Saturday, April 2, 2011

Nobody Told Me

This week has had its share of good news.

The main thing for today is that my husband received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council to write a novel he's been puzzling over for years. While the cheque is nice, it's the support that he appreciates most. (Truthfully, we appreciate the cheque a whole lot. Especially because this is tax time and therefore budget time.)

He found out maybe Tuesday. Since then he's cleaned his office, which he calls the den, and tackled a couple of other big projects (NOT his novel). Today he decided he needed more file folders. This need required a trip to town, which engendered other errands. Of course.

I know what he's doing. I've done it and I still do it. He's clearing his mental decks. It looks like procrastination. It may even feel like procrastination. (In me, it usually IS procrastination.) However, in him, it's really preparation. He doesn't multi-task, and he can't be pondering other obligations or decisions while he takes this guy he made up through this series of things that he's got planned for him, bwa ha ha.

Also of course, I am fighting the urge to say, "A year from now, you're going to wonder where this time went. You're going to look back on this time and wish you'd done more in the early days. If you set yourself the discipline now, you create a habit of hard work that will stand you in good stead."

In other words, I am on the verge of officially becoming my mother. Although I wish I could say, "Nobody told me to make the best use of my time," of course someone did. Repeatedly. Her death ten years ago did NOT silence the font of good advice I got from her and am apparently now capable of giving myself and others. But at least I am fighting that urge.

Because the line between deck-clearing and procrastinating is a fine one, and it's different for different people. My husband will find his line. I am closer to finding mine. And THAT is actually what nobody told me: that sometimes, you have to shed things before you can begin something bigger, and sometimes, that shedding process looks like goofing off, but you can tell the difference if you're honest with yourself.

Speaking of "nobody told me": This is the coolest thing I've seen in some time. Austin Kleon lives in Austin, Texas (postmodern? meta? something, anyway). He makes art/poetry using a permanent marker and the New York Times in a process called "Newspaper Blackout," which is also the title of his book.

Here, he shares How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me).

Go look at it and at his other stuff there.

Also, celebrate Poetry Month. Take your own newspaper and a marker and get to work!