Monday, June 26, 2006

Corporate Literature

Often, when I venture into the unexplored piles of crap blanketing my bedroom floor and stacked haphazardly in my shelves and closets, I find papers scribbled with beginnings. Usually these beginnings come to me just as I’m about to go to bed. My eyes are closed, I’m drifting, and my mind, hell-bent on making sure I don’t get my necessary six or seven hours of sleep, decides to spew ideas, seemingly intelligible ideas at the time, that I must write down lest I forget them in the morning. Sometimes, I repeat them over in my head, tell myself I’ll remember them so that I don’t have to get out of bed, and in the morning I forget, and I regret. Sometimes, I pull a Mitch Hedberg and convince myself they weren’t good ideas, and I fall into a restless sleep, brain still pumping streams of thought. Usually I get up, scribble them down, wake up, look, and think, “What in the fuck possessed me to think that this was actually a good idea?” Sometimes, rarely, I think, “I can do something with this.”

Even then, these workable thoughts rarely come into fruition. They remain floating, obscure ideas that existed solely to keep me awake on any given night when all I really wanted to do was just fucking sleep so I could wake up and drag myself to work and sit in a cubicle and stare at a computer screen and drink a gallon of black coffee and eat lunch at my desk and smile and nod in response to my supervisor’s questions and leave at five and get on the subway and go home and eat dinner and watch television and lie in bed and hope my brain will cut me a break and let me sleep so I can do it all again the next day.

On job interviews, I tell them I want to be a writer. It seems to work pretty well because everyone thinks that writing is a quaint little hobby that makes you seem somewhat interesting and possess a semblance of a soul. Unless you are interviewing on Wall Street. Then they look at you like you just told them you don’t like money. They are insulted because you just blasphemed their god. But they’ll smile like a dinner guest who doesn’t eat fish smiles at their plate of grilled tuna because they have been professionally trained in diplomacy.

I tell interviewers that I like writing because it is something I can do even with a full-time day job. I can sit in my cubicle by day and stare blankly at my computer screen, and in the evening I can write a book or a collection of short stories about flan. I can tailor my writing schedule around my “legitimate money life stuffs” schedule. This works out well.

Except it doesn’t.

Because when you’re working on a strict schedule of waking up, going to work, coming home, eating, and hating your life, you find that there aren’t enough hours in the day or juices in your brain to put together that Pulitzer Prize-winner that’s written on scraps of paper littering your bedroom floor.

-L

3 Comments:

Blogger Muk said...

It isn't easy, but if you have something worth writing, I think you NEED to find the time to work on it. Sure, it's a struggle much of the time, but I'd rather deal with that than the larger existential issue of being a corporate drone that stopped writing altogether.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Peter P. Murphy said...

Damn it all to hell but if that ain't the honest truth! I feel for you, L :(

11:07 AM  
Anonymous themoneytrees said...

The inability to sleep and constantly whirling mind is symptomatic of hating what you have to get up and do each morning-- but you know this. Analytically, here's how your mind is trying to protect you.

First, you hate what you do everyday. The last thing you want to do is go to the office. Second, sleep creates a gap in consciousness, where you go from being awake and it's 11pm to being awake and it's 8am. Your conscious mind wants to prevent the agony.

So, third: you mind keeps you awake at night in a vain (but valiant) attempt to keep you from ever reaching the point of pain: work. By staying conscious, it is hoping to push away the moment of truth.

It is a vicious circle. To treat the symptoms: exercise, get off the caffeine, don't eat too late, and get a bf. To treat the cause: find something you actually want to do in the morning.

If only life were that easy, right?

2:31 PM  

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