I have a lot of stuff to do all of the sudden. It is surprising me in a not-quite-but-close-to hyperventilating kind of way. I mean, this is definitely not my norm. I can go weeks and weeks, months even, without putting anything more significant in my agenda than “Aquafit” or “Write Blog” or “Dentist” or “Buy Cat Food”. Not that any of those things are “insignificant” — I just heard a snort of “I should say not” from the furry blob on the back of the couch. But I always think that agendas should be full of important, life-changing kinds of events — meetings with agents, interviews with the media or a rendezvous with a prospective lover. (That last hasn’t happened yet but I dream just the same.) Doesn’t everybody else have such life-changing events on every day of their agenda — Monday through Friday and especially the weekend?
I think my misperception of the contents of agendas comes from those years of working at that, shall I say, “Driven” law firm in Washington, DC. Back then, there were no Blackberrys or internet calendars or Smart Phones to type in your schedule for the week. Nope, it was pen to paper of every meeting, conference, lunch and, of course, most important of all, those quarter hours of time to bill to a client even if you were cutting your finger nails. Everything was a justifiable claim — they were corporate lawyers, after all. Calendar Order Day was highly anticipated in the firm. Lawyers took their selection for the coming year very seriously. They could get as many different styles as they wanted so often chose a few just to be safe. I always knew what style Betty Jo — my powerful, Every-Thursday-at-The-Beauty-Parlor, Texas-born boss — wanted so I’d just add an extra one for me. I liked the feel of those black-leather covers with a year full of possibilities inside. I never had much to put in it back then but that didn’t matter. It was still my year to do with what I wanted. Then I started taking classes and didn’t have much time to do anything except write papers and study for exams — but, at least, I could put that in my agenda.
But now, here in November 2014, I have tons of things to start and finish and they all require me to write something new and inventive. Now, I’m not saying that I can’t do that. I mean, every week I come up with something new if not inventive — I’m confessing here that I do know that some postings are more inspired than others. But the November Deadlines are all very serious ones — like writing something for a public performance and contacting media and libraries and TV shows to market the book and writing a chapter in another book. That latter one I’ve known about for a long time but kept putting off the writing of it. I’d tell myself, “Don’t bother about it now, you have lots of time.” But now I don’t! I just found out about the performance piece and, here’s the kicker, it has to be finished in another week. That I could do but I have to collaborate with someone else to do it! So I can’t even think about what to write until we talk about the whole thing. (Did I ever tell you that along with my dislike of multi-tasking in the modern workplace is my absolute abhorrence of being a Team Player?)
None of this would be such a big deal — Oh, what are you saying? Yes, it would. — if I was the kind of writer who could easily have two or three writing projects going at the same time. I have always, always needed to finish one thing before I could start another. This is true when I write everything from university papers to To-Do Lists to drafts of Mediterranean Journey. I could never jump ahead to a part that I really wanted to write before finishing the tough bits. I am not a multi-tasker when it comes to writing. I can’t. My head and fingers and imagination just don’t work that way. But, you know, all those deadlines red-inked in my agenda for this November might just convert me to the world of Multi-Tasking. I don’t see any way around that but, I tell you right here and now, I won’t like it!
P.S. to Calendar Keeping: It’s November, and I always go out and buy my calendar for the new year. It’s my ritual and I love it. But this year I don’t have to do it! I have for many, many years been using the small Planner from Polestar, a British Columbian company. It was fabulous — except for one small thing. The designers lumped Friday over on the right hand side with Saturday and Sunday. It just didn’t belong there! I kept forgetting about Fridays — I even missed appointments! So I wrote Polestar a letter and told them of my concern and how I thought it could be easily remedied. And you know what? They changed the design! Isn’t that cool? My little letter made a difference. Then they sent me a free 2015 Planner in thanks for my suggestion. Never think that you can’t change things.
Mark Your Calendars!
On November 27, 2014, I’ll be one of four artists performing in a program, Writes of Passage at the Wind Up Bird Cafe. The theme of the evening will be “Love and Place” and will present the voices of two generations. I’m very excited (and nervous) about this. I hope that you’ll be able to make it so I see familiar faces in the audience to calm me down! I’ll be sending out more information about the event closer to the date!