I’m supposed to be writing this week. I thought I would pound out at least four more chapters in seven days. So, that didn’t happen. Life happened. It happened all around me. Cat sitting, dog managing, spouse home for several weeks recovering from a surgical adventure. Oh, yes. I said weeks. Even when those around you take care of themselves and stay out of your field of vision, for the most part, we are always keenly aware of their presence. We’re also aware of the laundry mountain awaiting our attention, and the dust bunnies multiplying like, well, rabbits, beneath the sofa and pulling food from the freezer for dinner 8 hours from now. And hey! Wouldn’t this be a great time to call Nancy and have a chat over coffee?
In 2011, the University College in London did a study and concluded, and I quote, so you won’t think I just made this up to justify my possible ADD-Sugar-enhanced-Dory-the-fish Olympic avoidance festivals, “… those who are easily distracted from tasks at hand have ‘too much brain’.” Researchers at the university found that there were larger than average volumes of grey matter in certain brain regions in people whose attention was easily diverted.
YES! This is the problem! I have too much brain! I am vindicated! Free now to claim superior deductive powers, not a lack of control over my attention span. No, sir. It is the sole fault of my giant fraking brain.
Some distractions we really can not do anything about and so we must live with them. Others, we can have some control over; like our writing environment. I have a table that I used as a desk last year that sat in the corner of my living room. It worked pretty well for me until staring out the window at the neighbors house began to feel far less inspirational than it once did. It was time for a change of scenery. I commandeered the dining room. A long, white table sits next to the front window giving me a street view of winter snow, spring blossoms and now, a lush green, leafed out Michigan summer. Being a dining room table it is a magnet for every bit of junk mail, keys, hats, empty coffee cups and whatever family has in their hands as they pass. I made this place a little writing altar. I have a candle and a Kwan Yin and some little tchotchke things that I use as writing juju. I do not care if that Sprint headset box that was left on the table looks just as important as my turquoise suede pouch with the wolf stone my daughter gave me, it is not MY juju and I find it distracting.
The other day on Pinterest, (the MECCA of distraction), I saw a sketch of a guy sitting on a heap of books with more piles covering the landscape. It said some clever thing about wisdom. Nice enough picture, but I found myself thinking that any real lover of books would be freaking out at the horrible disorganization of what they supposedly, love. That is not wise. That is not even love. That is feeding a short term addiction to interesting stuff. When we truly love what we read and love what we write and love the ideas our muses give us, we want to be able to easily and quickly lay our hands on them again so we can quote them or nurture them into a storyline.
Scanning my dining table/workspace I find that my own stacks of reference books, research material, spiral notebooks and sticky notes with “great ideas” may have been moved to accommodate the nearly finished mocha latte to-go cup that he-who-will-not-be-named really, really needed to leave right there. It … distracts me.
Shades of Joan Crawford screaming about wire hangers move through my mind when I look up from the keyboard and see that paper cup exactly where my Celtic Wheel of Life and The Path of Druidry books were earlier this morning.
Logic says that this is all yet another avoidance tactic to getting down to the writing. Giant Brain Squirrel Girl says, “Honey, does this rag smell like chloroform?” It will be interesting to see which choice my giant brain makes…right after I have some lunch because I see the spouse making a sandwich and that looks really good right this very minute…