Productive Despite Myself

Episode 11 is now available

I may have mentioned, once or twice, that I co-host a podcast called Good Sentences. If you haven’t checked it out go ahead over and take a look, (after you finish reading this, obviously!)

This isn’t really a plug for the podcast. If it were, I’d probably be a lot more subtle. You know the whole subliminal [LISTEN TO IT] suggestion sort of thing.

What I really want to do is allude to one of the things we discussed during the episode. In particular we talked about the fact that since we are all more or less confined to home those of us who identify as writers would now have so much more time to be creative. Early on, when the reality of self-quarantine began to sink in, many of us in the writing community joked with one another about all the great things we’d have time to work on.

No word to be heard on the street

We’re about a month in now, give or take, and word on the street… well there is no one on the street to say the word… but if there was word on the street would be mixed. Some folks have been insanely busy, and have, like my friend KT Webb, gotten things done. Some of us less so. Some of us, not content to opt for either of those two camps, have gotten sick, (though the folks I know personally seem to be on the mend).

Then there’s me. As always I can’t just pick a side and go with it, right or wrong. I’ve got to clog dance on the knife’s edge.


At first I really wanted to be super productive. I wanted to make big progress on the two books that Craig and I are co-writing, and I wanted to start working on a couple of side projects that have popped out, baby alien-like, and have lingered.

Unfortunately Craig is one of the folks I know that got sick. He was not tested, but when he started feeling better he read the blog of someone who had tested positive and recognized many of the symptoms he’d experienced. Whatever it was, it was nasty and it took him out of the rotation.

So then I really wanted to be lazy. I wanted to practice some serious social distancing, like the person hanging out, literally, to the right. And I did, after a fashion. Clearly this picture does not accurately depict my personal attempt at world-class laziness, but it’s an precise representation of the spirit of my sloth.

My eternally bitchin’ journal which I shall show off until it’s retired, probably in early summer.

But even this did not work as intended, because while reclining lazily in a hammock on a tropical beach the chair I got for free from some dude’s driveway, I almost unconsciously reached for my journal and started writing.

At first it was safe enough. I was basically just whining about how unproductive I was being. But then I had an idea for a poem, so I wrote it. Then I decided I liked it well enough to work on it until it felt finished. I thought it came out okay, so I posted it. A while later I was walking Miles and I had an idea for a short story. It was actually one I’d been wanting to write for a while, but couldn’t figure out the right way to approach it. Somewhere around the power lines the solution came to me, and so I started to write that. For that I actually pulled out the laptop. The laziness was almost completely ruined by this point. The only redeeming thing was this was nothing I’d planned on doing, so since it was a trip down the bunny hole already…

I haven’t actually printed the “short” story, but if I did I’m pretty sure it would look like this.

Of course the cruel hoax I ended up playing on myself was that the story turned out to be very long. I had to do it in three parts, and now I have this small gorilla that’s going to need some more tending to. I don’t know for sure if it will end up being worth the time I’ve put into it, even already, but we’ll see.

Somewhere during the writing it occurred to me that I needed to add something to one of the manuscripts that had gotten sent to Craig, so I messaged him to let him know I was grabbing it back to add something. I still remember his reply. It was a random series of letters that pretty much convinced me he’d read my message and as he was preparing to respond he passed out and bashed his head into the keyboard. So while it didn’t clearly indicate that he was okay with my plan, I took it as a “yes,” figuring that if I was wrong he would be too weakened by his illness to beat me up any time before June or so, and by then I’ll have been training for months… but I digress.

What I was expecting to be a thousand words or so ended up being two chapters, but it made where we were going next a lot clearer so that, should Craig remember to use his hands on the computer instead of his forehead he’d be able to jump right in. I loaded it back onto the shared drive.

Once all that was done I was 100% ready to become completely useless. I was considering hiding the journal from myself (easier than you’d think when your mind is an open window, out of which often flies the memories of great lines of dialogue, whole poems before they could be captured and always, without fail where I put stuff), so that I wouldn’t be tempted into anything resembling productivity.

Then we recorded the podcast, planned the next few and ruined my life wasting routine yet again.

There’s a book promotion. Did I mention the book promotion? Also, there’s a book promotion.
Book promotion.

In among all of that was the social media stampede. Because on April first I was part of a big book promotion. As before, my goal here is not to drone on and and about the book promotion, but rather I offer it as another indication of how poorly I’m doing at being a shiftless hobo-like loser. Announcing the promotion meant Facebook posts, a newsletter mailing, sneaking it into the podcast, (rather brazenly if I’m being honest), then more Facebook posts, an Instagram video, a plug in the podcast blog, and on and on I went. It was revolting to behold. Seriously.

In all the madness I realized late last night that I’d forgotten to put a post on the Good Sentences Instagram account, so I grabbed my phone to knock that off. Naturally I ended up doing about seven takes before settling on this:

Seven takes to come up with this. Add being a diva to my list of offenses.

As you can see the Good Sentences Instagram account could use some more followers. Why not head over and click that pretty follow button? Not that I’m here to get you to follow us. I would never do anything like that. [FOLLOW GOOD SENTENCES ON INSTAGRAM @goodsentences2019]

By now it was just about bedtime so I decided to write this blog post about how bad I was at being a bum, but before I started I decided to revamp the design of the entire website.

Tomorrow, I think, I shall be the most shiftless person who has ever lived.

Or I’ll start working on the poetry volume that I’m hoping to release later this year. And no, this is not a plug for that book. [PREORDER YOUR COPY] Because if it were… subliminal.

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