Miranda July is one of my favorite artists and writers–she’s just got that something you can’t put your finger on, that quality that makes you feel as though this complete stranger somehow knows the most fundamental truths about you and is telling stories about you, or at least to you, in their work. If you’re not familiar, I highly recommend her film Me and You and Everyone We Know and her story collection, No one belongs here more than you. She’s quirky, yes, but once you get past the strangeness, you realize there’s all of this beauty and weight to what she’s saying.
This week, The New Yorker‘s book blog, The Book Bench, is posting excerpts from July’s new book, It Chooses You, in which she recounts the people she met responding to ads from the PennySaver whilst doing research for her latest film The Future. The first post, a meditation on the writing process and procrastination, strikes as deep a chord in me as anything. She writes:
The funny thing about my procrastination was that I was almost done with the screenplay. I was like a person who had fought dragons and lost limbs and crawled through swamps and now, finally, the castle was visible. I could see tiny children waving flags on the balcony; all I had to do was walk across a field to get to them. But all of a sudden I was very, very sleepy. And the children couldn’t believe their eyes as I folded down to my knees and fell to the ground face-first, with my eyes open. Motionless, I watched ants hurry in and out of a hole and I knew that standing up again would be a thousand times harder than the dragon or the swamp and so I did not even try. I just clicked on one thing after another after another.
This is how I seem to feel nearly every day lately–almost everything I take on, whether it’s at work, on a freelance project, cleaning the apartment, or even (especially?) updating the blog, the task becomes monumental, seemingly impossible for me to complete in any timely way, no matter how simple it is or how much I want to do it. My to-do list is my biggest enemy.
Anyway, the post made me think, and it made me want to write, and that’s what these things are supposed to accomplish, right? And now I’m off to tackle the rest of my to-do list for today–I’m ready to take you on, procrastination!
*Image via Wear Color