Saturday, March 21, 2009

Beware the Idleness of March

Yes, it's late, but I've been busy.


And that's the point, isn't it? After coming back from almost an entire week in San Francisco going to composition conference panels, seeing famous rhetoricians in compromising states of intoxication and eating myself silly at the great curry place across from the hotel, I'm back to work. On a Divine Comedy show week. When I need to return several papers and an econ exam to my students. And write a ten-page paper. And prepare 28 cupcakes and a yellow cake with chocolate frosting for a bake sale.

Why, some of my friends who aren't in school pointed out, am I doing this?

I don't know-- I like being busy. Some of the least-pleasant times of my life were the weeks leading up to going into the MTC: I wasn't in school, I couldn't get a job, and everyone I knew had these important sorts of things to keep them busy while I sat at home and watched back-to-back-to-back-to-back episodes of Law and Order. On the contrary side of things, when I think of happy high school days I remember a week when I was living at home alone (my parents were on a trip somewhere), preparing for finals and the ACTs, rehearsing for the school production of Mame, competing in Science Olympiad and doing intensive scripture study. I make myself busy.

In some ways, as I realized when I was a freshman, I could fall into the kind of obsession of Frankenstein (the doctor, not the monster--but really, it's a thin line) when he spend all of his time in the lab, but instead of slavishly devoting myself to one pursuit, I semi-slavishly apply myself to several incongruous projects all at once. I am barely-adequate-to-satisfactory-capable in several unrelated fields that all require a chunk of time for my mediocrity.

Why, again, am I doing this? Am I taking those high school delisions of renaissance brilliance too far? Am I trying to impress others or justify myself? Even great writers and scholars feel unsatified in their sucesses--why can't we just relax, for cryin' out loud?

I don't have the answers to these questions, but tonight (or, as the case may be, this morning) I suspect it has something to do with four Diet Cokes with lime that I drank after the show tonight.

Tomorrow, tomorrow I'm sleeping in.

5 comments:

Day said...

"to be satisfied is an intolerable luxury."

-Don José María Arizmendiarrieta Madariaga, founder of the largest (wildly successful) co-operative complex in the world.

Marian said...

Why is it the idleness of March when you haven't been idle at all? Mary, is it that you love being busy, or that you can't say no? I think the latter is more of my problem!

Makayla said...

I, too, am confused about the reference to idleness in March. This March has been--by far-- the most busy month of probably my last three or four semesters. It's crazy!

But I agree with you on one thing - I'd rather be busy than bored.

Jamie said...

Idley-didely-die. It would be a good song. I like the fact that 'mediocrity takes time!' Carpe not only the diem, but the noctem and everything else in between! Not to remind you of another item to do, but how's the Latin coming?

Italians like to sit around in the park and talk while their dogs wreak havoc and run into bicycles at full speed (I saw it myself yesterday) and the children throw dirt at each other. Now that's relaxing. I guess it all depends on your definition of relaxation.

Lobbie said...

So I thought you might like this. It's a talk from the author of "eat, drink, love." Talks about creativity and writing and how to not go crazy and why we think creative people are supposed to be crazy.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html