Friday, September 3, 2010

Procrastination with a Purpose

During a reasonable week, which is to say a week in which you have more time than most unreasonable weeks, you have a fair amount of time to spend working at a project close to your heart and growing closer although perhaps more fearsome.  During such weeks you frequently order things from Amazon dot com or organizations like Amazon, places such as the estimable Powell's Books in Portland OR, or Tattered Covers in Denver, CO, or even the redoubtable Vroman's in Pasadena, CA.  More often than not you order books but sometimes there will be protective housing for an iPod Touch or super sensitive earphones the better to capture sounds from said iPod Touch.  An occasional pair of shoes, possibly even the new Canon printer ordered when you lost for the last time your temper with an HP printer and wished to disinherit it.

Since your taste in things to order is eclectic, the packages arriving in consequence of your procrastinations and dithering come in a variety of sizes and shapes.  In one of these reasonable weeks, you may well have ordered more things than you can keep track of, which is a good thing and, like most events in life a simultaneous bad thing.  It is true that when you do order something it is never a pure luxury; it will always have some useful application.  If it is a book, for instance, it is invariably one you would consider reviewing for your every-other-week Golden Oldie as opposed to the alternate week's selection from among the newly published.

You knew the big box was the Canon Printer because it showed a picture of a Canon printer on the box.  No surprise there.  But you'd forgotten entirely that you'd ordered a book that was an anthology of articles on acting techniques from various acting coaches and you were pleasantly surprised to see that you'd ordered the Fifth Piano Concerto of Serge Prokofiev, even though that turned out not to have been the piano concerto you thought it was.

Part of the rationale behind maintaining this blog with some relevant entry every day is to maintain the habit of setting forth into the unknown with no clear idea of what will appear, only that something, a forgotten package, will arrive in the form of an idea of notion which you must then unwrap to discover its contents.  The more often you set forth with nothing in mind, the more habitual it will be for some package to arrive somewhere along the appearance of the third or fourth paragraph, producing that most favored condition of being aboard the bucking bronco of an idea you are attempting to ride out until the buzzer sounds.

At times the "packages" that arrive remind you of white elephant gift exchanges, which is to say some of the ideas or concepts do not reflect the interest you may have felt when you were first unwrapping them, nor do they provide enough surge of energy to tempt you into rethinking, reformatting, or somehow reworking them into something more frangible.

It is, as you have discovered, pure risk, a risk that is sometimes ameliorated by the high of recognizing you've formed some sort of connection.  This theoretical connection may even be something you later discover is well known to nearly everyone of your acquaintance but you.  It is nice at your present age or at any of your ages in the past to have finally seized upon something that has been considered common knowledge or conventional wisdom, a fact that causes you to experience the relief of having caught up with yourself for a moment or two.  It is of course mind boggling to arrive at something you sense is out there, waiting to be noticed, waiting to be brought into the argument you seek to engage with Reality and Fantasy.  When such a package arrives and you struggle to get it opened, you get from your reaction the brief sense of why you are the eccentric and dissident and romantic and cynic and skeptic you are.

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