I Cannot Write This Post: A Good Stuff Journey Through Procrastination
Confession time: So, you know how we generally have 2 posts a week - one on Monday and one on Friday - with bonus Rattle & Pen or Making Out columns on Wednesdays? Well, I can't make this Friday's deadline. I just can't. So there won't be a post today.
I'm sorry. I just couldn't. And so I didn't. And so there isn't. A post, I mean. There isn't one.
I wanted to write. Of course I did. This is a fun unpaid job, and I enjoy it. I'm lucky to get to make words on this screen for you to read. But I didn't make any this week. I was too busy. It's a shame, but it's true.
Just a cowgirl stamping horseshoes on her bandanna, pardner.
See, I was far too busy sitting in the springtime sun with my younger Smartling completing projects from her always-delightful Koala Crate, a handy subscription service that sends your child a box containing 3 or more thematic craft, science, or art projects geared for ages 3-4 years old. This month's was all wild west-themed and included the materials and instructions for creating a personalized bandanna, a hobby horse, and a horseshoe toss game.
Please meet our newest pet, Daisy Daffodil Larsen, soon to be seen hidden in our marriage-bed, Khartoum-style.
My older Smartling receives monthly installments from Kiwi Crate, the 5-8 year old corollary to Koala Crate and generally loves it, although some of the projects it contains require A LOT of adult assistance. And so I've spent a lot of time with her this week creating from the Solar System-themed crate that she received this month.
You see, I would have loved to have had a post up today, but the children needed me. And, since the children are my day job, I had to attend to their needs first.
Not that the whole week was dedicated to the Smartlings. I mean, obviously I attended to my own self-care, too. This week that took the form of listening to a great podcast while working out at the gym, doing chores, or driving around town running errands.
I, along with the rest of the podcast-listening world, have been enjoying the shit out of S-Town. The podcast is best described, to quote Churchill, as "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma," but then deep-fried in Southern Gothicism and sauced heavily with greed, misunderstanding, repression, depression, and tragedy. Like all things deep-fried, it is addictive beyond belief and very worth bingeing. I've spent several hours this week devoted to the inscrutable labyrinth of the podcast's narrative and 0 to writing. That's why this page must, sadly, remain blank today. Alas.
Even in spite of all this, I suppose I could have written something for today, but I was just too tired from staying up all night finishing Louise Erdrich's fantastic novel, The Round House. To say that I couldn't put it down is an understatement. I, who hardly ever carry a purse, took one around town with me this week so that I could more easily travel with this book on my person at all times. I never wanted to be not reading it, and so I sneaked in reading time at the park while the Smartlings played, waiting at school to pick up the kids, and naked except for my socks and a hospital gown waiting for a physical on a papered exam table. Yes, it's waiting-for-my-pap good. THAT good.
The ideal model for the coming-of-age story that dozens of modern novelists have attempted and failed to write, the book left me broken and hopeful in equal measure. Part of a longer series of books whose characters Erdrich keeps circling back to over and over again, the characters in this book are also featured in The Plague of Doves (another excellent read), Tracks, and last year's LaRose. I haven't read the latter two novels yet, but I feel that I'm on the brink of another obsessive deep dive and am looking forward to spending the rest of the spring with Erdrich's characters on my brain and in my heart.
I hope this pleasant distraction doesn't lead to more missed deadlines like today's. I'd hate to have to publish another empty post like today's. How humiliating.
And it's not like I didn't try. I sat down with the kids as they watched their new favorite show on Netflix, Julie's Greenroom, and attempted to peck out some kind of piece on my laptop. But the show was so excellent that I soon snapped the laptop shut and snuggled in for a few episodes of Julie Andrews's new children's show aimed at introducing young viewers to all aspects of making theater. Music, dance, stage managing, acting, improv, circus arts - each episode features one theatrical theme presented by a luminary in that field. Guest stars include Idina Menzel, Alec Baldwin, Sara Bareilles, and Titus Burgess, at whom I lol'd and lol'd while he costumed the show's puppet children.
So, I failed this week. Please forgive me, Smarties. This field must needs remain fallow this week, thanks to a pressing schedule of competing tasks. I promise that, fertilized by my shame at producing nothing this week, next week it will flourish.