What do you do, people ask me.
I discuss my job, and though I like my job, I like to discuss the rest of the things I do.
I write things. I go places. I eat and drink things. I play things. I read things. I see things. I say things. I listen to things. I push things away from me. I pull things toward me. And I make things.
Right now I’m writing. I do this each morning.
I write journal entries, essays, stories, songs, and letters. Often the journal entries are long and rambling, the essays, stories and songs brief and compact. The letters range from chronicles of my life to meditations on my past.
Often, in these letters, I discuss regrets about my past. These often involve not doing things. There is a band whose name my line of work prohibits mentioning my name—their best known song is called “Pepper”—who wisely said that it is better to regret something you did do than something you didn’t do; this is a wise observation.
My other chief regret is throwing out a lot of ephemera from my past. Letters. Photos. Wish I hadn’t done that, because it often feels as if I threw out my life’s hard drive.
On the mornings when I can, I love going to coffee shops, getting a coffee and a bagel, sitting down with my cell phone and Bluetooth keyboard, firing up the Scrivener app, firing up my Weebly blog app in the event that I write something worth posting, and letting it rip. Often, something about sitting in a coffee shop and eating a bagel while sipping my coffee gets me writing.
Besides coffee shops, I love going places I’ve never gone before. I also love going to places I’ve gone to before, because I often see things I didn’t see the first time. Sometimes, particularly when I go for walks, I go no place in particular.
At some point, I will eat. I often eat microwaved Trader Joe's meals. Some—spelt risotto, mushroom ravioli—are healthy. Others, such as steak and ale pie, not so much.
I will probably have beer with this. I don’t mind drinking Bud or Pabst Blue Ribbon, but I prefer a better quality IPA, such as Lagunitas or Blue Point Hoptical Illusion. When I am up in Massachusetts I often drink Flower Power, a wonderful IPA, and when I am in Vermont, I'm fortunate enough to drink Heady Topper, which is a sort of holy grail of IPAs.
I play guitar, and I’m working on a song where the lyrics are reluctant to come to me. I don’t do well when I sit in front of a blank screen for hours, agonizing over every word. I sit down, and if words don’t come to me in about thirty seconds I know that this isn’t the time to sit down and write, and I get up and do something else.
I will probably play a board game with my father. Right now, we are playing “Dominion.” It is one of a number of amazing board games that have come out of Europe. Other such games include “Ticket it Ride,” “Settlers of Catan,” “Puerto Rico,” “Battle Line,” “Lost Cities,” and “San Juan (a simplified card game version of “Puerto Rico”).
I will read some of “The White Album,” by Joan Didion. It’s a collection of articles she wrote in the late 60s and 70s, a sort of continuation of “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” a collection that mostly comprises the things she wrote in the mid and late 60s. I will also read some of “Infinte Jest,” which I’ve been trying to finish for years.
I will probably take a break from this to watch some of “Voyeur,” a profile of journalist Gay Talese and his work chronicling the truly bizarre case a man who owned a hotel that he designed specifically so that he could spy on the people who stayed there.
Later I will go to the gym. I will go on the elliptical for thirty minutes. I will do seated bench presses and rows. I will lift very little weight during this time, but will do many reps; apparently, this helps tone muscles as opposed to bulking them up, which appeals to me more.
Then I will have dinner with a friend. I will talk, and listen to my friend talk.
Finally, I will go back to my apartment, and listen to music. I will work on making a mix disk for my brother. I will get into bed, and feel this odd grace of having done all I could do with my day, and not having to do anything else.
Then I will wake up, and do these things again.
This is what I do.