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The Daily Communiqué: 4 April 2019 – Procrastination


“… procrastination is deeply existential, as it raises questions about individual agency and how we want to spend our time as opposed to how we actually do.”  (Lieberman, Charlotte. “Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control).” The New York Times, 25 Mar. 2019)

Been there, done that to the point where I’ve lost complete track of what I’m supposed to be doing.  It’s the worst when I’m between day jobs and sit at home trying to convince myself things are getting done.  When clearly they’re not.  “I’m not writing right now because I’m thinking.”  Possibly true, but also a great disguise for procrastination.

I don’t wanna do that thing, usually write that thing, because it’s scary in there.  Big scary.  Even if it’s something no one but me is ever going to see, the inner critic/imposter convinces me I’m better off not even trying.

I mean, it’s not going to be any good right?  So why even try?  I’ll toddle off to do something completely mundane like filing or website clean up or, heaven forfend, dishes.  Yay!  I’m cleaning!  Boo, I’m still not doing the thing I’m supposed to be doing.

It becomes a spiral.  I recognize I’m procrastinating and I feel crappy about it, but I keep finding other things to do.  Until, finally I just give in and do the thing.  Then I wonder what all the fuss was about.

“Procrastination isn’t a unique character flaw or a mysterious curse on your ability to manage time, but a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods induced by certain tasks — boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond.”  (op cit)

As I become healthier, I look to my emotions first.  “This is an interesting reaction to whatever just happened, what’s really going on?”  Knowing my emotional state helps get me going.

As I’ve developed in my writing, it’s gotten harder.  Many writers talk about this, “the better you get at writing, the harder it gets.”  And I often find myself putting off writing something because “ah, man harder?”  As far as I can tell, there is no point at which writing gets easier.

This is why it’s important to me to follow my favorite authors on Twitter and Facebook.  All of them have published books and work hard on their craft.  And all of them, these people which books I’ve paid for and admire from afar, say “This is hard, just shoot me now.”

So it appears I’m in very good company.  And that helps me get past the big scary and write.  Or at least be willing to face the big scary and write anyway.


The Daily Communiqué: 3 April 2019 – Happy Talk

My dear friend, Alexander Watson, sent the song “Happy Talk,” sung by Shezwae Powell, from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical South Pacific.  It’s a reminder not to listen to the inner imposter who tells me I’m not good enough to fulfill the many dreams I have.

Alexander also keeps reminding me that I’m allowed to succeed.  Being allowed to succeed is counter-intuitive to me.  There are so many ways I was set up to not succeed that I began to take it as a given I never would.  Despite the many things I could point to as successes, the overarching attitude I had was I would never succeed.

This has been changing for me, slowly, over the past few years.  Instead of seeing only the failures, I concentrate on the successes.  Sometimes that’s getting out of bed and getting showered.  Other days it’s about writing something I’m proud of.  Little steps take me as far as big ones, so long as I’m patient with myself and keep up the reminders that each moment is an opportunity for success.

Survivors of childhood trauma usually have diagnosable mental illness.  (A cold’s an illness, so is depression.)  And we are hardwired to believe we’re no good, despite evidence to the contrary.

What works for me is finding things to be grateful for.  If it’s a really horrible no good day I look to remembering the things I often take for granted.  I have a place to live and stash all my books, and it has hot and cold running water with indoor plumbing.  I have food in the fridge, clothes to wear, and books to read.  There are friends I reach out to who listen and hold my hand while I take the next step.  I am always and forever grateful for them.

It’s not easy and there are days when I would rather sit in the gray fog, but I’m a busy woman with dreams to make come true.  One more thing to be grateful for.

I’ll end with Ella’s version of “Happy Talk.”

“You gotta have a dream
if you don’t have a dream
How you gonna have a dream come true?”

The Daily Communiqué: 2 April 2019 – The Drink Tank’s Hamilton

I’m in a hurry today.  My editor, Chris Garcia, is patiently waiting for me to get my piece on Alexander Hamilton polished and delivered for publication in his zine, The Drink Tank.

March was unkind to my writing schedule.  Three weeks of bleurgh will do that.  (That’s a highly technical term for the head cold that won’t go away.)  A couple of weeks after starting my new day job, the bleurgh took me out for most of a week.  That was followed by a couple of weeks’ worth of more coughing, wheezing, and general yuckiness during which I’d go to work and then straight to bed.

Chris and I were once co-workers.  I took great delight in getting completely esoteric with him.  My first comment to him was how from a distance he looked like Alan Ginsberg.  Chris’ response literally stopped me in my tracks, “I miss Alan.”  Encounters like this are not rare with Chris.

After parting from our mutual work place, I asked how I could support his zines.  “Words, send me words,” he said.  And that was how my adventure there began.

Click on the tag “On Writing” in the pull down menu labelled Categories on the left hand side and you’ll see links to the editions I have pieces in.

So yeah, I’m in a hurry and need to get the piece about Hamilton to Chris.

The Daily Communiqué: 1 April 2019 – It Begins

The Daily Communiqué is part Brain Pickings, part homage to M. Todd Gallowglas’ Nine Tenths Project, definitely more than online diary.

I have long admired Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings while being completely overwhelmed and intimidated by it.  To be able to spend that much time and energy to go deeply into so many topics is a dream for me.  Maria takes such care with her work, it’s an inspiration.

Which leads me to the work I do with my mentor M. Todd Gallowglas, whose tutelage in Literary Criticism has opened my mind to new ways of reading and writing.  It’s tough work sometimes, learning new ways of thinking usually are.  I have become completely enamored with it.

The Nine Tenths Project is Gallowglas’ annual challenge to himself for writing.  He writes a vignette a day and publishes it on his Patreon.  This project is open to anyone.  It’s exciting to watch the story unfold.

The genesis of my own annual challenge to write and publish daily came while on lunch break not long ago.  Gallowglas’ The Stopwatch Chronicles is part of the inspiration.  His vignettes are nothing short of breath taking, some only a few paragraphs.

I suppose I would describe my project The Daily Communiqué as a way to address all those newsletters in my email that I set aside as something I’ll write about “later.”  Later is now.  Welcome to the show.