Partly inspired by Linden‘s little snapshot of her life, and obviously a rip off of the film title, this is simply a mini-list of truths about myself that grate.
I write better when it’s dark
Not in the dark but when it’s dark. Whether it’s because that’s when I’m at my most lucid, or perhaps because the tiredness helps me overcome my inhibitions, the small hours have often been when I’m at my most productive. In fact, the idea for this very post was sketched at 5am one very idle night, when the neural aurorae kept me from dropping off. The ideas hop and flow and melt into one another like chocolate on a hot stove—and there’s never a pen around when you need it.
I wish so much to be creative
Not in any specific fashion either. Regardless of method, there’s always been something itching inside, scratching the back of my retina, urging me to put the effort and dedication into creating something I can be proud of, whether it be with the pen or the paintbrush, the camera or the chisel. Sadly, there’s a rather stunting lack of any raw talent, which leaves for disappointment every which way I turn. And more pertinently, I’m too much of a lazy sod to ever practice enough at anything to actually hone those blunt and crooked tools in my head to produce something worth being proud of.
I put it all off for later
As the proverb has it:
“Ther is an old proverbe,” quod she, “seith that ‘the goodnesse that thou mayst do this day, do it, and abide nat ne delaye it nat til tomorwe.‘ And therfore I conseille that ye sende youre messages, swiche as been discrete and wise, unto youre adversaries, tellynge hem on youre bihalve that if they wole trete of pees and of accord, that they shape hem withouten delay or tariyng to comen unto us.”
The Tale of Melibee, Geoffrey Chaucer
Sadly, however old this proverb may be, it’s still one to have had the meagrest effect on my genes. Putting it all off for ‘when I have more time’ has virtually become my sport of profession. This very post is testament to the fact, which according to WordPress was started back in September of the last year. There are always more hours in a day, more days in the week, more weeks in the year, more years in a lifetime, in that concave vortex of my temporal perception.
I never finish what I start
My life and living spaces are littered with the unfinished. Books half-read, films half-watched, stories half-written, designs half-cooked. ((Sometimes even dinners half-cooked.)) What starts with good intentions soon ends up unloved, disregarded, unashamedly shunned for something else; if in fact it should ever get started in the first place. It is probably telling that for every book I read, there are two on the shelf; for every moment spent on writing, there are a thousand spent on the waiting-to-be-draughted.
I have a passion for procrastination
When time eventually does land in my lap, like a giant rainbow trout fresh out of water, I find myself less inclined to take the beast by the shanks, to scale it, bone it, fillet it, eat it, nor even to take pity on it, to rescue it, cover it, take it back to water. Instead I watch it flap about and squirm and shake, with gaping mouth and aching gills, its precious moments dying fast, its glassy eyes bright to the last. Don’t ask me where that came from. I’m just wasting time when I should best be getting on with some work.
I put effort in where it is wasted
Perhaps this is entirely linked to procrastinating, however much I don’t like to acknowledge it. Putting effort in to wasted time means that no one can judge you for not trying–and since it is wasted nor will they judge what your efforts produce. All of which doesn’t detract from the fact that all my efforts lie in the wrong place. I write on forums no one visits. I author blog posts no one reads. I soliloquise at length as though there were a fourth wall on my life. ((But even were I a Shakespearean character, I’d be a Dogberry.)) Those portions of my life wreak of effort, which remain unseen, unheard, unused, unwanted. And to the detriment of that public face, which has a degree in every volume of inadequacy.
I was born in the wrong century
Perhaps not technically something I hate about myself, this probably has more to do with my believing the grass is greener on the other side. But looking at my recent forebears, I nevertheless feel I’d have been more at peace with life wielding a pick in my hands as a coal miner, or with a mattock slung over my shoulder as a navvy, than I am in this fast-paced world of gadgets and gizmos. Not that I look back on history through rose-tinted spectacles, but knowing my place in the gutter I abhor the society that doesn’t agree that I belong there.
I have a superficial interest in the world
Just a quick glance at my bookshelf is enough to testify to how scatterbrained I really am. There’s no direction, no taste, no depth, no concentration. Just an eclectic mix of all kinds. Perhaps that’s a good thing, having a desire to sample all of life’s waters. On the other hand it shows how utterly superficial my interest in the world is, and that surface-skating translates itself nattily into real life. No real wonder I never finish what I start, when I barely get started on anything.
I eat too much
Difficult to believe for those who know me, easier to believe for those who know me well, I don’t just restrict myself to food in saying I eat too much. My life sometimes feels like an exercise in waste, a product of the consumer society, for all that I wish it would be otherwise. Food, electricity; water, most especially water. It’s probably already too late to make up for the squandery with an early adieu, but if anything here could or should change, this is the one to work on.
I’m merely waiting for the end
There was sadly no choice about being born, or if there was, I’m sure I ticked the other box. Were we assigned to lead our lives on the basis of previous errors? If so, as in the real world, I must have discarded the manual in favour of just getting to grips with the controls. Yet however much fun that experience can be, I still firmly believe that had I been given a conscious choice, I’d have declined this mortal coil. Whatever impression I give others, I really just spend my days wandering through life, looking for the exit.
I know all this and do nothing
For all those keeping track, yes this is the eleventh sin, but it’s easy to think up more once you start to enumerate them all. ((I only hope I shan’t make the same mistake as Charles Freck on my taking leave.)) Perhaps this isn’t really such a thing I hate, as much as an acknowledgement of reality. I can’t change. I won’t change. These flaws and failures are simply part of who I am. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. But that has meant I’ve learned to live with it.
I generally understand what you are saying. To be honest many of the points you've written here are some of my traits too. Though "I'm merely waiting for the end' doesn't account anymore, I am simply "enjoying the journey" as I feel, its not where we end up in life, but how we get there. Any sometimes, when we get to places, they are not what we expected. So in that case, I try not to expect anything, enjoy what I eat, finish what I started, be as creative as possible, and enjoy learning everything inbetween.
Thanks for the comment Chris. I think that post was probably more pessimistic than it really ought to be. There certainly are some parts of the journey well worth enjoying. But sometimes it feels like that meandering river I'm sailing down is really a stream of sludge running through an industrial landscape; for every glimpse of a bush and shadow of a tree, there's a league of monotonous grey to have to paddle past. Incidentally, is Cyde Weys the link here?