Probability Theory and Procrastination

I don’t know where to begin.  Possibilities are spinning on a Ferris Wheel that refuses to stop so that as soon as I look one idea in the eye, it’s on its away again and another one is in the queue.

  • Sitting in my inbox is a children’s book idea that I tried writing in the car on the way to work the other day.  I wrote half an outline in an email to myself before a parent came in to fill me in on family car accident that happened two days ago (Everyone’s fine, which I knew when I found out from the kid.  Two days ago.)
  • I have a half-novel that needs revising along with a new third chapter and an ending. Right there are three possible places to start.
  • I’m considering an invitation – by virtue of having given the National Board for Professional Teaching people my email address –  to apply to be an education blogger which requires a thoughtful application.
  • The past few months I’ve been working on growing the most marvelous 80s hairstyle anyone on this side of Y2K has ever seen.  I should probably get a hair cut.

There’s more, but that would be indulgent.  (And a blog on its own isn’t indulgent….) I want to continue because making lists is delightfully therapeutic. It’s doing something without making the commitment to doing anything.  I especially delight in finding more things to do, or at least write down, in order to extend list-making experience.  But the I stand back and look at the list and I want to find the best place to begin.  It’s not at the top, or the bottom, but somewhere in the middle.  I have this idea that there is one task on that list that will unlock an enthusiasm for doing all the others so that the list will fall expertly and with ease, a perfectly played solitaire game.  (That I routinely cheat in solitaire ought to be a clue, I guess.)

I’m hunting for the keystone, the linchpin.  I guess I could add that to the list.

Of course, I know what I’m doing.  I – along with every other failed writer, would-be screen writer, wanted to be a (fill in the blank here) – am looking for the moment.  The perfect moment to begin in which the door opens and the light is right and the temperature is perfect and the work is easy.  It’s the magic moment.  The one that never exists at the beginning, only somewhere in the middle when you’re too busy doing the thing to enjoy the feeling of doing it.

Probability says that there is a minute fraction of a possibility that the molecules in my body and the wall in front of me might rearrange themselves so I could walk through it.  There’s an equal probability that I will fall upon the moment, the perfect time to begin, while sitting here staring at the wall.  But as long as there’s an outside chance, the desire to wait for it keeps that Ferris wheel spinning around and around, just waiting for the right idea at the right time.

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