Procrastination

Probably I am setting myself up for failure, but in what I can only think was a moment where procrastination seemed justifiable I made the decision to attempt Post a Day. The way I see it is that while I am currently utilizing this daily post to procrastinate on other things that probably should be worked on, I fully expect that soon enough the exact opposite will occur and I’ll find other things to do to avoid writing out a post each day. Personal history will show that for a number of reasons attempts at daily blogging have failed. I believe this is due to my own belief that I’m frightfully dull and thus have little upon which to blog. But even when I do have something which I feel merits a post I often have zero desire to bother doing so. Not to mention, life has a pesky way of making it difficult to take time to accomplish such a task what with all the books in the world to read and other shiny things to be distracted by. So, we shall see how this goes. I’ll say this much for now, I’m making no promises that I’ll get through another 364 consecutive days of posting nor will I promise not to resort to a photo post or other such randomness.

Anyway, things here remain ridiculously busy. Presently, I have managed to stave off undo panic about the number of things I wish to accomplish before guide dog training begins this Thursday. As this to-do list seems ever-growing, I anticipate this will change at any moment being that the more I think about said things to be done the more I feel I am overwhelming myself. And then I find it hard to motivate myself to do anything. At least in this particular instance, I am rather pleased that I can justify my own neurotic behavior.

As it stands I have accomplished one thing: I have taken down my holiday decorations and stored them away. I had initially planned to do this yesterday, but instead I spent the majority of my day fighting a strong urge to toss my computer through my office window. As I have not yet found a remedy for the inability to print things, I have not completely lost this desire since more and more it seems the only solution will be a complete hard drive reformat. I’m sure you can guess how thrilled this makes me. Especially when you consider that I have FIVE papers due by next Friday and I have not yet started writing a single one. This is mostly because two of them are reaction papers to reading I have not yet completed. And in case you forgot already, I am a procrastinator. My saving grace is that I work very well under pressure.

Aside from computer issues and schoolwork, there are a bunch of other things on this mental list. Chief among them is to write out the list so I can stop my lack of progress in working on it because I’m constantly trying to remember what’s on it. I also need to finish the letter and sort through dog stuff to determine what I wish to keep for Uschi and what I’ll pack to go with Yara. I haven’t bothered with the latter as yet since I want to wash her bed and blankets first. I don’t really have an excuse for why that hasn’t happened yet. Though I believe the justification I gave myself the other day was that I absolutely must clean this house from top to bottom before training starts . . . and that wasn’t happening until I claimed the space back from all the holiday festoonery.

With that checked off, I seem to be actively avoiding the list by writing this daily post which not only goes to prove my initial statement about procrastination, but is further proof of how dizzying my thought processes are. So, let me end this by stating how intensely curious I am as to how long this daily posting will occur before I end up procrastinating on it as well!

Reading and Blogging

I haven’t paid much attention to the lists feature on Twitter since it was first introduced, but randomly the other day I took a quick peek at the ones that I’ve been included on by other tweeps. After getting over the initial bewilderment that accompanied the idea of people actually having any interest in the things which my keyboard produces, I couldn’t help but notice the rather eclectic nature of that grouping of lists. Maybe I’m blind to my own attributes, but while not necessarily inaccurate descriptions none of them are really things I’d personally have used to categorize myself.

With the exception, of course, of the “avid reader” because acceptance is good for the soul and I’m pretty sure I have an addiction. Seriously, though, I grew up with a firm appreciation of all things literary. My grandmother is a reader of epic proportions and she’s done her level best to impart this trait onto all of her offspring. Of all of her grandchildren, I’ve lucked out the most in this because my father is without a doubt her biggest success in the category of well read. Between both of their personal libraries I always had some book to fall back on if I ran out of a stash of my own and considering how often the library and used book store were visited that is saying something. I’m vaguely sure that my grandmother would attempt to provide me with a full year’s worth of reading each Christmas because it was never complete without the obligatory BAG of books. Once for my birthday she took me shopping to pick out books and I was so overwhelmed believing I should only pick out a handful or so and desperately trying to choose. Nanny was having none of that; she walked up to a shelf, stuck her arm behind the stack, knocked it all into my arms (well, mostly the floor) and announced that we were taking the whole lot to the clerk behind the counter.

So, it’s hardly surprising that decades later I’m still reading away. I admit, I spend a good deal of hard earned cash dollars American buying books and were it not for the local library, bookswap, and lending from friends I’d most assuredly spend even more. In fact, I have to limit my exposure to AbeBooks and eBay because cheap books are my kryptonite.

However, I have discovered that all this reading is really only fun if you can do more with it, which is why I’ve taken up two things that allow me to learn and grow, both as a reader and beyond. One was joining a new book group. I’ve had some very bad luck with book groups in the past. Mostly, they just don’t bother to really talk about a book. (Contrary to popular belief “it was good” is not a critique.) But this particular one was recommended my friend Grace, on whose opinion I sincerely trust in this regard, and she vehemently endorsed their willingness to discuss the books they read. I’m quite happy.

The second is probably more obvious to those of you who’ve happened upon this blog for any amount of time: blogging of book reviews. Or possibly more accurately “rambling about books on my blog.” Book blogging was the second big thing that I really focused on when I began blogging. (The first would be Dolly and guide dogs in general.) It kind of came about sort of randomly back when I was still a slave to LiveJournal. I saw a good portion of my friends’ list posting movie reviews or pontificating on a specific episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I thought: “I could do that!” And I did. But for as much as I enjoy me some good TV and the occasional flick, it very quickly began to feel like a chore. Then I happened across a book review website and voila! there was my niche. Not from lack of interest, blogging about books has become somewhat lax of late. No surprise considering my whole avoiding my to be read pile and other subsequent distractions (*ahem*). Whether others may have noticed the absence is irrelevant because it has been very obvious to me. And this is not only due to the growing number of ARCs and free giveaways that are begging to be rambled about.

I don’t really subscribe to the idea of New Year’s resolutions; I feel that self-evaluation and goal-setting can and should happen all year. Last year, I made the effort of whittling down my to be read pile be my resolution and goal. (Which was a fail/success depending on how you look at it — I go with success.) By extension this year my goal will be to more actively review and blog about those books which strike me as worthy of such. I’m not setting a specific number or frequency because that will surely kill all the fun. I’ll let the books and my mood decide for me.

By the way, you need not worry about Yara. She and I have an understanding; she’s really the star of this blog and I have been made fully aware of this.

30 Days, 30 Posts

And with the typing of these words, I have completed my obligation for National Blog Posting Month. I’d thought I’d have more to say, but my mind is a total blank. I’m sure this is a side effect of the need to post daily without question. I’m more of a “blog as the mood strikes” person. Which is obvious to anyone who has been around this blog for any length of time — and ignores these instances where I’m working at some post quota type goal thing.

Still, I can say that this month has absolutely flown by. Thirty days seems like it should take more time, have more weight. And yet, I hardly can recall everything that I’ve done over the last four weeks. Definitely I can’t place when specifically things occurred. Truly the concept of time confounds me.

Anyway, with this little tidbit of a post, I happily go back to my normal routine of blogging. I rather despise feeling like I must make a post, whether I’m in the mood or have a true concept for something to write . . . or not. So, until then.

National Novel Writing Month

Happy Halloween!

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I’ve once again signed up for NaNoWriMo. This will be my 9th time participating, well sort of — last year I didn’t manage to write a single word the entire month. Anyway, it all kind of boggles my mind. Mostly it’s been an exercise for me to really just, well, write. I go through these dry spells where I don’t have a desire to write and Nano always manages to jump start me back into creativity. Er, well, with the exception of last year where I didn’t write a single word.

I hit the 50,000 mark only for the first time my second year and it was very satisfying, even if the novel itself was probably the worst thing I’ve ever written. Since then I’ve managed to hit the mark every year (sans last, as I mentioned). In 2007 I came very close to finishing 100,000 words during Nano. I hadn’t intended to do that, but the “novel” wasn’t finished when I hit 50k and so I kept going. I call it The Novel of Angst because it was less a novel and more a cathartic experience — I’d written about all of the things that I was, at the time, unable to share regarding Lions World and Guiding Eyes and my life. It was a painful and freeing experience and those that were around at the time probably noticed the marked improvement in my emotional state. Writing that piece was incredibly draining and by the middle of the month I was already starting to burn out. By the last week I’d basically given up and it remains unfinished to this day. I’ve no desire to go back to it, for obvious reasons (Oh, and also I got the call about Yara near the end of that month and got wildly distracted by all that.) I’m still incredibly proud of what I wrote and much of it has trickled onto this blog, though it’s doubtful I’ll ever make the document public. It’s filled with so much raw emotion that I find it too personal to share.

This year I mulled around for the last month letting the many ideas spin around in my head. I always have writing ideas, but unless I know where I can take the idea there’s not much point in trying to turn it into a novel. And then, last night I was working on the promised GEB story post and it dawned on me that the book I really have wanted to write and have procrastinated on ever starting because I’m scared to actually write it is the perfect one for Nano this year. I’d initially thought about doing it when I wrote The Novel of Angst in 2007, but I was in such a complicated space it wouldn’t have come out as I’d planned — probably it would have been similar to what I did write, just without the emphasis on the events of the preceding year.

So, yes, the idea I have is to chronicle the various things I’ve learned through the years via my wonderful guide dogs. Obviously, I pontificate on all that rather often here, though, usually in a more abstract manner. But the entire experience in my life from first making the decision to get a guide dog through training and my own life since has been a series of revelations that sometimes blow my mind. If I’d realized how life altering the desire that was born from watching a Sesame Street bit on guide dogs at six, I’d never have believed it. Heck, I’d probably have run very far the other way. Strangely enough, much in my life has happened in a similar way.

But anyway, so yes, I’m writing a semi-autobiographical book about myself with a specific emphasis on the lessons I’ve garnered from these furry wonders who’ve been my eyes. And you’re probably wondering why I was scared to write this since, uhm, that’s basically 75% of this blog, right? Well, here’s the thing, I have this possibly misguided view of myself that I’m boring. I mean, really dull. Might sound crazy — especially if you’re familiar with how eccentric even my daily life is without me trying — but it is what it is. I find it hard to justify why anyone would be interested in what I have to say (unless it’s an opinion I feel strongly about). Still, I think that in itself is motivation to write this. Not that I have delusions of grandeur mind you, I don’t expect anyone to have a desire to read it. But it’ll be a lot of fun to write.

So, I’m currently in the process of outlining what it is I want to say and organizing my thoughts. But suffice it to say, I’m good to go at midnight! I’ll be attempting to post updates on my progress — or lack thereof — on a daily basis and because of that I’ve also opted into National Blog Posting Month because I am full of self-loathing.

Wish me luck!

LiveJournal Syndicated Feed

The very wonderful Heather was sweet enough to create a syndicated feed for this website on LiveJournal. If you have an LJ, be sure to add it to your friends list. (Please remember to leave your comments on the website, though, as the posts/comments on the feed disappear after about two weeks and I may not see them.)