Saturday, October 11, 2014

Schedules

A schedule is a plan with a goal in mind.  You have no problem with the inherent philosophy of that definition. You have goals, some of which are prerequisites for larger goals, which in turn are equivalents of defining moments and activity.  You in effect schedule the lesser goals in order to provide you with time to work at the larger ones.

Most of these ancillary or lesser goals center on the act of getting out of bed in the morning.  This is not so easy as it may sound. First off, you need to overcome the inertia of the dawdle or daydream, the delicious moments in which your mind is allowed to wander as though you were in a large, well-stocked library, about to browse rather than being there to research a specific subject or secure a specific title for borrowing.  

You in effect dawdle over the must-do activities of the day.  One or more classes.  One or more appointments.  One or more random obligations for which there will be consequences should you not meet them.  Say you will have no milk to steam for making coffee if you do not go to some market to secure milk.  Say you will find yourself in a class room, in effect betraying the interest and intentions of students if you have not some schedule or plan or notes or a combination of all these for implementing at class time.

So you begin scheduling minor goals in the service of achieving larger ones.  You try your best to factor into these schedules some reward that is at once tangible and yet ethereal.  This last factoring is in the sense of the reward being some awareness of some new information.  Or perhaps the reward is the awareness of feeling good about yourself for putting yourself in the way of understanding one additional mote of awareness about yourself, the universe in which you live, and the identity of things about you.  

Only Thursday, for example, you saw an agreeable-looking bird with an orangish beak, and legs that were white-to-gray.  You'd been led to believe the bird was a California toucan, which sounded like a plausible name for such a bird.  But in subsequent increments, you learned there is no such bird, a fact that at once reminds you how relatively little you know about birds, and a greater sense of how a name or explanation that sounds plausible can make an imaginary thing sound real.  The real name of the bird, who has a matte black body, is an American Oyster Catcher.  

While you were watching the bird, his behavior caused you to assume it got a good deal of nourishment from mollusks, mussels and the like.  Because you do not think 
oysters are plentiful in your general area, you now have another assumption to check on, which is that the bird has migrated here from more northern climes and is potentially on a leg of a migration.


In a vibrant and real sense, many mornings you are not even out of bed (as you ought to be) but you have learned things and/or firmed an attitude.  You are in effect scheduling awareness and potential understanding, and yet you are still in bed.

There are mornings when you have early classes and so you must schedule being out of bed, beyond dawdling, and into such activities as shaving, dressing, making coffee, making sure your cat is provided with a nourishing breakfast and some measure of affection.  Failure in any of these areas can provoke disastrous results such as you arriving in class unshaven, without coffee, without your own breakfast, and with the possible additional consequence that Goldfarb has also been shorted.

There are mornings when you are more or less free to dawdle, which sometimes has the consequence of you finding yourself at the computer or note pad, composing without having wake-up coffee or breakfast or without having fed Goldfarb.  Even though this interrupts your more or less conventional meal patterns and coffee intake, you've become aware of the pleasing consequences of being distracted away from these and into the satisfying consequences of composition.

For about six years of your employment with one publishing company, you were responsible for providing a weekly schedule of the status and progress of every book title you had contracted, where it was in relationship to the various editing and design stations, then on into being released for composition, scheduled for printing and being shipped.  The publisher was impressed with these details because the publisher was obsessive about details--any details.  The sales manager was yet more interested in these details, at times asking for even more of them, expressing concerns that certain of these scheduling plateaus had not been met, in spite of your belief that the sales department would not sell more copies of the book if more information had been met.

The publisher and sales manager were not impressed with your linking these scheduling plateaus to The Stations of the Cross, which is one of the reasons why your career with this publisher did not extend beyond six years.  Your observations and attitudes to them remain reflective of your attitudes to schedules.

However nice it is to believe that if you composed one keepable page of a new manuscript per year, you'd have a new book every year, you are not of the sort who always knows what a keepable page is or if the scheduling of five or six hours of composition a day is going to produce a tangible result.

You are an individual given to the dawdle, the daydream, the sidewise digression, the leapfrogging of story arc, the taker of risk and, for that matter, of naps.


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