Time Slips

Birthdays are best in PRINT!

A week without a blog post from me? In that time I have:

  • graded all my courses
  • traveled from upstate NY to Dundee
  • had a lovely birthday

I spent yesterday being pampered by my sweetie. He and Allan sang me awake with a present of series seven of Doctor Who which I had missed altogether, so I watched the whole thing yesterday! Now I’m ready for the Xmas special. I had a chocolately pirate cake which was just wonderful. Allan and I built things on Minecraft, including a maze that was so convoluted you couldn’t actually get through it.

My favourite part is riding around in the mine cart on a pig with a saddle. Simple joys!

So with the birthday and all the timey-wimey goodness of Doctor Who, it’s hard not to feel a little wistful at how quickly it all flies by. As I think this I hear in the back of my head the Fall song, “Bill is Dead”. It might sound a bit morbid from the title, but it’s not for me. Whatever might have been intended by the song (and far be it from MES to mislead anyone in an interview, right?) the verses swing from dissolute disappointment to surprised joy. The chorus comes across as tinged with both sarcastic irony and genuine hope:

These are finest times of my life
This is the greatest time of my life
This is the greatest time of my life
These are the biggest times of my life

I can’t help but makeover the mantra my own way (that’s the thing with creations: once you loose them on the world, they take on lives of their own). We spend so much time regretting the past, or worrying about the possibilities of the future. All we really have is now. Sometimes that now is wonderful, sometimes it is horrible — usually it’s somewhere in between. But it’s all we have and we really need to make the most of it. It doesn’t always mean conquering the world, but it means being honest with yourself and thoughtful about what matters to you. When you discard the unnecessary, it’s amazing what you can do in a short time.

But be honest with yourself: what do you want to accomplish? What are you doing now to make that happen? I asked my freelance writing class how many of them planned to continue writing now that the semester (and my ‘writing is hard work so you have to love it’ theme) was over. Maybe a third raised their hands. I expect it will be even fewer who actually carry through with it. People like the idea of writing; unlike painters, professional athletes and oh, let’s say shark hunters, folks assume they could do your job if they had the time. Because they possess the rudimentary ability to make sentences, they assume that’s the same as writing. Guess what? The average sentence has as much relation to writing as my stick figures do to Turner or Fini.

Here’s the secret to writing: you write. You ‘make time’ for everything else (or don’t — as is the case of many things you find out don’t matter that much: cleaning, watching a lot of television, ‘shopping’ which seems to be defined as wistfully walking around malls gazing at things you don’t really need but the advertising convinces you that you want). Let the things you make time for be precious: the people you love, the beauties of this world, creating something — anything — should be the heart of it.

But if  you do make time for things that matter, you’ll find the days are much better.

Allan's Giant Pig Chair: a glorious monument to whimsy

Allan’s Giant Pig Chair: a glorious monument to whimsy

Oops — and I forgot! I’m also featured in the December BroadPod, reading from Owl Stretching along with Jean Marie Ward, LC Hu, Julia Rios and Justine Graykin.

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