Tag Archives: dicking around

Productive shame….


Over the years, I have perfected the art of dicking around.

This skill is not as common as you might think. Anyone can procrastinate, that’s just the absence of action. In the hands of a master such as myself, the mere act of not-doing something is raised to the level of art, and beyond. My ability to not-do things is considered by many people to be nigh-transcendental in its scope.

Just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about, back when I was in college, I was putting off writing a paper. Now anyone can put off a paper by watching TV or playing a video game, that’s a cakewalk. I, however, was watching snow melt on the sidewalk and occasionally poking at things with a stick. That’s all, and I’d been keeping it up for four hours.

So profound was my non-productivity that a nearby Buddhist monk was embarrassingly upstaged. He was so thrown off his groove that not only did he fail to reach nirvana, but he broke into a nearby pet store and promptly punched a kitten.

Anyway. Today I was dicking around. Just casually, enough to keep my hand in. I’m supposed to be working on the revisions of my second book. But instead I went to the video store to see if they have the third disk of Avatar: the last Airbender.

They don’t. So I wander around looking for something else. Then, out of nowhere, a young woman comes up to me. She’s bright-eyed and lovely, and as soon as I see her all I can think of is the fact that I am profoundly not bright-eyed and lovely. I’m whatever opposite of that is. Shambly and shabby. Once, when I was enjoying the warm summer sun on a parkbench, I took nodded off for a nap. When I woke up, there was several dollars worth of loose change in one of my shoes. That’s what I look like.

Anyway this lovely young woman comes up to me and tells me that she loves my book. I’m still not used to this sort of thing happening, and I’m caught flatfooted. Still, it’s nice. She says some very flattering things and tells me how much she wants to read the second book. She’s waiting for it, she says.

Without meaning too, she shames me into leaving the video store without renting anything. But it’s a good kind of shame. I felt excited at the thought of going back to work on the book. And while it probably wouldn’t be fair to call me bright-eyed as I drove home, I was at least somewhat less shambly feeling. That’s worth something.


P.S. My spellchecker doesn’t recognize, “dicking” as a valid word. I think I need to call Microsoft and offer to help them with their casual language filter.

Posted in the craft of writing | By Pat17 Responses
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