I haven’t blogged, at least on here, for a good month or so for a variety of reasons. One, I have been enjoying many of Miamis’ cultural hotspots, including visiting the Coral Gables Cinematheque on Saturday ( a place I highly recommend if you want to feel young be comparison and don’t mind the horse sounding chorus of geriatrics inhaling their popcorn).Two, I have been a little unsure as to what form of bloggercize I wanted to try – humor, instructive, stream of consciousness, etc. Third, I wrote a very satisfying blog last week entitled BCE (Before Cellphones Existed) and just as I was about to hit publish, my hard-drive crashed. I took the latter incident as some type of omen.
But a month without blogging is a little like a month without exercising. It’s not good for the mind nor body. A writer must write, even if the work isn’t his/her best. Reading the work of other writers (perhaps even those like me who must cope with one foot in/one foot out tendencies) is what made life interesting for me in the first place. And now that I am firmly entrenched in this professional and existential limbo state known as the 40’s (trust me when I tell you this is even more confusing than the 20’s), it is critical that I make life interesting for myself by doing what I said I always wanted to do (besides water sports) if I got more free time.
What’s been most challenging to me of late is a syndrome that I could easily detect in my students but like many teachers, thought I was the exception to the rule. This self-titled condition is TBS (Tired Brain Syndrome). Aside from the fact that it’s harder to sleep and therefore my body is tired a good portion of the day, the TBS is a function of continued earnest attempt to use my brain. Now I know what you’re thinking or at least could be thinking, that no one in Miami really uses their brain or has to, and that is a fair statement to make. But there are times when I pretend that I am not living here, or that I got my expansive liberal arts education for a reason and therefore need to still exercise my cranial muscles, at least those which haven’t fully atrophied. Plus try writing from pure imagination for an hour, without looking at your cell phone or munching
When it comes to writing, this TBS is particularly threatening. Writing has to be one of the most grueling forms of higher order thinking. The writer starts with a blank canvas and pinballing brainwaves tries to make something out of nothing, kinetic out of potential energy. It’s fertility in what I would like to think is its purest form. Try composing from pure imagination for an hour or so, without getting up or looking at your cellphone and see just how tired the neurons feel by hour’s end. It’s satisfying as hell damned if it ever really feels right.
Having had a little bit of a creative awakening over the weekend, I am trying to push through my TBS, my fear of both writing and not writing, and simply following through on my promise to myself. I sometimes wish I had made a different resolution, like running a marathon or finishing the Breaking Bad Series that I finally started to watch. But somehow I can’t seem to get away from my promises, from my lifelong urge to write, no matter how intense my TBS feels nor how badly I want to accept that I have taken my urges as far as they needed to go. .
So is their a cure for TBS? The ad men at Nike were rather genius when they came up with the “Just Do It” slogan. Though I’m not sure why Lance Armstrong applied that motto to doping, Sarah Palin to politics or Michael Jordan to baseball, in most cases Nike’s exhortation bears good fruit.
And so as I close this blog and dread working on the novel I began in earnest over three years ago, I must continue to resist my TBS with a little bit of blind faith and grit. At the end of the day, I really stand to lose nothing by trying to connect all the dots with that novel or as I’m tempted to do, begin a new one with a fresh 2013 outlook and a slightly evolved writing style. Frankly, I know it really doesn’t matter what I write as long as I “Just Do It”.
It’s funny how even though we grow old, good advice never does.