It occurs to me as I try to engineer, rather than just NAVIGATE, my checkered writing career, that sometimes the problem is the solution.
I know, it sounds all zen and "Here's how it is, Grasshopper" - but something I discovered while beating deadline tonight resounded with some sort of eternal truth. There's not much of that to be had on deadline, usually - just a grinding of glass under the stone wheel of time as all sorts of things are made to break (or at least reduce) -- including my expectations.
So there I was, hammering away, checking my e-mail as is the custom, and a flitting phrase caught my peripheral vision. It was a google alert -- a quote from Immanual Kant, of all things. "To do is to be."
Wow, I thought. That's deep. Especially when I'd been fretting about how I was ever going to finish my book when I can't even get this week's calendar done. I have no extensive staff. No assistant, no associate. It's pretty much just an army of one. And some very nice people sharing a bit of their week with me at head office.
Work some more, fret some more. Another quote jumps off my laptop screen and sits, perched, on the bridge of my nose, just beyond my glasses, waving its little letters at me.
This time it's Paul Valery, admonishing me: "The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up."
So, in other words, Paul, what you're saying is: To do is to be.
And yes, I've heard the joke, and I know that Frank Sinatra said "Do be do be do." Which, in context, is pretty stinking brilliant.
So the dilemma of how to accomplish all these objectives? how to do it all? What someone wise and calm told me recently when I was feeling neither: Spend part of your time doing one thing, and part of your time doing the other.
Like one of my favorite children's books suggests (you know the one, about Homer or whatever his name is, and the red shirt?) Cut a little from here to put a little bit there.
I don't know why, but at 3:04 in the morning, I'm of the belief that I can do this. I can achieve this duality.
In this case, turning the problem inside out reveals the solution. In the seeds the problem sheds, a new solution springs up.
Do. Be. Do. Be. Do.
How do you balance your life? I'd like to know.