one thing at a time

I hate multi-tasking. I do it to myself, I know, but I also know I’m infinitely more efficient when I can focus on one thing at a time.

This workplace does not allow for that. I don’t believe anything good ever comes from split focus. All those things we talk about that make life bearable and create possibilities for happiness or growth, they all start with focus and presence.

There is no such thing when multi-tasking is the norm.

There is only frustration, disorganization and poorly done work.

(I mistyped that as pooly originally, which would be appropriate, because the work that comes out of split focus is often shit.)

I need to find ways to focus. To do one thing at a time. That begins, I think, with telling people to shut up and go away. These constant interruptions, these demands to follow them down some unnecessary rabbit hole, they need to stop. FIGURE IT OUT YOURSELVES. It’s not actually that difficult if you put even a modicum of brainpower to it.

Also, I don’t need to hear your life story, or the story of the last call you took, or whatever random thing you feel you have to regurgitate out of your mouth at me. I’m considered by most to be a quiet guy. There’s a reason for that. The older I get, the more I realize that those who talk the most have the least to say.

I only try to speak when it’s appropriate, when it’s necessary or I have something to convey. And even then, I try to keep it to the point. The only time this isn’t true is when I’ve had a beer or two and we’re just bullshitting around. I like joking around. It’s important. It’s fun. Otherwise, conversations should exist to solve problems, to create understanding, to communicate ideas that need communication.

Anything else means shut the fuck up and listen. Or go about your business.

Silence is the greatest gift.

huh, again

Well, this is exciting. I broke down my writing career into a little more than three dozen book ideas, plus another dozen or so comic ideas, and like a lot of writers, a few hundred short story ideas. All in all, by the time I was done brainstorming, I had almost two thousand ideas.

Anyway, for the first part, while I was writing The Mungk, I thought I’d take a crack at a half-dozen other smaller things while I was at it, and you know what? As of today, three of the four things I’ve sent out have been published (or will be shortly, which is cool). The fourth is a comic book whose artist is yet to be found (well, technically, he was found – a friend of mine whose style was perfect for it, but we’ve been out of touch for while. I miss him, to be honest. I meant it to be a one-off, a showcase issue to show I can write and he can draw, by giving lots of different looks to create, intended as a one-and-done, intentionally light and self-contained. It was more punchline than plot, which was fine. It had an internal logic.)

Anyway, someday on the comic, I hope, even if I have to do it myself, like so many of my indie heroes. (Unlike my indie heroes, I don’t draw often, so let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that, since you know. Not great.)

There’s another “super-secret” project that’s really just freewriting around a very loose idea, to be published for free online, more of an audience builder/test subject type thing, but we’ll see. It won’t be officially published anywhere save as a self-published, online deal.

But still. Exciting. And kudos to the editors, particularly Tom Ball at Fleas On The Dog and Matthew Sorrento at Retreats From Oblivion. Great editing means addition from subtraction and they’ve both done a hell of a job with my short little pieces. Good on them for being better able to see what I could not. We get so close to these things that we lose perspective sometimes. Having someone who can see through it and strip the fat from it, even in a piece of flash fiction like The Ineffable Hat, is much appreciated.

I’ve read enough articles about writers railing against bad editors to wonder what it was really like. Not being from the publishing world, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but these guys have proven how valuable a good editor is. I suspect there might be more than a little ego at play in those articles I read; some loss of perspective or inability to step outside oneself and see the bigger picture. While I’m sure bad editors do exist, from what I’ve been exposed to, the feedback has been more liberating than off-putting.

I continuously push myself to open up my world, no matter how miserable that can be at times, so anything that forces me to set ego aside and look at something with fresh eyes is invaluable.

I look forward to sharing the new thing, when it comes out.

nothing to say

The farther I get into life, and into The Mungk, the more I realize I have nothing to say. I don’t know why I speak.

I mean, I have a million things to say, but someone’s usually already saying them, with a bigger and louder platform than I ever could.

What can I contribute? Nothing new, that’s for sure. Mostly, I simply want to be of service. A pair of helping hands that do something worthwhile. Nothing insane. Nothing complicated. Only helpful.

I’d like to lead the world better than I found it, but not in a grand, world-changing, Ghandi kind of way. Maybe a someone got a nice meal kind of way.

Or I helped someone with something small kind of way. We’ll see.

the negative

That’s where I am. I am the negative. The everything hates me. The why me? I can’t take much more, even though I’m sure it’s probably all my fault, or at least, way more in my control than I allow myself to believe.

getting there

I jumped so far ahead last week with a heavy spate of editing that I was pleasantly surprised that I could still hit my targets with all of the insanity surrounding surgery and work this week.

Makes me happy. Maybe one day, I will be able to move beyond the universe’s microaggressions and the trauma of this past life and move forward. I have ideas, after all.

I only need time and space and opportunity to complete them.

surgery day

Not for me, but my father-in-law. Things have been rough lately, not only because the jobs of five people were melted down to one and dumped on me, who already had a steady workday. I was able to hire a helper after a month of flailing and frustration, but with training yet, and the fact that they only allowed me a frontline tech, it’s five people’s jobs being down by what’s essentially one and a half.

The home front has been rough as well, with lots of family drama as my mother-in-law’s health degrades from Alzheimer’s and my father-in-law’s hip made it so he could barely function. He’s in surgery today, which he desperately needs and I hope gives him the relief he needs to refocus on what needs doing in his life.

I would like a nap. Or a decent night’s sleep. I suspect I’m a long way off from that.

pounding heart

It’s too much. All the extras. The work stuff. The family stuff. The internal existential crisis stuff.

All I wanted to do was write and read. Have some peace and fucking quiet. Some good music. A couple of beers or a nice glass of wine, maybe an old fashioned, done up right.

I want time alone with my family, relaxing. I want Saturdays around the pool and Sundays at the theatre.

I want quiet mornings. I want a workday that ends at a particular time, not “you’re salaried, so whenever”.

Every morning, I wake with palpitations. Every. Single. Morning.

I have so much left to do, but at this rate, they’re going to kill me first.

exhaustion

There must be an end. Right? I loved seeing my granddaughter, but it feels like I’m on the end of an exhaustion hunt – the antelope getting run down by hunters who will not let it rest, but keep forcing it to run and run and run, until it collapses or gives up.