Anxious Ants

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

I made it to the gym this afternoon. I didn’t do much, lasting only sixteen minutes on the escalator machine and shooting hoops for another fifteen minutes, but I went for the first time in a month. As I established for writing, I need to establish a habit for exercise. When I lived in Houston, the gym was very convenient, a few blocks away from my work and apartment, and I went 2-3 times per week, paid a personal trainer, and built muscles and a stronger heart. Most of those muscles have since atrophied, leaving me skinny and flabby in places. Luckily, there is a powerful muscle memory, which means when I return to the gym it will take me less to recover what I’ve lost than start anew. Notice how I used when instead of if.

Today is the second day I started a musing with a discussion about the gym. I hope this signifies something—perhaps my guilt has started to get the better of me and I’ll find myself back on schedule. With travel to NYC scheduled for this weekend, it seems unlikely, however. Travel messes up my exercise schedule and drains my exercising desires.

I grow tired of the bug hunt. I feel like a prisoner in the Castle. I can’t change rooms without scanning the floor, preparing the vacuum cleaner. I know I should forget about the menace—it’s decreasing with only a few crawlies and a dead spider sucked up today—but it’s hard. I’m wound up and anxious. The Castle makes a settling sound, and I assume the worst: bugs broke through the wood and the beams supporting the Castle will break. I’m babbling now and I hope babbles make good medicine.

I prepare to write about distractions, and I find myself flipping over to my mail and the internet. I’m obsessed with small bites of time. I can’t concentrate for longer periods anymore, and I don’t know if I ever was capable. My favorite complaint as a child was boredom—you can see that in my chosen subtitle for “Relief from ennui.” My misplaced boredom was the result of a shortened attention span, something that most children and many adults suffer. If I had all that childhood time to do again, I think I could make a better of use of it the second time around. But as a wise man told me, had I made a better use of it the first time around, I might not be the person I am today.

My writing lately has suffered from my attention span. I’ve written a few badly edited paragraphs, and then posted them, with no thought as to its flow or purpose. I write thinking of only the end—not the end of the thought or story, but the end of writing for the day. I race toward the next moment without finishing the current moment. There is nothing waiting for me at the next moment, but that truth refuses to convince me.

I want to read more. I look at my sad stack of books that I’ve managed to get through this year and I’m not satisfied. I know I need more fodder to write and learn about myself. My friend Steven is searching for himself in Southeast Asia. He gave up everything: his job, his profession, his belongings, in this quest. I respect his decision, and while it’s not right for what I want to do (or I’ve managed to convince myself of that), I envy him at times. He found his dream late in life—as I did—and decided to pursue it instead of living an unfulfilled life. Do I find fulfillment in my life? What does fulfillment even look like?

I try to start a simple goblin story, and I can’t do it. I stare at the computer, knowing the images I want to get across, but not finding the words or voice. I freak out about “the voice” ever since I finished TFTS. I thought I had a voice the morning I wrote the first part. I was in an airport, exhausted, and I started to write. It was such an incredible, free writing time where the words and story created themselves, and I was along for the journey. I don’t expect that to happen—I’m too anxious and inhibited to find myself in that condition unless other factors (e.g., lack of sleep) bring me there. I need to get over these fears about voices and storytelling, and just write. I stare and stare and knock myself upside the head, and what do I have to show for it? These piddling words, and a big bump.


Nose Biter crouched on his heels on the hilltop overlooking the beach. An alien boat floated in the water. From his vantage he could make out Gobs on the deck. He never saw such foolishness. The Gobs painted their skin brown and yellow, and some of them even painted their hair. The boat remained off the beach fighting the incoming tide.

Yeah, I hoped it would come out better too