Thursday, February 03, 2011

2/3/2011 What to do....

It looks like Mr. Horrible is there to stay at work. Whenever I tell a new outrageous story about the absurdity of it, I get asked, "Why are you still there? Life is too short!"

I ask myself that a lot. I could make a convincing argument that it's better for us financially -- two incomes are better than one, and I do earn more than enough to cover the hefty cost of childcare. We could survive (keyword there is "survive") on one income, so it's not financial life-and-death that I work.

I could also say that my original plan was to work long enough to get back up to speed after a long hiatus, update skills, forge new contacts, and gather information for the real goal of going independent, somehow. And all that is still true, but I haven't done anything or even thought much about that next step.

Part of my staying at work is that the very extremity of incompetence and nepotism in one person results in unprecedented team cohesion. The usual petty workplace annoyances are in the noise, and I'm enjoying one of the best coworker relationships I've ever had in my career. Nothing like a common enemy to unite us. And I have some pretty awesome coworkers, and I've always taken well to being mentored.

And at heart, I do really like the work. It reaches the geek in me, it forces me to think critically, and rewards my otherwise useless excruciating attention to detail.

But the truth is: I'm not sure I'd know what else to do with myself. Even though I lamenting every day that I wish I had more time.

I know what I'd like to do: write. Or what I'd have to do, because it's always been my inevitable fate. I shouldn't pretend I have a whole lot of choice in the matter.

But would the desire to write carry over when it actually could be satisfied? Would the ideas flow when there's a big blank chunk of time ahead? Or do they only materialize when there's a tiny sliver of time to squeeze through between the vast mental demands of work and raising children? So often I'm frustrated that my head is bursting with ideas but it's physically impossible to sit down and write them -- would that frustration turn to writer's block if I had the time?

Being a writer -- a real one, not just a puppet, a slave to a garbled mind as I am -- takes discipline. It means being able to make yourself write when the opportunity is there, even if the inspiration isn't. It means being able to put yourself back in that mental space you were in when the idea struck. Being a writer means developing practical skills, not just satisfying impulses. I'm a long, long ways off from that.

So for now, it looks like I'm stuck with Mr. Horrible. Then again, maybe I can view this as material-gathering for a future book or article -- about how I turn it into him being stuck with me instead.


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