The Weight of Promises

Earlier in September, I was talking with a friend, and he told me about National Sketch Writing Month (NaSkeWriMo). The idea was to write 30 comedy sketches during the month of September. I told him that I would write 30 during the last 30 hours. I ended up doing 37 during the last 24, although it’s really 36, or maybe really 33, depending on how you count. And during those 24 hours I slept and had a long meeting and rehearsal with my sketch team. So I think I did what I said I would do, and more.

The sketches were often just a spewing of words, but I knew that would be the case.

I sometimes have lots of trouble writing, because I find whatever I’m writing to be inadequate, and I don’t want to write down a version that seems to be such a poor reflection of what I mean it to be. Deadlines were always good counterweights, and I wrote my first fiction stories that way. I have begun to set more of my own deadlines, make bold promises I know I can keep but that I know would never be done if they were not promises.

It’s a strange human thing, to make things so by declaration. I would explore it more, and I should. But I need to go to sleep. I have promised that I would write every day, and I have fulfilled that promise. There is plenty to explore: whether doing something just to keep word it is a fulfillment of the word, what purpose is served by that background, what the goal is when you promise to do something, and more. But for now, I must sleep.
***
This is the second variation on National Novel Writing Month that I’ve participated in; the first was NaNoGenMo; I made a simple computer program that could generate a “novel.”

I’ve told myself a few times that I should learn programming; it’s fun in some phases, and amazingly stimulating, and I can learn it quickly. But I can lock into it, in a sort of addictive way that separates me from the world, that can manifest as an obsession. And at other times, there are all kinds of hassles associated with it; tedious tasks, opaque errors between programs I can’t control.

But mainly, there are too many other things I want to do instead.

If I could be paid to learn to program, I might do that and have a new job. But right now, I would feel the time draining away from me, I’d start to worry about what I was losing while I was programming.

Kris Kristofferson sang “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,” and it’s a sentiment that resonates deeply with how things often feel. When I feel like my time is useful, it’s hard to spend time on things.

It’s strange that we can feel interference from too many good ways to spend time, too many good things to do.

When I feel like things matter and I’m not thinking about how much time they take, I feel better. This is how I often feel.
***
Write this some day: A story of someone always cursed to look at what what he’s doing looks like from the outside, so he can never be present in what it is he’s doing. But I mean to say “try to write this some day.” I can’t promise I will. I have countless ideas of things I’d like to articulate through writing, and I have no way to say them. I wish I could even find a good articulation of how it feels to be inarticulate.
***
Sleep, for now.

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