A Hundred Indecisions

If you’re just tuning in now, this is the second post in a week-long series on what a writer’s week looks like. Scroll below to read what the action-packed events of Monday and Tuesday.


A day of no meetings! I’m inordinately delirious, even though sharing ideas and collaborating are so fulfilling. I haven’t done any writing this week and that is bothering me a bit. I know I’ll get back to revising the thesis eventually, but there are a few contests and upcoming deadlines approaching, like headlights in a game of chicken; I need to decide whether to meet them head-on or veer off into the seeming safety of not entering.It’s a luxury to have a day at home, one that I completely appreciate, as I have a to-do list that runs off the margins and I’ll be out constantly the next several days. The longer my to-do list, the more I’m entitled to sleep in. Who else uses sleep as a means of avoidance? Once I’m upright, I turn into another Phoebe, the productive version, the updated one without the unresponsive issues that cause me to quit unexpectedly.

After a balanced breakfast, I make a hair appointment and call my cell phone company to reset my voice mail pin, which I forgot months ago. Who knows what else I might achieve today? I have ambitions of going to yoga, cleaning the house, sweeping the stairs, taking out the garbage, seeing an all-girl improv show at the Black Swan. But first, I attack my email and hack my inbox down to size by mercilessly deleting calls-for-papers, conferences I’m reminded constantly to attend, email blasts (such a telling word) from favourite stores tempting me with discounts. I then return the favour by sending out a few emails to clutter the inboxes of others. I’ve had concerns about the Echolocation contest, and happily, the other editors respond immediately with sage words, and I feel calmer about how to proceed. In thanks, I send off one final email with huge attachments, the body of the email bristling with lists. It’s appalling the way I respond to such helpful friends and volunteers.

Like most people who work from home, a thousand temptations for time-wasting await me like little mines. Procrastination, I’ve learned from experience, causes more problems than it’s worth. The danger period for me is late afternoon. I succumb to an hour of so of browsing possible wedding gifts online, knitting, reading blogs. I watch my landlady saw off the lower branches of a young tree on our lawn, which is putting forth dark red blossoms like little earrings. I know all this is avoidance because my thesis defense is tomorrow morning. A fact I have pushed away all day, because I know the deep concentration that will come over me as I reread my manuscript and the notes I’ve made about its genesis and evolution. I’ll find myself starting to revise a few poems and the hours will run out and I’ll forget it’s time to eat.

The official end of my day is tonight’s NHL playoffs game– Game 4 of the league-leading Canucks against the dark horse LA Kings, whose goalie, Quick, is having one of those career years and looks basically impenetrable. He’s let in 4 goals in the past three games on 115 shots, and sent agitation and heartache to thousands of nerve-shattered Canucks fans, including myself. The Canucks are down 3-0 in a series that’s best of seven, but in true hockey fashion, the drama tonight increases with the reappearance of Daniel Sedin, the Canucks’ leading goal scorer and one half of the Sedin twins. He’s been out for a month with a concussion from a nasty hit from the Chicago Blackhawks’ Duncan Keith, and the hockey world’s full of anticipation over the twins’ reunion on the Canucks’ top line. Why did I chose hockey as a means to destress? Yet at the same time, watching games caps off my day, and knowing that I’ll be parked for 2-3 hours in front of the screen puts the impetus on getting things done before the puck drops. Maybe that’s the real reason for why I watch games– in a day littered with what T.S. Eliot calls “a hundred indecisions… a hundred visions and revisions”, how comforting and foreign it is to view an arena where only winning and losing matters, where rules are clear, and transgressions penalized down to the second.

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