January 26, 2003

restless winter moonlighting

I’m in a restless mood right now, and it’s been that way since the end of last semester. I spent most of winter break running around like a lunatic, overdosing on endorphins and all the other bio-chemicals that the non-academic world had to offer, and enjoyed every minute of it. .The return to Duluth was pleasant, and it was great to see my Lake again, but the slow purgatory between frantics and school were a bit difficult. Hence the sudden redesign here at the Bored.

It’s strange to talk to other people and ask them how their break was. “It was nice. So relaxing.” I can’t even fathom the concept of a ‘relaxing’ break, as right now I find relaxation to be anything but. After summer camp and last semester and winter break, I now need to keep myself busy in an almost compulsory manner. I need to keep moving, progressing, advancing, knitting.

Maybe this is the reason I’m not a fan of winter. I love snow and cold for its recreational opportunities, and life in Duluth for its arctic bragging rights, but beyond that I wouldn’t mind a catastrophic axis shift each year that puts northern Minnesota at the equator for nine months. In any other season I can just throw on my Chacos and dash out the door at leisure, but during the winter I actually need to fill out a mental checklist before I can leave the apartment.

Jacket? Jacket’s downstairs. Hat? buried somewhere in the floor of your room. Gloves? Which pair? You’ve got ice-sparring gloves for fighting off yetis and such, lobster gloves for nordic skiing that are great if you need to mop up snot, mittens for warmth with no dexterity…

I finally collect everything and am almost out the door when I remember my hat. I stumble up the spiral staircase (more than a month later, my broken toe still hurts), dig around my room, find the hat, scold it, fall down the stairs and again make for the door.

Shit. Glasses.

And it goes on like that until I am worked into a bloody fever and finally leave the apartment a shrieking wraith. Properly dressed for the weather, of course. No tattered rags, usually. Now, when I want out, I want out now. I don’t want out five minutes from now, and with winter daylight at such a premium, I find the required planning and organization infuriating.

With winter, it feels like everything stalls out for a couple months. Nature knows well enough that it’s too much work to try and leave the apartment, so it just gives up until conditions are a bit nicer. Trees drop their manes, birds flee, lakes freeze up, bears quit hanging themselves in bear bags… I guess I just can’t stand the sudden lack of activity. I draw heavily on my environment for inspiration, and when it feels that there ain’t nothing worth doing it leaks into my head and makes my brain as useful a pile of wet cardboard.

And such is my life of mixxed bizziness. While it is simulaneously frustrating and exciting, it seems to make writing exceedingly difficult. To be able to chunk something out in words you need to have a starting point, some sort of center that you want to entertain and develop. There are always a million starting points, and the trick is to just pick one and run with it. That’s what I’ve done in the past, but right now it seems I can’t even get those points in order.

The problem is that all these activities snowball. I have little desire to sit in my squalid apartment and squander away even ten minutes to figure out something to write, because I know that if it starts going well and I get off on all sorts of tangents and such, that ten minutes will become an hour, and that’s an hour more than I wanted to spend on the computer. I would much rather resolve to hang out with some friends for a couple minutes, and accidentally whittle away the evening. I love writing, and when I feel I’ve got something I’ll stick with it until the end, but I get really cranky during the process. I’ve snapped at many a roommate who just wanted to make an honest inquiry into what the heck I was doing.

And thus leads us to the irony of blogging. The amount of content that gets pasted up onto the internet is inversely proportional to the amount of content that is being produced in the real world.