Monday, April 13, 2009

Slight Movement, and Stacking Trays


There. That's better.

So, I hit the publish button. Then I went downstairs, kissed my husband, and made a strong martini. We sat and talked, and I started to feel the tiniest bit better. Lighter. My martini made me slightly drunk and my eyes welled with tears and I told J I could do it! I could reach my potential! This was it.

The next morning I woke up utterly panicked. I had to delete that post! It was way too personal; likely my most intimate piece to-date. I ran to my office and promptly pressed the power button on my computer.

Then I went downstairs and ate waffles. I took deep breaths and went about my Saturday morning routine. This is a good thing, I told myself. This is a fresh start.

I kept reassuring myself on the elliptical at the gym. I kept breathing as I walked into Staples.

And here I froze. Because I have this thing.

It's this very real obsession with starting fresh. And this obsession brings with it the acquisition of new notebooks, journals, and planners.

It's a distinct pattern in my life, you see. I can't finish what I start, but I can start anew. And so that's what I do, over and over again. My bookshelves are littered with unfinished journals, mindless new beginnings, year after year.

I wish I could tell you I broke my pattern. But like a junkie, I feel victim to all of those shiny new FiveStars, chock-full of fresh, clean, blank goodness. I stayed so long in the aisle picking them up and running my fingers over their smooth covers that a salesperson asked me if I needed help. (Ha!) I picked out two identical books: one black and one gray. And I told myself firmly: This is the last time. You cannot do this again. You need to commit. You just committed. There.


So I earmarked one of the books for "GMAT Studies"; the other for "Writing and Ideas". I also bought some shiny new rollerball pens, for good measure.


On Sunday I opened up my dog-eared copy of Overcoming Procrastination. I took out my highlighter and started to read about stacking trays. I bought the plastic trays in January when I organized my files. I piled three on a cabinet, labeled Mel's Inbox, Mel's Outbox, and To File.

On Friday evening, directly before the HolyShitYouHaven'tSentInYourTaxesWhatIsWrongWithYourGoddamnBrain debacle of '09, J looked at the mound of papers in my Inbox and asked, "Babe, do you ever go through these? I'm getting worried you are missing things."

Er, yeah. I am missing the entire point of the goddamn stacking trays, thankyouverymuch.

I revisited the trays on Sunday. And do you know what I almost bloody neglected? A tiny postcard, from the New York Center for Independent Publishing. The invitation to the annual conference, with keynote speaker:

Wally is only my favorite writer. Ever. He's brilliant and insightful and moving and humane. I want to take walks with him through meadows and hold his hand and swap life stories.


I screamed, then bounded down the stairs waving the postcard wildly. "J! J! Guess whaaaaaattttt?!"

It was good news. And maybe it's the impetus I need to begin living my actual life.

Also, to file (promptly!) under Things that Put All Your Bullshit into Perspective:

Yesterday, as we celebrated Easter Sunday at Grandpop's house, my mom pulled out a silver book commemorating my grandparents' 25th Wedding Celebration. It was full of guest lists, gifts, and keepsakes. One card was from my late Grandma Bea, whom in 1979 wrote a letter to her husband thanking him for being such a wonderful man. "We haven't always had it easy, but we have four wonderful kids who are so good to us. We have our health; and we have each other. I don't tell you this enough, but I love you."

My beloved grandpop (who is still young and spry) wrote a note to Bea as well, entitled "Our first Ten Years, 1954 - 1964"). In 1961, he said, "I lost my job; but I didn't lose you."

Yeah, and then my heart burst.

I am optimistic.

In front of the Sphinx in Cairo, just because it's awesome.

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