Deleting My To-Do Lists

I make lists for everything:

  • My Daily Schedule
  • Goals (Short-Term and Long-Term)
  • Workout Plans
  • Reminders
  • Books to Read
  • Things to Write About
  • Etc.

Instead of waking up with an organized game plan, I’m dispirited by all the shit I need to do. Everything feels like work. If a good opportunity or event emerges unexpectedly—a chance encounter with a friend, excitement about writing something new—I enjoy it less because I’m worried about disrupting the Daily Schedule List.

Who cares if I finish my novel-in-progress in March or May? I want to write it and will, but it’s less thrilling when I have to complete three scenes a week. Maybe one scene needs a whole week of my energy. That’s OK.

Who cares if I read a book that isn’t part of my voluntary To-Read List? Maybe that’s the book I really need to read, and everything else I’d previously listed needs to wait.

Would I exercise more if my Workout Set List was: “Go to Gym and Do Whatever You Feel Like”? Yes, I would exercise more.

So no more lists. No more personal deadlines. I’ll just do whatever feels essential in the moment. I’ll get more done and do it better.

Air Pop

Microwave popcorn is expensive and comes in bags coated with creepy chemicals. I don’t honestly expect those chemicals to give me liver cancer, but it seems crazy to choose a healthy snack lightly covered in perfluorooctanoic acid. It’d be like choosing celery sticks with just a hint of rat pee.

For a while I popped corn in canola oil on the stove, which was fun and old-fashioned, and made me feel like a real frontiersman with a Le Creuset signature pot. But then I had to clean the pot, and something about the flavor (was it the trace of oil?) didn’t sit well.

Today my wife surprised me with a classic air popper. There’s no cleanup or chemicals, the corn tastes terrific, and — here’s the clincher — I get to watch the little devils pop.


Don’t Be Fooled. Adventure Is Afoot.

Where’s all the adventure on this blog? Is this going to be it—Hamlet quotes, yard animals, and the occasional mini-essay about weird conversations?

Don’t be fooled. Adventure is afoot.

I’m a father, husband, and necktie-wearing writer. Sounds boring. Looks boring.

I’m not the type who dyes his hair blue, dashes off to New Zealand, and stages nude performances with fire and ukuleles. Such moves come naturally to some people, but they would be inauthentic coming from me, and no one likes or trusts inauthenticity.

(Now and then, I meet a blue-hair fire type who’s trying too hard and seems a little panicked on the inside, because they’re desperate to be an exciting individual and worry they’re not doing it right. I always want to hug them and say, “It’s OK to have brown hair. People will still love you.”)

I wear neckties because I like them. I love writing. I adore my family and house. And so from the outside, I appear to be a conservatively dressed homebody who sits a lot and has zero adventures.

But perpend:

Adventure: Obsessing for years over a single story, exposing the finished book to the public, wiping the blood out of my eyes, and doing it again. This is the emotional equivalent of feeding myself into a laundry mangler every morning.

Adventure: Co-creating a marriage that’s fresher, racier, and more enlivening after twenty years of being together.

Adventure: Fathering a son toward happy, guitar-slinging, non-assholish 21st-century manhood.

Adventure: Waking up without automatic joy and serendipity, and then finding it, swashbuckler-style, and sharing it with people I know, or strangers like you, instead of coiling into a miserable little pillbug of self-pity.

Adventure: Anything life or death. This includes the tiniest, least-noticeable sparks and epiphanies. Is it obnoxious to suggest the right song can save your life? Or a single kiss? How about a kiss with a little tongue in it?

Depression and death aren’t always active forces. Sometimes they’re merely the lack of sparks–the voids, the lulls–and the effort to generate sparks is the entire work of living. That’s often tough to do. Believe me, I know.

This blog exists because, most days, the voids and lulls threaten to depress me, and whenever that happens now, I’ll say to myself, “Do something. Find something. Any spark is better than this dark, emotional heat-death.”

But yeah, sometimes I’ll have flashier adventures, too. Maybe I’ll travel to the Island of the Women this year. Maybe I’ll go crazy for an odd new endeavor, as in the summer I grew a 314-lbs. pumpkin in the yard. Some catastrophe or tragedy may, God forbid, force me into unqualified ADVENTURE.

In the meantime… Hamlet quotes, yard animals, and mini-essays about weird conversations?

Of course.


[Image source: Pulp Covers]

Chickadees and Titmice Are Eating the Frozen Roll

The frozen roll that travelled from the western side of the house, to the front porch, and finally to the Japanese maple on the eastern side of the house is now being eaten by chickadees and titmice.

(Titmouse not shown in photo. He was there moments earlier, however, and was impressively vocal about the roll.)

Black Cat stalking the birds as they sampled the roll would really make this story a white-knuckler, wouldn’t it?

Read other posts about the frozen roll.