Working Hard, or Hardly Working

Sunday is my only day off. As my only day off, I usually just want to sit around and do nothing all day long. But also, as my only day off, it’s the day I need to do laundry and clean and buy groceries and, ideally, cook a fun dinner for my wife.

Sunday is also my best opportunity to catch up on my creative work, something I abandoned because of personal life stresses many years ago, which I’m trying to regain. But when I have to do laundry and clean and shop and cook — and really just want to be laying on the couch napping and watching sitcoms with my cat — it’s difficult to also write and read and play guitar and practice my harmonica. But those are things I need to force myself to do.

To force myself to do them, I’ve set myself some goals. In October, I’m working on two short pieces of creative writing: an essay about running for submission to Runner’s World but most probable publication in some other, more minor outdoors magazine, and a short story about an imaginary acquaintance I used to have back in Napa. (He was a troll; he passed away during the earthquake. I used to pass his home on many of my long runs and bid my respects.) Today I did indeed finish the first draft of the running essay, which came in at just over one thousand words. It requires heavy editing and re-working.

In November I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month. My novel is going to revolve around a career hospitality worker, which is a sort of bizarro-world alternative reality I could easily be living. The protagonist is a composite of myself and several people I’ve worked with over the years. His co-workers are, likewise, fictional of course but will incorporate characteristics of restaurant people I’ve known and loved.

And all of this is going on at the same time as my Super Secret Creative Project (tipping my hand a little, it’s a screenplay), and my budding harmonica skills. Little in this world makes me as happy as working towards improving myself. Even if on some base level I do just want to be laying on the couch with a beer.

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