You ever find yourself in the middle of too many things at once? I’m there. I’m right there. Right in the middle of a hurricane.
I’m reading (actually reading with my eyeballs) 3 or 4 books at the moment. I’m listening (with my earballs) to another 4 or 5. When none of those hold my interest in the moment, I’m scouring the podcast realm for distraction or I’m watching Baskets and wandering if Louis CK will just be a behind the scenes guy from now on, or if his career is actually over, or…
And this is the rub. I’m enjoying the hell out of all of these random avenues of thought, but I’m also letting them lead me astray. I’m getting further and further away from finishing all of these dozen or so stories that I’ve started and stopped and started and stopped again. It’s a shame, too, because as I go back and read some of the stuff I’ve written, I’m thinking, “Damn, I’d love to see where that goes!” but then I’m off to something else.
I may have an attention deficit disorder.
The more I read, the more the ideas come a’flowin. The more ideas I have, the more my attention seems to split and converge in strange new ways. The ideas I thought were so fantastic suddenly seem like they’re missing something, and if I can just read or listen to or watch or speak to just one more book or podcast or tv show or person, then I’ll find that missing puzzle piece that lets everything fall right into place.
It’s why I like writing songs. Why I let writing songs distract me so thoroughly from everything else. It’s a direct line to one specific thought or feeling I’m having. It’s a moment. A flash of love or pain or discontent or hunger and desire. It’s 3-5 minutes of “LALALALALA!” and then it’s over. I write a bunch of songs. I sing them a dozen times, just enough to record them, and then I never look at them again. The moment’s over. If I want to relive that moment, I have to spend a couple of hours relearning how to play it all over again. Maybe in 20 years or so, I’ll have them all memorized and I’ll put on a little concert in the middle of a busy street. Maybe that’s my retirement plan.
I just finished a couple of Robert Greene books: The Art of Seduction and The 48 Laws of Power. I’m still reading Catcher in the Rye, of course. Yesterday, I flew through John Eldredge’s EPIC because I’m getting ready to fly off to Montana, and it’s required reading. I’m skimming through a book by a psychic PhD lady from New York who’s teaching me all about Personal Resonance (I forget the name of the book, but look up that personal resonance thing if you’re curious, and you should find it). I’m reading The Obstacle Is The Way, a how-to guide on living stoically. I’ve got Dale Carnegie’s updated-for-the-information-age How to Win Friends all cued up for tonight’s listening pleasure, and if that doesn’t cream my twinkie, then I’ll be downloading The Road to Jonestown or The Will to Power, all of which I’ll probably listen to at 2x speed while I work so that my brain doesn’t have a chance to rest (I get sleepy when I start daydreaming).
And what is all of this leading to? Ya know, I don’t know. I’m probably going to start working on Echo again. I might tear apart On Fire and shrink it back down to the 30 or so pages it was before I convinced myself that it deserved to be longer. I have another couple that I haven’t posted excerpts from that deserve some love, but again, I’m thinking I’ll probably shorten them up. I want to see my work completed, damn it, so I think I’m going to take a step back from novelizing my dreams and flights of fancy in favor of capsulizing the core ideas. I can always go back and add to them later, but I think having the sense of completion, one after another after another… I think it’ll feed this monkey on my back really well.
I should find a writing partner. What are you doing for the next ten years or so?