What I am supposed to be doing today is a delightful mixture of admin, emails, tidying my room, proposal writing, applications and maybe if there’s time, some actual ‘work’ (where, when things are going right anyway, ‘work’ = ‘fun’, since as an artist, in general you actually LIKE making your work and look forward to doing it).
Consequently, I have gone into spoilt brat mode. What, I have to do Boring Shit? And it’s not just that it’s boring- I can live with that, especially armed with a masters degree worth of new podcasts courtesy of the Banff Center. It’s predictability that’s the killer; when I know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing and where it’s going, I can’t be arsed to do it, whatever it is, so I end up writing pointless blog posts (like this) for my amusement instead, because at least I have no idea what they’ll end up being about.
Predictability aversion is also why, when starting a new project/ piece of work, if I can envisage the end result too clearly, I lose all desire to actually make it- even though most of what I make (and like, art-wise) is either highly repetitive, structured, or boring, which doesn’t really make sense. Still, I need there to be some element of surprise, of not-knowing what will happen next to be interested enough to actually make it.
Similarly, if I have a packed diary for the weeks ahead, it puts me off wanting to do any of it, even if its actually fun stuff, ‘cos knowing its going to happen is immediately a turn-off; God knows how I ever held down an 8-year relationship, or a job for that matter. Though I do recall pulling a sickie once when I used to work ticket-monkeying at the Tate because I couldn’t face Tate Britain three days in a row. Then again…Tate Britain…
Anyway, I have realised that amusing/ entertaining myself is one of the main reasons I get out of bed every morning, and amusement and unpredictability are, of course, deeply related; after all, no joke or lolcat video is still funny on the 3rd repeat.
Note that this doesn’t necessarily hold true the other way round, since not everything unpredictable is funny; see recent Russian meteor for proof (though the above image is both quite funny, and quite predicable, and has also quite predictably already become a meme).
Of course, as I am (apparently) an adult I know that part of this role involves being Responsible, i.e. spending large amounts of time doing boring and annoying things since, unfortunately, it’s quite hard to live off laughter alone.
Though I’m trying my best, according to a general fuzzy principle I subscribe to that, from a certain angle anyway, nothing is really worth getting stressed out about, and pretty much anything can be laughed at (apart from world poverty, the paucity of rape convictions and other important things like that. Not Funny).
Anyway it’s a principle, which means it usually loses something in its translation to practice- I actually cried in the uni toilets when I realised I was never going to finish my essay by the deadline, talk about losing perspective- but still, the intention is there.
And the principle does kind of work, since, in the long run, getting all stressy about minor things costs you in both time and money. Trips to osteopaths, medication, alcohol, chocolate and whatever else is required to alleviate bodily and mental stress-pain, for example, could all be classed as money-wasting.
Rushing around in a stress, meanwhile, is technically counterproductive since it doesn’t usually save you any time- it more likely leads to doing dumb things like forgetting your keys/ wallet/ the cooker on, which are all eventually variations on time-wasting (especially if you set the kitchen cupboards on fire, which I did once as a teenager when I left a melting candle on the stove- MASSIVE waste of time).
Also, and much more significantly, rushing is about as zen as hate-eating a jumbo pack (or jet?) of Haribo on a hangover, and involves a kind of grim, jaw-clenched ‘everything must get done NOW’ determination that is, I’m convinced, a total waste of life.
As this quote I got off a meditation podcast (another favoured form of entertainment-as-self-betterment) puts it, ‘I have no time to rush’; after all, as I remind myself when accidentally locked into demented-robot-on-a-mission mode, the only thing I am definitely rushing towards is death, so I’d rather take my time, thanks. Works a treat!
Looks like I’ve successfully convinced myself that instead of mechanically crunching my way through the admin to-do-list, it actually makes perfect sense to jack it all in and spend the day mucking about with ‘hilarious’ keyword generators. Or go for coffee in the park. After all- it’s GOOD for me!
And remember, one day, you’ll be dead; no more coffee or keywords then (and no more admin either, unless you end up in hell, in which case a bottomless pit of the stuff probably awaits you) so best enjoy it while you can. Moreover, as its now Saturday, and I’m hungover, any lingering guilty feelings about not doing the admin have gone the way of my packet of Nurofen. It’ll have to be Monday- advance apologies if I owe you money, a proposal, or a DVD. It’s just not that important.
In fact it’s now Sunday. Practicing what I preach- no rushing.