This is not a life list.
I made a to-do list and I put TO DO! at the top and used real numbers like 1. 2. 3. 4.
1. Finish book.
2. Finish other book.
3. Finish other-other book.
4. Stop weeping.
5. Remember that statistics are weighted very heavily to death and when I die, my last words will not be BUT I NEVER SAW SEASON THREE OF GOSSIP GIR-
6. Stop watching Gossip Girl with my mouth open and that one fly who enters and exits arbitrarily.
7. Be a BodyRocker(TM). Open tins of tuna with my abs. Film myself opening a tin of tuna with my abs at sunset, at f2.8, accompanied by acoustic pop. Upload to Vimeo.
8. Kill a mouse from twenty feet away.
9. Kill a second mouse from twenty feet away.
10. Kill a third mouse from twenty feet away.
11. Dispose of bloodied, beaten, faces-twisted-in-agony dead mouse bodies from twenty fe- *
13. Smell better.
14. State the intention of being less cynical.
15. Call the plumber.
16. Aspire to more.
I downloaded an application onto my cellular telephone and I found it myself and everything. It's called Timer+ and you set it and it goes BONNNNNNNGG at the end of an hour or two hours or four hours and it's the same thing as a Zen Buddhist monk who winds up like a baseball player and hits you square in the forehead with a compassionate cast iron skillet like BONNNNNNNGG and that means it's time to stop whatever you're doing and set another timer for the next thing to do.
The sequel to The Dread Crew is two years overdue or thereabouts. The happenings of the past two years or thereabouts tapped every last creative impulse. Plus, it's the winter. Fat flakes falling slowly and drafts like a blower of freezing air from, apparently, nowhere.** Grey light and everything sopping and hauling wood and hauling wood and hauling wood because I'll be damned if I'm letting that furnace burn any more oil than the milk in my tea. My camera is upstairs eating anti-depressants and marshmallow bananas. Missy is petting it and shaking her head at me whenever I walk into the room. Gossip Girl? Are you for serious? You're watching Gossip Girl and you're weeping and there's that one fly that's entering and exiting your mouth arbitrarily. The camera whimpers and reaches for a gummy worm. Missy exhales with gusto.
I'm close, though, even if it's just close to the next stage, which is Penelope tearing into each paragraph like those dogs that are trained to attack men wearing one of those Dog Attack Suits. I love Penelope.***
I'm at the end.****
Third mug of tea. Tenth, eleventh, and twelfth hunks of birch, maple, birch.
* TO-DO list screeches to an audible halt at this point, needle dragged across a record, tavern doors swinging thwap-thwap-thwap, crickets, tumbleweeds, two chimps, single flower wilting in time-lapse, etc.
** These are the mouse doors, which are less like regular doors and more like the doors at the Taj Mahal or Buckingham Palace or Caesar's Palace and they're gilded and fourteen feet high with hot gay footmen bearing silver plates piled high with two-week-old cheerios and forgotten bags of poppyseeds and fossilized peas.
*** Penelope is my editor. She is skilled with her instruments.
**** In the two days between writing this post and publishing it, I realized that all I had left, for the novel or at least this particular draft of it, was exactly four scenes. So I gave my Zen Buddhist iMonk a stack of cast-iron skillets fifteen feet high and I finished. Penelope is snapping her jaws lustily and I'm not trying to be cute. She's going to come back and say Super-duper. Now remove at least 17,000 words and maybe I'll consider it, or some other somesuch, and then it's one gauntlet bleeding into another and really, truly, wheee. I've got The Claw and my legs are numb from the knees down. I love writing. I am a masochist.
If you had a hot gay footman, and you could ask him to bring you anything on a silver plate, and the silver plate could be unreasonably huge if need be, and if your hot gay footman could carry it on his splayed-out fingertips regardless of hugeness, what would you ask for?
Or: what small, big, everyday, or profound thing would you feel most fantastic to accomplish this very second? What's stopping you?