It’s been nearly a week since I was going to think more carefully about acedia and me (also a great book, bought my own copy last Thursday). Definitely a tricky bastard of a head-space.
In the meantime I’ve been confirming one aspect of my writer’s life: I compose narratives like this ALL THE TIME. As I stretch and contemplate opening my eyes in the morning. As I walk from one end of the house to the other. As I play endless games of Solitaire on my iPhone while waiting for the minivan to be ready (4 hours, last Thursday…before I bought the book).
What I wanted to do next was refer to an interesting snippet I’d captured as a phone screen shot, all about varying definitions of writerly success. I wish I could remember them—having them hover on the edge of my memory is annoying. I’ve even burned over half an hour peering into the interwebs to re-find it.
Nevertheless! Its charm for me was the idiosyncrasy of the example list. The expected fame or fortune items were there, but something like “write every day” was there, too. What if I declared myself a successful writer if I put words here six days out of seven? Or five of seven? Not whether I have an audience of (gasp) triple digits, but when I put the words to the post? I have been cynical about goal-setting for some number of years now (another post, another time!), but I’m newly intrigued by crafting my particular definition of success.
Especially if success involves simply routinely tethering an activity I do all the time anyway.
I was going to nail down my personal writerly success definition right now in this post…but (but?!) I don’t have the time I thought I would due to aforementioned interweb rummaging and I have too many partial writings jumbled in my head to concentrate.
Like musing about acedia!
That Wikipedia article goes on to quote Kathleen Norris as saying acedia “can invade any vocation where the labor is long, the rewards slow to appear[…].” Hey, would you look at that. Acedia’s still lining up with my life as if it were on rails…. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that, of the five poems I sent out on June 30th, four have already been rejected. Sigh.
“[A]ll of this, Norris relates, is connected to the hopelessness and vague unease that arises from having too many choices, lacking true commitment, of being “a slave from within”.” See! See! I knew ‘too many choices’ was part of my problem!
I like having a diagnosis. Diagnoses often mean there’s treatment. Or at least symptom management. Now to be honest, dear reader, I have been bopping around with this diagnosis since last Wednesday. I merely hadn’t yet shared the process with you. Nor reread Norris’ book, which was my functional-self’s treatment plan.
Instead, I spent Saturday completely submerged in people, mostly while I was teaching (lecturing) but also while learning and connecting socially. Sunday saw more socializing. Monday was still uneven on its pins, but today (Tuesday) has behaved like a Usual Day. Including coming here.
I’m thinking the fever may have broken.