Sunday, 21 April 2013

Pause for Thought

I took last week off because I was completely burned out. I couldn't write anymore, even when I wanted to, because my brain needed to replenish it's stores. But the weird thing is, during my time off (and even during Parody Week), a lot happened in the world. Even more than a usual week. New Zealand legalized Gay Marriage; some maniacs blew up a street in Boston; America failed miserably to enact gun control; a horse quit it's job & a fertilizer plant in Waco Texas exploded.
I have things to say about all of this stuff, and I wondered what I should talk about first. Yet, thinking about how much stuff had built up and trying to decide what to talk about actually made me think of something else to say. See, while all this stuff was going on, I had opinions that I wanted to express, but at the same time, I was glad that I didn't have to write in my blog about it. It's like I had put my life on hold for a while, and I was relishing the inactivity. Then when I looked up today's word, I learnt something. See, that's why I am a word nerd. Sometimes, even the simple words mean much more when you would have originally thought.
The Word of the Day is: 'PAUSE'.

Pause /pawz/ n. 1. A stop or rest for a short time, especially in speech or action; delay; hesitation. 2. A break or rest in speaking or reading, depending on sense, grammatical relations, punctuation, etc. 3. Poetrycaesura. 4. give pause to cause to hesitate. ♦v.i. 6. To make a pause; stop; wait; hesitate. 7. To dwell or linger (followed by upon).

We tend to water down meaning to the basics, and for me pause was just a delay. For me, pause was only used for watching shows at home. I only press the 'pause' button on the remote when I want to go to the bathroom or get a drink of water or something. I pause one thing to do another thing. Because, what good is there in doing nothing?
I'm also quite fond of procrastination. So for something like cleaning, I like to delay (or pause) having to clean for as long as possible, so I do other things.  Last week, however, I stopped writing. Yeah, I didn't just take a break from this blog, I stopped writing stories for a week.  I love writing! I wasn't procrastinating, but I wasn't really doing anything either so it wasn't just a delay to do something else. It was more like a holiday.

'A Holiday', that's what started this whole mess, and why I'm thinking about 'pause'. See, you take holidays to relax and to recharge your batteries so you can get back to work, but writing isn't really 'work'. Sure, research isn't always easy, and sitting down to write can take some time, but I'm still sitting down. So I was confused:
I had to stop writing, because I was 'burned out' and needed to slow down and relax; yet it also makes perfect sense that writing is fun and relaxing for me.

These two points are mutually exclusive. Either one is false or my understanding is fundamentally flawed.

For a while, I thought I was just lazy. I assumed that the first premise was false, and I was making up excuses to slack off. It was around last wednesday that I was sitting on the couch, and watching a movie, when I thought:
  "You know what? I've relaxed for four days now, I feel great, let's get back to writing!"
So I got out a pen and paper and tried to write something . . . nope. I thought I was lacking inspiration, so I poured through my writing folders, checked my notes, read a little & even watched another movie.
But I found that I couldn't write. It was weird. It was like the part of my brain that I used for writing and working on stories had transformed into a slab of mincemeat while I wasn't looking. Even after four days, I was still burned out.

Then, it was so obvious. I'd been working for two weeks on my blog. I worked for two weeks, and wrote for seven days straight. Sure, it was fun, but it was work. Then the flaw in my logic was so obvious to me.

The thing is, relaxing isn't fun. I don't like to relax. Sleep is boring, sitting around is just stupid and not thinking is a slow torture. I don't like holidays and I don't like to relax. The downside, then, was that I had no idea what to do last week, because I had to rest my poor head and I couldn't write. So, no, I wasn't really holidaying last week. I wasn't relaxing. Instead I was very busy doing other things. Going for walks, catching up with friends, drinking heavily, dancing & having fun. I wasn't relaxing.
The way I think of it, I put my writing on 'pause', and used a different part of my brain while it recovered. I like to think of it as the poetic pause, the caesura. That's a pause used in poetry to accentuate words because of the moment between them, and I like to think that's what I was doing. Leaving some breathing room between one moment and the next, to give each better distinction, as well as better quality.

If you enjoy 'relaxing', and just lying around, I'm not going to say you're wrong. I don't understand you, but you're not wrong. For me, relaxing is a chore. Like cleaning, I try to avoid relaxing, since it's so boring. I like to be under pressure, and I like to keep moving. I like to be awake. Even in those moments between moments . . .

Anyway, that's what I've been thinking about. It's great to be back, and I look forward to doing another big blogging project. But until then, let me pause for a moment to catch my breath and take a look at what's been happening in the blogosphere during my absence . . .

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