While I was busy thinking about doing other things I made an incredible, life-changing discovery. Listen close because this will concern you.
My mother is a visual artist, she paints, draws, sews, journals, she beachcombs for found objects and ideas. My parent’s little house is testament to my mother’s inherent inability to leave a thing alone. Her mark is everywhere. It’s messy-beautiful. Mum would say she’s been in a malaise lately. She has an idea she’s moving toward but it’s taking time, too long, and the other day she emailed me about all the procrastinating she’d been doing.
I read her list. It was extensive. I saw research and mapping, I saw thinking time and a beginning. To succeed, all projects, big or small, need those things even though they feel rubbery and they may not add to word count or thread count (do visual artists count brushstrokes like I count words?). I wrote back to my mum and said she’d been doing all kinds of stuff toward her project and to be kind to herself. I told her the time between projects was space that she needed. Then the epiphany.
Procrastination is the rebound lover you have to have.
Stay with me.
What happens is you work on your project, you’re enamored, you sleep it and eat it, you are a couple, the bestest couple in town. You stay together, spoons paired in the drawer, until your project is done. Done. You hang your poject on the wall or put it on the shelf and then…emptiness.
You don’t love this single life of no idea. All the time you have to yourself frustrates, you pine for your old love and can’t imagine anything new.
Then you glimpse a notion, a notionette, the babiest of smallest things. You try it on, try it out, does it fit, is it yours? You make a list, you draw up a plan, you draw the same plan from back to front to see if the ending will show you a beginning. You go to bed, not to sleep to think to dream to play because this is your rebound lover.
Procrastination is especially valuable for artists. We are not wasting time, were spending it. Soon enough we’ll be at the, ‘it’s not you, but it might be’ stage. Soon enough we’ll commit to the swoon and the thrill, the cruising ups and the teaching downs of our new love.
I’m mid-idea. I’m on idea overload, my head swims with sentences, paragraphs form and dissipate, form, dissipate. I see chapter headings in text messages and half-made stories morph and flow like clouds across the bluest sky. I’m procrastinating. I hold hands with all of my ideas to see whom to pick. I whisper, procrastinate me.
not procrastinating, dreaming