Thursday, October 30, 2008

Reflecting on Wasted Time

I find lots of ways to waste time. Yesterday I blogged (yeah, maybe that's a time waster, you think?) Yesterday I outlined the ways I thought I might use (or waste) my hours. I went on that walk I mentioned. It was long and fun. I stopped for a taco and coffee. I wrote the following as the umpteenth potential first sentences of one of my most ambitious unwritten novels (Pogonip) while sitting in front of a fancy convenience store on Barton Springs consuming same.

Pogonip slid out of his seat and flipped open the overhead, grabbing his overcoat and removing a soft-sided briefcase and a day pack and easily hefting them on one shoulder. He wasn't particularly eager to join the jostling crowd in the aisle or even to escape the plane, but the tall, slim woman in the window seat was halfway up, gripping the headrest in front of her, bent uncomfortably in a curve defined by the compartment above her. He edged into the crowd to give her room to slip out and stand nervously beside him, fishing in a shapeless cloth bag she'd had under the seat.
I was actually quite satisfied with this, but it didn't inspire me to continue. Instead I started thinking 'Why fiction? Is it because I know so little that is fact?"

Well, I did take the walk. I did stop for coffee and snack. I never worked out. Instead I went to the storage unit and fished around for some office supplies for FFP, got an AC filter for a friend, emptied the trash can I'd provided for the storage area (which others had filled with discarded things), walked to the Office Supply store nearby with FFP to get the supplies he needed (which, of course, I couldn't find in the storage unit), checked some financial things and read the papers (worked crosswords), showered, went to a political talk at the Headliners Club, drank Manhattans, ate, watched a CSI: New York.

Pogonip will have to wait to walk down the concourse. The woman sitting next to him will have to wait to fumble two cell phones out of that bag. Her place in his novel will pend revelation until another day. When he's walking down the concourse, he will see three newspaper dispensing boxes. Each paper (Austin, Dallas, Houston) will have a different photo from a terrorist attack. He may smell the Iron Works barbecue and hear Marcia Ball music over the loud speakers. Or not. The newspaper box thing relies on something that happened to me. I walked down that concourse and saw those boxes displaying different views of an airline crash. I wish I could remember when that happened. Maybe I should wait to write the novel until I have typed up all my old journals and hope that I wrote something down about it?

And so it goes. It's really no wonder that I can't really write a novel or much of anything else. Today I have wasted most of the day. I spent a lot of it at my club. First I played tennis. Then I ate, did a few exercises, sat through a long meeting where I didn't feel I contributed anything. And now? I'm blogging!

[Picture reflects the photographer in the reflecting balls embedded in the wall at Chuy's on Barton Springs.]

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