“Book Prison”

Greetings from my cell. No worries, I like it here, and I do get out for exercise, social contact, and to teach yoga. The view of Turtleback Mountain from my back window is beautiful, and the cell is quiet. It’s my apartment. “Book prison” is a phrase I’ve heard other authors use, but I’ve never experienced it this way before. I have to get final revisions done before the next Mae Martin mystery goes to my editor in mid-September, and I keep finding more things I want to fix. Though I’ve done all the major revisions based on my critique partners’ input, I’m discovering things they missed, especially those pesky over-used words. I’m also making a few cuts and obsessing on getting the chapter-ending and chapter-opening lines just right. After that, I’ll need to read the whole thing again to make sure I didn’t change anything that affects the clarity and continuity of the plot. I have sketches of many unfinished blog posts in my “yet-to-post” file, but no time to polish them until I let myself out. Au revoir. My inner warden is telling me to get back to work.

While We Hold Still, Time Doesn’t

I came across this phrase years ago in my fitness work: While we hold still, time doesn’t. When we procrastinate exercising, we don’t maintain the status quo but get into worse shape. The same is true of the planet. While world leaders and national leaders put off serious action on climate change for too many years, the process didn’t pause and wait for them to get around to something. I want to believe that the new agreement forged in Paris will lead to action, finally. While conscious pausing can be positive—taking time to deliberate and then choose an action—inaction can lead to negative consequences as powerfully as any unwise action might.

I’ve been thinking about my own areas of procrastination. I don’t wrestle with the behaviors people typically make New Year’s resolutions about, such as eating right and staying fit. However, there are plenty of things I put off as if they will take care of themselves—tedious paperwork chores that are much less fun than running. Choosing between what feels good today that will lead to something bad tomorrow and something that calls for discipline and discomfort today that will lead to a greater good tomorrow seems to be the key issue in procrastination—along with the delusion that time holds still with us. Meanwhile, the forces of physics, the marketplace, biology and karma keep moving.