I noticed the other day that it’s been almost seven months since I last posted anything here. What have I been doing? LOTS of reading (99 books this year so far) and relaxing (including plenty of naps). May was my wife’s 60th birthday and our 35th anniversary so there was a cruise from the Canary Islands to Morocco to Portugal (which I fell in love with).
Throughout, I was thinking about posting, including several about our trip. You can see how well I followed through on that. And that is just one item on my list of things to do.
Given the number of things I’d started but not seen through to fruition, I’ve been feeling a tad disconcerted. But last week I read an essay that echoed much of what I’ve been thinking. Like me, James Wallace Harris wants to spend some of his post-work years writing. Also like me, he more often feels like kicking back and daydreaming about writing as opposed to actually writing. He’s clearly accomplished more in the way of writing than I have but, as I’ve said here a couple times before, I tend to follow the idea that “If the desire to write is not accompanied by actual writing, then the desire must be not to write.”
Once I tell people who ask me what I’ve been doing, I occasionally see a kind of odd expression in their face. It’s as if they fear I’ve become some sort of lost soul. But here’s where Mr. Harris really matches my frame of mind.
Don’t assume I’m depressed. I’m never bored. I go to bed every night near midnight, regretting the day is over, and wishing I had more time. Every day I do get a few things done I want, but mostly I overindulge my whims. And that’s quite satisfying too, in a heroin kind of analogy. My problem is I have too many things I both want to do, and feel like doing.
To put it my own inartful way, there’s so much I want to do that I’m too busy to get any of it done. Besides, doing little or nothing can be a lot of work.
…it is very important to be idle with confidence, with devotion, possibly even with joy.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters on Life