In a strange and twisted way, I view writing as being similar to doing the dishes. Not saying that they’re both chores and I often leave both until they become desperate and mandatory situations requiring immediate action, although that shoe often fits more often then not as well…
They’re both things that I seem to avoid to do, almost to a fault. Deadlines fly by and dishes pile up. But once I do in fact begin the deed, it’s not that bad. Dishes provide a great time to reflect. Hell, I thought of this meandering passage of meaningless babble up to my elbows in dishwater.
They’re both almost addictive once I get started. Having to see the task through to the end. Just like coloring in coloring books, where I imagined that I had to color each part of the picture for it to actually come alive. The order, the process, the tangible start and finish of it all, it attracts me.
Of course this is just babble. Most everything I write here these days (or months from the look at the archives) is just to catch that first whiff of the words, the first dip of the quill and to focus that energy elsewhere. Rarely, if ever do I say what I mean to say. But I’ve already explained that all before.
For now, I have dishwater getting colder, dishes needing cleaner and then the real chores of words on a page for some other master.
A long time ago I read the book “The Know-It-All” about a guy who read the whole Encyclopedia Britannica set and wrote a book about the process. I think I might have mentioned it before. Either way the book sits on a side table with a bunch of notes stuck in it of things I found interesting and wanted to write about.
Flipping through it recently, I came across a mention of facial feedback. The basic idea is that if your brain feels your face in a happy position (like smiling), then your brain figures you must be happy and thus it puts into play all those chemical reactions that happen in your body. It’s an interesting concept, the idea to smile when you are feeling blue.
In the same breath, there’s this entry from Scott Adams’ blog, which basically says that it is society’s tendency to bring everyone into the norm. So if you’re sad, everyone wants you to be happy. If you’re too happy, then they want to bring you back down a peg or two. It’s a bit of a scary idea, but it makes plenty of sense. Adams even talks about a few ways to protect your own feelings of happiness so that the mass majority doesn’t eventually bring you down. (Basically inwardly happy, outwardly complaining).
Reading the Scott Adams’ entry makes me think of Matt Good’s latest record. Good went through a lot of crap, involving a divorce, a near death, a hospitalization and some ongoing psychiatric problems. Through it all, he wrote music, eventually releasing the CD “Hospital Music”. It’s a pretty amazing record. I’ve since gone to see him play live once in September, and will undoubtedly go again when he returns in May. The record has been successful, with a strong niche of his fans forming almost a support community that can be found on his website. Applying that whole scenario to the Scott Adams’ post, one has to wonder if the record would have been as well received and as successful if Good was not as open and forthcoming about what inspired the record.
While it’s not nice to think that if you are happy, something will inevitably bring you down (the ol’ ‘this too shall pass’), it is nice to see the world itself bringing people back up. Obviously, Matt Good’s example isn’t a good reflection of this happening for everyone, but it’s the most visible one. Everyone finds happiness in different ways and everyone has different levels of feeling good.