Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #198 - Scheduling time to obsess

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #198 - Scheduling time to obsess

Hi Mom,

It's been 200 days since you left us.

Mom asleep after reading
Mackinac Island - 1980s
I thought of using a photo of you above, Mom. But I have been saving random, "mistake" photos. This is just such a photo above taken in August (1508.22).

I considered just leaving this post at mentioning the 200 days and explaining the photo, but I had started this post on scheduling time to obsess, and surely, it can be brief.

Many years ago, my teaching reached a critical mass putting me in the car for as many as ten hours a week to drive to different classes. Usually I relished such time to think and listen to music because I could write in my head and then later, when time permitted, I could type out the fruits of these thoughts. I even tried talking into a cassette recorder for a while, but this meant listening to it all again and possibly transcription, neither of which inspired me.

Though I did some quality writing in my head, more often than not, I found that I obsessed about stupid shit. I would turn over situations in my life repeatedly, up-ending them and rotating them like topsy turvey toys or like loops of computer calculation without an exit condition, endlessly repeating until the energy of the obsession had run its course.

And so, I turned to audio books because if I could not keep my mind on writing, then perhaps I could keep it focused on reading. I did find this challenging at first, but I learned to listen or even when my mind wandered, I noticed that much of the content had been absorbed if I reviewed the paper copy, in which I always keep my place for books to which I am listening.

In any case, the obsessing time was greatly reduced, and I filled my life with something I could turn my attention to when the obsessing was really getting out of control. I still found time to think about writing, and my life seemed better.

However, lately, as a student, the anxiety has been ramped up. I have A LOT to obsess about now. I have a variety of stressful triggers, the greatest of which is surely school, over which I can endlessly and repeatedly obsess. I also found myself obsessing about work in idle moments, such as reviewing work I had done to assure myself that though I had a great deal of work left to do, I had made great progress. As a result, I thought about writing less often, and then, with additions like this blog to plan, I stopped thinking about fiction projects completely.

Thinking and planning in one's mind drives the imagination, swells its gourd, plumps its hazel shells with a sweet kernel, sets budding more and more...fertile growth and over-abundnant harvests of great creative ideas. But when one does not think and plan and day dream, fields go fallow, the soil loses its rich nutrients, and everything withers and dies.

And so, I resolved last semester to not allow my fields to lay unplowed and uncultivated for another term. I would plant seeds. I would find time to think and plan and day dream. I would turn my mind from the needless obsessions, and my life would improve. There is a direct corresponding relationship between my happiness and the things that make me happy. Writing fiction, telling stories, MAKES ME HAPPY. And so, it must be done.

I love my family. I love my marriage. I like my jobs most of the time. I really enjoy being in school. I LOVE reading both words on the page and via audio books. I love writing this blog. But I also love writing fiction, making progress in fiction projects, and I NEED TO DO THAT.

Make it so, as they said in Star Trek the Next Generation.

And so, I have.

When I spoke to my therapist about this plan, he told me that some people actually schedule time to obsess. They identify things about which they know they will obsess. They schedule time to do the obsessing, and then when the time is up, they STOP.

I have been trying to make this practice a reality. So far so good. Some writing has happened. No fiction but notes and plans for fiction. And there's more in my head that must come out before I forget it all again.

And drinking scotch, which I am doing right now, also helps.

Talisker - Distiller's Edition (2014). Yum.

Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 200 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1601.21 - 19:35
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