There is a fat fish swimming next to me on the countertop in a foreign, but very kind, kitchen. It is shiny orange with black flecks and fins. It waddles through the water with little twitches of a tail that seems mildly obstructed by the large stomach hanging below and looks for food. Even though he wants for none, though the fish sinks quickly to the bottom of the tank when he doesn’t swim, he climbs to the top of the water, searching. He pokes his nose into the bedrock, sucking up pebbles in the hope that they are not what they seem. Either that or he cannot tell the difference between a rock and a piece of food, which is also a reasonably valid possibility. And it’s like “hey! Mr. Fish, swim with your friends, take a hard lap, enjoy those plants and that fun coral structure. The food will come eventually, no need to worry!”
Right now I feel a bit like this fish. I have all the time and the resources in the world (quite literally as I’m about 20 minutes from the library of congress), and it would be very easy not to take advantage of them, to simply keep saying “I don’t have the time” or “oh, I just have to wait until I get ______ and then I can start working.” It is always possible to make an excuse, but now I just start swimming. I’ve been reading Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work and it’s been enlightening. For a while it’s been the non-creative aspects that take priority and I think it’s because they often have definitive ends. Creative work ends much more ambiguously so it’s easier for me to postpone it. Well I have no more procrastination tools, so the ultimate and universal creative weakness has been thwarted! Let me know if I’m cut out for humor writing and stay tuned for the process when I figure out what it is.
Here’s to the first clumsy stroke and a weird fish metaphor.