s upsetting when computers keep me from making mistakes.  Who wants to know you need help from a machine?  The “heart-lung” machine – I enjoyed that one.  But not all assisting technology is equally appreciated.

Anyway… grumble, grumble

I leave tomorrow for a week at Rancho La Puerta – that fitness spa I go to in Mexico. 

Finally.  I said the name.  So what if giving it publicity makes it harder for me to get in.  No more secrets!  I can finally stand tall.  And not because I am writing at a stand-up desk.  I’d be standing tall, sitting down.  That’s how liberated I feel.

You want their phone number?  Fine.  1-800 443-7565. 

There.  I am totally empty.       

I am visiting the Rancho alone this time.  Some people in this family are still working.  While others bask in the pampering program of “Men’s Nap”, “Men’s Bath” and “Men’s Hammock.”

There are advantages to permanent redundancy.  Not many.  But when you are offered a restorative “Watsu” (water massage) treatment, you take it.   

Anyway… for a second and hopefully final occasion…

Although I am bringing along my laptop and may possibly write there – if I can figure out the “Password” – I take this transitional moment for an informal evaluation, wherein I assess the blogatorial state of Just Thinking.  

The state of Just Thinking is, both creatively and enthusiastically, steady as she goes.  I am unaware of “readership fluctuation” because I deliberately don’t look.  It is no secret that the primary objective of this exercise is to keep my mind from deteriorating into pancake batter.  Your appreciation of my efforts is… the exact opposite of “Collateral Damage.”  I do something for me, which then ricochets to you. 

Call it “Collateral Benefit.”  All good.  And no funerals.

Here’s the thing, though.  Not complaining.  Explaining.

When you write five blog posts a week, you must have – Duh! – five blog post ideas.  In the context of “output”, I’m like a streaky ballplayer.  Sometimes, the ideas pop into my head in bunches – “Pop!  Pop!  Pop!” – and I scoop them up in a net, if you’ll excuse the mixed “popcorn-fish catching” metaphor.

Then, there are the inevitable “dry spells” where I am thinking, “Game Over.”  At those points, I rummage through previously scribbled idea suggestions, although when I read most of them, I find them frustratingly incomprehensible.  Either because I have no idea what they mean anymore, or because I am unable to read my own handwriting.  I stand there, helplessly thinking, “I bet that’s a good one.  I wonder what it says.” 

What is it with old people’s handwriting?  I have the jagged scrawl of a past away skeleton. 

Creative “peaks and valleys” – it comes with the territory.  And I am proud to say – “Knock wood”, or whatever this standup desk is made out of – that not once in, approaching ten years, have I ever come up entirely empty. 

I may be relegated to writing a post about my inability to write a post, but I always write something.  And by the way, those “Cupboard is bare” posts can be surprisingly… not terrible.
The thing is… wait.

You know how some writers, like Mark Twain and Bill Bryson, write highly enjoyable travel books?  You know one of the primary reasons they travel?  So they’ll have something to write about. 

Mount Vesuvius explodes while you are visiting Pompey?  It’s like, “Where’s my notebook!”  No way a volcano erupts, sitting in your living room.  You have to go there and almost get lava on your shoes.  Or nearly drown on a perilous sea cruise.  (In these books, it is always “almost” or “nearly.”  Otherwise, it’s an obituary.  And it is written by somebody else.)

Traveling is not only broadening, it is effusively “content providing.”  (Plus, they can write the “travel expenses” off of their taxes.)  If you don’t go places, and – here comes an extensive list – if you avoid the current entertainment because it is too dark or too violent or not comedically to your liking; if you are impeded from writing about ideas because, of late, reasoned argument has been supplanted by fevered emotion; if you can’t write about culture because your measured opinions conflict with ideological one-sidedness; if the arena of employment is unavailable to you because your career “went dark” in 2004; and if you are committed to not droningly repeating yourself or sounding like everything imaginable was better when you were younger…

What exactly is there left to write about?

How much I enjoy sleeping?  How I am afraid of my gigantic shower soap?  How I am writing these posts standing up? 

How many of those can I come up with?

With inexorably shrinking available “areas of investigation” I’m like an embattled muskox, facing a diminishing “natural habitat”, who has four trees to eat fruit off of, and it is always the same fruit.  (Full Disclosure:  I have no idea what muskox actually eat.  Call it an artistic, yet appropriate, “flight of fancy.”)

Hopefully, relaxation at the Rancho will help me chart an enabling way forward.  Although once when I was visiting and I revealed I was writing a blog called Just Thinking, a fellow guest candidly observed,

“Why would anyone care what you have to say?”

I am still reeling from that one.

That guest also gave me a great restaurant recommendation in London.

That’s what happens when you get out of the house.

Helpful or devastating, there is always new material.

And when you stay home…

There’s less.


Wendy M. Grossman said...

That guy sounds like my mother.


Penniless Ed said...

I could either spend a week at your spa...or buy groceries for a year.