Sunday, October 19, 2008

Of Ants and Worms

Done, done, not done, done. Not done. Not done.

Did you ever read The Once and Future King by T.H. White? I loved that book...

Yes, I was one of those. Nerdy. Bookworm. Glasses and all. I was the kid with a book (usually a moldy oldy) in my backpack. Reading every spare minute. I love to read. I don't seem to have so much time for it lately. With the induction of a little person to my house, my attention span went the way of... um... half my spoons and every single pen and pencil. I still read a lot, but I read blogs, magazines, articles, newsletters. Blurbs. Everywhere. I somehow lost my ability to really read a novel. I miss that. I miss getting completely lost in a good long rambling story. The long rambling ones are my favorite. That way, when I'm really into the story, it doesn't end too soon. I like books that just go on and on following a persons life. Sigh. Those are the goods.

And that up there was something of a rabbit trail, but I will make it back around to my original point in a minute. First, on the note of reading books, above, I just wanted to say that I just finished a whole book today that was so fun. If you're lucky and the planets align and I don't go wandering down any more paths frequented by furry cottontails, I'll be posting a book report tomorrow.

Now, back to my original point... The Once and Future King. (Wait... this is not my point yet, but I'll get there.) Nathan also loves this book, and we make frequent refference to it in our daily lives. Okay, maybe not that frequent... But if one of us mentions done, done, not done-- we both know, or make up, the meaning. Yeah, I married a nerd, too. (Uh... still not the point here) But our interestes in books were different-- I read historical fiction and Jane Austen and other classics and he read SciFi and Tolkien and Marvel Comics. However, we did both read The Once and Future King and loved it.

I think my very favorite part in that book is when Wort (the young King Arthur) gets turned into an ant by Merlin. The ants have a communication system composed entirely of something resembling the words "done" and "not done". Well, it makes sense, really. They work. All the time. So all they have to worry about is whether a job is "done" or "not done". It was a fascinating concept to my 11 year old self!

So at the end of the day (or week or whenever) I look over my mental list of things I would like to have accomplished and I think, "Not done, done, done, not done, done." It seems like, however, there's an aweful lot of "not done" going on. (And, hey! Here's my original point.) I lament that I am not more productive. I am creative and ambitious, no? I "can do" lots of things! I just... don't. I have all these things I'm interested in, but I find myself only doing what I have to do. And when I know or read about people who do so many things (Okay, so the book I just read was about Julia Child. Talk about accomlplished.) I wonder, now why can't I have that kind of drive? To persue just a few of my myriad half-developed skills? Why can't I pick something? I mean, seriously, I have a gazillion things that I like to and can do. But I guess I'm not passionate about any of them, so they slide. I feel great when I do complete a project, so where's my energy to do projects all the time? I guess I'd just rather read a story to my little bookworm-in-training. And then we'll go bake some muffins.

Alas, I seem to be doomed to be a "Jane of all trades but master of none" and I should just get used to it. I need to at least put some energy toward finishing a few projects that I've started. Like a few web design projects that are taking over and making hash of my entire consciousness. Or a pile of sewing projects. And maybe I can just get a few sketches into my watercolor book...

I was trying to figure out what my biggest "time-waster" is. Where does my time go that I could otherwise be using to Accomplish Things? Um... reading. (Look! I made a circle in this strange rambling post!) Yeah, I read too much. I thought I didn't have time to read, but I guess I don't have time because I read!

And in my mind, this post is taking on other dimentions, delving into the psychology (and psycosis) of the reading/accomplishing cycle and it's starting to scare me. I think I'll call that "not done" and end it here.

Done, done, not done, not done, done, not done...


  1. Um. Wow. I'm sorry to tell you that it will never change and maybe will get worse.

    I once won a prize in a sewing group for having the oldest UFO. UnFinishedObject. That is, unfinished craft/sewing project. That was a good ten years ago and that project is still unfinished. I have a mountain of them.

    And because YOU got me reading blogs, this weekend I didn't get my homework done.

  2. Would you like a little cheese with your whine?



  3. At least you can read. I think after the age of 16 when I was snowboarding and riding bikes and motorcycles and whatever else, I lost my ability to read. I actually tried to read my favorite, "1984," and literally couldn't get into it. I read a few pages and drop the book and never pick it up again. I always feel like I need music or something, at which point I get distracted by music and forget I was reading. I haven't read a book in years. Remember when I was into Desmond Bagley? I could read all day then. I literally don't have the attention span for it.
    Wait, I lied, I read Maria's books, the first 2 volumes of book one, and book 2 as well. That's actually quite an accomplishment. And I've learned a bit of German and alot of Spanish in the last 8 months, so I'm not totally stupid I guess.
    Huge comment.