Sunday, November 9, 2014

Week 45 of 52: Musings on moderation

Note: When I started writing this post I had no idea what I was writing about. But after I read it over and edited a few things, I believe the theme I was writing about was moderation. I’m sorry, but you kind of need a theme otherwise no one will read your blog!


Sometimes you have no idea what to write about. For me, today is one of those days and it rides on the back of several weeks of those days. It is a horrible feeling to have so many things to write about but be unable to choose one to actually write about.

The first step is always the hardest. But once you get going it can be hard to stop. Running and writing are so similar for me in that regard. To moderate myself is so incredibly hard for me, although I have gotten much better over the last couple of years.

My coach takes care of running for me, if I’m honest with him he moderates running for me. And I am honest with him, it is kind of a brutal honesty-raw and unrefined. It is the type of honesty one can only really have with a journal. I really can’t be expected to control everything in my life and seeing as my coach loves to read tragic comedies, I thought we made a good pair.

How do I moderate the writing? Well, I’m working on that. Working on explaining it actually. So here it goes:

To moderate the writer is really to moderate the self. And as you all know, I do not have a strong history in self-moderation (read: no history of self-moderation).

What I find with most things is, I’m either “all in” or abstaining from it. Abstinence, in my case, is usually what follows a period of overindulgence in said thing I am now abstaining from. It’s kind of what I do. For example, like when one makes an entire batch of blueberry wheat free vegan pancakes and eats them all in one sitting. And now that hypothetical person (no not me!) will not eat pancakes for a whole entire year…

I feel like I’m onto something here. Some theory on binge eating and guilt or something?! Unfortunately, it does not help with explaining how I moderate writing. I mean, can you really binge write? I know I can binge run (hence the need for a run coach) but I don’t know about binge writing.

I have definitely felt the urge to write, where I stay up until 4 am typing on my keyboard just to get it out of me. But those days seem like another life. Now I have a very strong desire to getting adequate amounts of sleep. Mostly because it helps with all things, such as proper human functioning. Plus being tired makes me feel inefficient. And I loathe that.

Ok, so it looks like I used to binge write (not sleeping and writing instead is a good example of that) and then I would take longs breaks from writing and now I have actually been able to moderate it. I do write every day now, whether I want to or not, even if it is for just a few minutes or to work on a blog post. But there is no compulsive component to it anymore.

And just for the naysayers, compulsion does not = creativity. Compulsion does go with binging (just saying). The thing is, I’m still creative with writing, I do have a novel on the go right now while I maintain weekly blog posts. It is November Novel Writing Month, so how could I not have a novel on the go?! But seriously, I actually started it in September and I’m around 33,000 words now, so that is kind of cool that I’m still working on it.  See, not being compulsive but still being creative.

I kind of feel like I should be celebrating this moment. Like I finally learned to moderate something I love doing. Impossible!? Problem is, I’m not quite sure how I was able to do it…  

It’s strange to me that I must be able to explain why it happened in order for it to have actually happened. Like if I can’t explain how I did it, how could I have possibly done it?! I blame the writer in me for that need of mine to create narratives for myself.

A great writer (no, not me) said: Fiction has to make sense, life does not. (Actually I did say that…It is just my way of saying a writing truism that other writers have said before me).

For example, Mark Twain said (allegedly, according to the Internet):
“It’s no wonder truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.”

Ok, now back to me and my quote.

Life doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense. I mean, stuff happens and people do things that seem more randomly generated than the result of rational thinking. And if we are honest with ourselves, I think we will find that we don’t truly understand why anything turns out the way it does or people do the things they do. It is our need to make sense of it all that is actually the only thing I can say is truth. And that is interesting to me.  I know my constant need to make sense of everything kind of highlights my need to be in control of everything. So does that make us all just a bunch of control freaks living in this crock pot full of toxic soup called planet Earth?

And now, I think we went in a circle. Ok, a kind of weirdly shaped dilapidated type of circle…ok, back to moderation. How do I do it with writing? I don’t know, but I think the idea of moderation could make a nice toast.

Just hear me out. 

Imagine you are giving a toast at an important dinner, not a wedding dinner or someone’s graduation dinner but something like a thanksgiving dinner.

You (sitting at the head of the table, of course) stand up and say:

So let’s raise a glass to moderation!

Moderation. The ability to control ones self and desires.
Moderation. Something we all strive for but rarely get.
Moderation. How do we get it? I really don’t know but I’m pretty sure you just do it and stop talking about it.

Now let’s eat!

And now is the part where we all get drunk and eat stupid amounts of turkey.

This is the first image that comes up when you Google "moderation writing" - clearly we are using different definitions...

This is what comes up when you Google "moderation running"...make me wonder what happens when you type in...

Ha ha! Totes!

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