I’ve done a lot of things in my life that stopped being fun as soon as I had to do them, when they became something that got graded, something I had to do deliberately instead of instinctually, something I needed a strategy for instead of just a “want to.”
Music is the most obvious – I played the viola for 8 years, and really enjoyed the orchestra parts while despising the practicing parts. It just wasn’t worth it to spend two hours repeating something only to have it flit by in a heartbeat during a concert, never to be seen or heard from again. I was in choirs and musicals and choruses and voice lessons for years before one of my conductors said to us during rehearsal, “You should enjoy these sessions, because some of the most magical, emotional moments will happen in this room, not onstage or in front of a microphone.” And she was absolutely right – one of the reasons I stick with my chamber choir here in the city is the emotional response I have when we are finally adding musicianship into the notes. Usually in concert we’re all too keyed up by the audience to luxuriate in our own sound that way. There was one concert cycle that was the exception to that (I cried just as hard on tour as I did in the rehearsal hall), and in honor of it I’m going all the way back up to Ithaca in the fall to sing once more with my favorite conductor before he retires. After I taught myself piano chords and sought out a real teacher to give me jazz piano lessons, I had the same letdown – practicing wasn’t fun, winging it was, and I was already good enough to BS my way through a fakebook.
Swimming was an early disappointment – what I loved doing in any spare moment at the pool become a frightening, stressful chore as soon as I was on a swim team, thrashing at the sound of a buzzer and never being fast enough. In the past few weeks I’ve started swimming at the university pool and I was delighted to find how much I still loved the water–the 12-foot depth is still scary, the other lunchtime swimmers are still extremely unfriendly, and why god why someone decided to point a giant fan at the pool is a mystery…but I still feel at home in a one-piece and a pair of goggles, kicking and breathing and reaching for the next stroke.
When I got my first job in publishing I was afraid I’d lose my taste for editing, and that didn’t happen. If anything my love of office administration was diluted by the need to multitask and edit actual books. I learned I love the developmental review and hate the acquisitions ratrace. I was worried that when I started grad school I’d find the pace or the expectations would spoil my writing time, but instead I’ve loved having the time and space to write and think thoroughly. Teaching has been phenomenal so far–I forget to eat when I’m lesson planning so you know I must like it A LOT.
So what, MKP, what is the big deal you’re all “WHEN I HAVE TO DO THINGS I HATE THEM” about?
Blogging. Y’alls may notice that I didn’t even touch season 2 of Game of Thrones – my current theory, aside from a profound urge to self sabotage, is that since I knew what was happening and that the production values were good, I just got bored. I also didn’t like the pressure of HAVING to come up with a post each and every Sunday/Monday/Tuesday (I never even got into a real schedule!)
Plus, every so often when I’m scrolling through my internet BFF’s blawgs I’ll catch wind of a BLOGGER TEMPEST about so and so being too promotional, or I’ll find myself clicking quickly past yet another giveaway or whatevs, or I’ll skim through some blogger tips and tricks to a vast readership and McDuck levels of wealth…. And every time I come away shrugging. “It’s just blogging.”
Yes, writers’ time is worthwhile. Yes, blogging is the democratic answer to the dying print media industry of columnists and correspondants. Yes I want to be on more of my internet friends blogrolls without having to futz with a network or cross-hosting and posting my blog. NO I do not like it when people in my google reader make me click through to the full post. Yes, I want to get paid for my essays and my future hypothetical projects and some-dream-day for my TV scripts. But is advertising and give-aways and traffic hits the way I want to make it? Nope. So I don’t do it.
I don’t judge folks who do any more than I judge people who run their own freelancing businesses or open an Etsy store. In the first place I like to buy things and in the second, anyone doing anything makes it easier for me to learn how to do it someday, if I’m so minded.
Right now I’m not, of course, through a mix of laziness, disinterest and DISTRACTION BY ALL THE THINGS. I also remember starting my very first livejournal when I was 17 and only 12 of my friends might be reading it. There were some college dramz, but otherwise nothing happened in that baby that anyone might pay even $.001 to click through to. And I like it that way. Sometimes I try to cultivate a For Reals SERRYUS following here, and I may start trying to do that again when a new TV show I don’t hate (SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP NEWSROOM, I AM WAITING FOR MINDY KALING) starts up and needs my expert histrionic eye.
Anyhoo. If I’m writing about this, you know things must be going well. I’m even trying to embrace the practice of running on purpose in a non-life-threatening situation (in ADDITION to swimming…who am I?!?!?) with my boyfriend, teaching impressionable young minds, dealing with the fact that my giant brother is TWENTY (happy birthday, Gigantor!), and making mental notes to oh, I dunno, WRITE SOMETHING someday. Soonish. Life, it is good. The air conditioner, it is cool. Dance Academy season 3 is in the works and not a moment too soon. Wax on, wax off. Be nice to eachother, life is short.