Thursday, January 12, 2012

If Not Now, When?


The theme of this quote, which if I remember right is from the Talmud, has come up for me today at least half a dozen times.  I'm thinking I'm supposed to take notice.

I was organizing my workstation here at Mom's this evening and in the process checking all the pockets of my netbook bag and found a card containing the code for downloading 15 free songs into my iTunes ap.  My sister had given it to me last summer and I'd put it in that bag as the most logical place, intending to take care of the download when I got home.  But  I never lay eyes on it again before today.

I showed it to my sister and asked her if it was still good and she read the fine print and discovered it had expired at the end of September.

Now if I had taken the few minutes (under an hour anyway) to do that download the day she had given me the card I'd not only have the music on my netbook but have had the opportunity to enjoy it any time over the last 5 months.

Earlier that day I'd moved a persimmon, one of my favorite fruits and a rare treat, setting on the counter beside the sink out of her way and put it back in the fruit basket my mom had taken it from when she brought it to me while I was making our lunch the other day.  I'd set it on the counter then intending to eat it after my sandwich but had then decided to 'save it for later'.  That was three days ago.

Carri then asked me about the persimmons she had given me when they passed through Phoenix OR on their way home from Gerber, CA where they had spent Thanksgiving with Mom's side of the family.   I told her that of the four I'd eaten two but there had still been two in the fridge when I left and that I'd meant to bring them with me for fear they would not last for the month I'd be gone.

There had also been a nice bag of fresh greens for salads and wraps that I'd left in the fridge which will definitely not still be good by the time I get home.

So this got me to talking about how I am always saving the treats and the fun stuff and other things I'd really like to have or do for 'later' and quite often they go bad (if they are eatable) or expire, get lost, or otherwise become unavailable or unusable.  My sister asked why I thought that was.  Is it because I feel unworthy?  I said I don't know.  I don't think so.  It's more like I feel I have to earn it by completing a duty first.

That's a version of 'unworthy' I guess.

But that doesn't really cover it.  Often I've created an image in my mind of the ideal circumstances under which the item or activity should be used or performed and those circumstances never come about.  Maybe it is needing to finish a chore first but it could be thinking I need a certain sized slot of available time, another food item to combine with the one sitting in the fridge or another color of thread for that special crochet project, or books I own being trumped by library due dates, or, and this may be the one most often true, wanting to put off as long as possible the moment that good thing is gone.

Speaking to that last one is the little rectangle of chocolate I found inside an Altoid box when packing up our room for the move the week after Xmas.  It had to have been from before the summer of 2010 when I'd cut sugar out of my diet.  It had been my habit to save the last rectangle until I got the next bar.  And since I stopped getting the bars...

Not long after that conversation with my sister she came in Mom's room where my workstation is to tell me that her son is reading Snow Falling On Cedars and asked if I'd ever read it.  I said no but that I'd wanted to for a long time and even owned a copy.  Yep, owning it is like a guarantee I won't get around to reading it.  All those library due date, review copies, blog surfing...

She had left the room before I remembered that the copy I had now was the second one I'd acquired, the first having been either sold or left in storage when we left the Silicon Valley by bus in 2001.  And that brought up images in my mind of the hundreds of books I'd sold or left behind that summer that had set on my shelves for weeks, months, years or decades which I'd not gotten around to reading.

Then images of my manuscripts and notes for my stories and poems that had been left behind in storage that year came up.  Which reminded me that I'm still not protected against loosing the work I've done since then because I've been procrastinating backing up the files on my netbook.  Why?  Because the files are so disorganized and I picture getting them organized first, eliminating duplicates and creating a logical hierarchy of folder with filenames that don't mystify.

But the memory of loosing my digital files in 2001 because they were on the hard drive which couldn't travel on the bus and of how I didn't have hard copy to take with me either because I'd been such a miser with the ink and paper not wanting to print until I had something approaching a final draft--not quite there yet but close--gave me a frisson of fear as I realized that little had changed.  Still no hard copy of anything that is not semi-polished and still many months behind in backing up the files on the netbook in case something happens to it.

Really!  I must get over this aversion to backing up or printing files that are in some form of disarray.  It's better to have saved the mess than to loose the treasures buried in it.

Thinking about my creative writing files also got me to thinking about how many stories I have in progress and in mind and how little time I've given to them in the last year.

I returned to my workstation to finish cleaning out that bag after discovering the music card had expired.  And in one of it's pockets I found a little card with the saying featured in the pic above on it.

If not now, when?

I'd put in there as a reminder to make my creative writing a priority.

But finding that card immediately after discovering the music card had expired which had been the last of several occasions today that principle had grabbed my attention?  Spooky isn't it?

I think I'm gonna go eat that persimmon now.

0 tell me a story:

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