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When the Fantasy of Plenitude Meets the Reality of Depletion - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
When the Fantasy of Plenitude Meets the Reality of Depletion
Like most of you, I usually approach the weekend with the hope of making progress towards a list of personal and professional goals and usually leave it with despair at not having made any of that longed-for progress or, what actually feels worse to me, the realization that, even though I made progress, I was much further away from my goals than I had thought. It's enough to make a person conclude that Loverboy's "Working for the Weekend" is a paragon of insight.

This weekend has felt worse than most, despite the fact that I have made demonstrable progress on a number of fronts. Maybe I'm just worn out from the brutal schedule I've been keeping this semester. Or maybe I'm coming down with something. The reasons matter less than the result, which is that I keep producing metaphors that depict my condition as emptiness, a reservoir drained to the point where refilling it seems highly unlikely. Even the drives that typically push me forward in times of malaise aren't working right. Hell, I just had the idea of joining a monastery, because it would mean that I could stop staring at all the books on my shelves.

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Comments
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: December 8th, 2008 03:58 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Today I wondered--and yesterday, I confess--what it would be like if I just gave all my books away. I couldn't get my head around it entirely. But there was an incredible sense of peace in the prospect. And then the heavy weight of the realization that I'd probably never do it--in spite of the rather large part of me that wanted to.

It's funny. I always think weekends should be weightless but they're so often exactly as you describe here--especially Sunday nights. It's very nice to see you around the blogosphere though. I've been trying to get around a bit more myself lately but it seems that I'm mostly failing, even though I'm reading. Inspiration is hard to come by sometimes.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: December 8th, 2008 07:08 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
The book-giving-away fantasy is a powerful one. Maybe we should form a collective and round up all our volumes for some noble cause.
From: e4q Date: December 8th, 2008 08:16 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
i did it once. when i got ill and i felt mocked by my books. nothing bad happened, and other people may be getting something from them now. i hasten to add that i also got rid of all my teaching materials. this was only possible because i really felt there was no way back.

by the by, you might enjoy the kindly awareness meditation, i posted it at the end of my christmas card post.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: December 8th, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Well, if it comes to that, I might. I haven't given up on teaching yet, though, so it would be hard to justify. Maybe I'm deluding myself, though.

I'll check out the meditation. I need something, certainly.

And, in closing, thanks so much for commenting here and elsewhere. I've been communicating with or to a void, for the most part, since I stopped posting so much and lost some of my readers. If you weren't in the comments as much as you are, I might give up altogether.
From: e4q Date: December 8th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
i am not necessarily recommendig a book purge. although actually i got rid of all novels in my 20s and i have only ever re-bought one. i was moving house a lot at the time and got fed up with them.

download soon, as the link has been up for a couple of days. otherwise let me know and i will email it you. i listen to stuff like that all the time. i particularly recommend this geezer http://www.audiodharma.org/talks-gil.html if you get into it.

people do seem to drop away. why don't you pinch some of my friends? some of them are quite regular.
e_compass_rosa From: e_compass_rosa Date: December 8th, 2008 06:29 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I think you know how I feel about weekends...
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: December 8th, 2008 07:06 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I do. I wish they were better for you. I'm OK with them, generally. I just can't get anything done.
jstgerma From: jstgerma Date: December 8th, 2008 11:06 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'm hesitant to join in here, since I have less weekly responsibilities to need a weekend from, but I feel much the same. My fantasy today was of resolving never to watch football again -- I quickly revised it to regular-season football -- because I've wasted so much time doing it in my life, and I suspect my interest in it is some half-conscious attempt to recapture an adolescent fantasy of stardom, and I know that time could be better spent producing or fixing or simply with others.

But those damned Eagles just won't go away.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: December 8th, 2008 01:55 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
How about that game! I was thinking of you. Luckily for me, the Cal men's basketball team played so badly that my hopes for the season have already been dashed. Well, I like to think so, at least. But both of us have been down that dashed-hopes road before.

Are you coming to Tucson at all? I'd love to see you. I might be going to the Bay Area after Christmas, too.
jstgerma From: jstgerma Date: December 8th, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I was going to mention that:I am coming to AZ, and would also love to hang out. Probably around the 22nd-2nd. I'll drop you an e-mail when I book my ticket.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: December 8th, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Sounds great! Before Christmas would be best, I think.
cdbravo From: cdbravo Date: December 8th, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
"Even the drives that typically push me forward in times of malaise aren't working right."

It's curious, I've spent much of the last three weeks lamenting this very same thought. The more imminent that the end of the semester becomes the further I want to be from it. Customarily this is the time when I pull it all together and generate what turns out to be some of my best work. This semester it isn't happening. Instead I am sitting outside smoking a cigarette that I shouldn't have, reading blogs, and listening to time slip away fifteen minutes at a time--signaled by that damn clock chiming across campus. But your post...it made me laugh and maybe even feel that I'm not alone in this impasse.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: December 8th, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That's so great to hear. And I'm pleased to see you commenting here, even if it means that you're procrastinating. . .

:-)


I guess I need to get back in the driver's seat, because whoever has the wheel is not heading anywhere I want to be.
cdbravo From: cdbravo Date: December 9th, 2008 04:15 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Procrastinating? Touche...

The driver's seat, yeah perhaps I should do the same. I suppose you can only let someone(thing)else chauffeur you around for so long before you finally buck up and take the wheel back.

And I suspect I should admit that your livejournal has become prime material for my penchant for procrastination. I haven't commented before, but I read often, chuckle frequently, and invariably come away feeling more adept than before.

And now--back to the tedium.
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