The improvisational now

The world depends on structure. Loose or tight, everyone’s life has its own rhythm. Even when you look at the lives of those who abhor organization and routine you find it.

I have a contrarian friend who is most dependable. We can count on him to be late. We can count on him to miss his tax deadlines. He is dependably ever re-organizing after the mess overwhelms. He dependably watches a great number of movies. He routinely overrides cues and goes to bed too late.

That’s all true, but so is this . . .

This freewheeling friend can also be counted on for long, engaging conversations on many subjects, from bathroom mishaps to societal progress. 

This friend can be counted on to take a long walk with you whenever you need it. 

He will be there repeatedly throughout your days in the way no one else is (But you, Ann! But you 🙂

And for sure you can be certain in any given week he will have left the greatest range of messages on your voicemail that anyone will leave in your lifetime, from silly to profane to profound.

I’m thinking of the rhythm of our days because my hours became unmoored from structure recently. Things were left undone. More than that, my system collapsed.

I’m in recovery now, re-assembling piece by broken piece.

Here’s the curious part: When I looked closely the structure wasn’t gone — it had simply shifted.

It turns out I’d merely shifted priorities without knowing it: Instead of engaging my daily practices I was breathless to keep up with the daily political mayhem.  

Normally I’m able to keep the cacophony of the world at a low hum in my days. Not now! I’m rabid with fascination.

I substituted creative work for fascination with this year’s wild and disruptive presidential race.

The solution?

My new structure is one of accommodation. I’m creating space for political overload. I’m interested; it’s important; I refuse to repress the urge. 

Denial wouldn’t work anyway. My mind is far cleverer than my will. Especially a will enfeebled by lack of desire for a strong will (in this instance). (Hell, who am I kidding, in so many instances.)

The accommodation is this: 

1. I’m returning with vigor to the creative and physical practices I’d been shirking . . . 

2. . . . By forgoing reading books for now. I’m imbibing politics instead. 

That’s the tradeoff: No books, lots of politics. For now. Until, like an ice cream junkie, I’m sickened by over consumption, throw up from too much of it . . . forcing a change in my ways.

Books might be snarky about where your attention went slumming, but ultimately they’re a forgiving lot. 

Unlike a lover you done wrong, books will always take you back.  

For you 

Evan Griffith
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