(if the meaning of the title of this post is unclear, read this story by Kelly Link. Nothing to do with the post at all, but still worth absolutely reading!)
Speaking of unclear, the way that my interests wax and wane has never been something I’ve been able to pin down. They rotate–usually for a period of 3 weeks or so I’m intensely interested in a subject than I meander off to something else. Occasionally a new interest will enter the rotation, and occasionally an old one will be retired.
And of course I am (well, more or less) able to subsume this drift when, say, working on a novel, or revising something on a deadline.
But it is a denial of my desire, absolutely.
But when I have been working on a project for 3 weeks or so–say, working on a long poem–I see something else on the edge of my sight. It’s a little glimmer of hunger for a Something Else. Say, teasing out an essay on spiritual poetics. Sure, they’re related. But in terms of actual practice, there is an actual shift and flurry of activity.
This is why my bedstand is literally and figurative a mess with books. I pursue new books, but definitely perform a ‘catch and release’ policy. My only hope, if I am unable to finish a book in those 3 or so weeks, is to catch up with it during my next cycle with the passion in question. This of course is in itself problematic, since it’s difficult to jump into the middle of a hazily remembered book.
This cycle is what I know. It’s who I am. It’s life for me. I’ve pretty much learned to accept it, but there are times when I’m feeling more ambitious that I wonder–am I doing something wrong? Why the hell can’t I focus on just one thing? I am able to finish projects such as novels much of time, but it’s not easy. (Yeah, it never is…but it’s difficult when I feel the urge to, I don’t know, develop a role playing system in the midst of the third to last chapter. Problematic.)
It also doesn’t really make for a really nice, laser-focused blog, you know?
There is also another way of looking at it, that these different projects and interests are all part of a Great Work, representative of different chapters of the Work of My Life (without getting too grandiose), different rooms in the memory palace which my thoughts and emotions call home. They are oftentimes unruly, competitive houseguests, but more or less they get along, I would like to think.
And no one gets voted out of the house.