9. Streamlining

Chapter: Not Posts
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I’ve been devoting a lot of time these past weeks to streamlining. Mainlining, free falling, hop stepping, call it what you will. The point is clarity of purpose: take care of and love my family, write and read and teach. The point is simplicity: “complexity resolved,” according to Brancusi. Streamlining=resolving complexity, that works for me, and please don’t muck the waters with any of that if and only if bullshit. I’m trying to reduce psychic clutter here. Paring things down: my wardrobe, my pantry, my library, reining in the chaos. Goodbye, cable knit sweater; good riddance, spice mixes and half boxes of pasta; fare thee well, Jonathan Franzen, I tried to like you, really I did, but I won’t look back: I’ve got five volumes of My Struggle still to get through, a whole bunch of Elena Ferrante calling my name, can’t get enough Babel, and then there’s my Dylan seminar to prepare. I set up some e-mail filters, canceled magazines, got the dog walker lined up on a more regular schedule. SmallerMan’s high school application process is just about done (of course, it’s just about time for SchoolLess to start looking at colleges, but never mind that now). I have my to-do list as under control as it’s been in months, if not years, thanks to a two-pronged attack: first, ignore a task in the hope, realized more often than one might think, that it will become unnecessary, and, two, if that that doesn’t work, just fucking do it. Hanukkah shopping remains, but we don’t go crazy with gift buying and there’s a hard deadline, which is exactly what I need. And then there’s the big one, my albatross, my millstone, my cross to bear. I’m talking about my notes: 5401 pending e-mails categorized as #NoteToSelf, 104 saved voice memos, at least as many self texts, and then, the behemoth, my yellow pads, a couple hundred or more sheets filled with writing related miscellany, etcetera, ad nauseam. I’ve been attending to these things with increased intensity but it’s a long slog. No matter how quickly I work through the material, there’s always more where that came from, I add new stuff everyday, and you wouldn’t believe how often one note suggests another. I feel like Tristram Shandy: “I shall never overtake myself.”

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