Sunday, February 3, 2008

Time On My Hands, undo_2

This afternoon, Katherine rolled her eyes and clucked her tongue before saying, "You and your blog. You're always typing on that computer."

Don't get me wrong about Katherine, she's very supportive of my endeavors. I think that she was hoping that I would be folding the laundry, massaging her back or feeding her grapes or something. But her comment reminded me of the question murphini's mother-in-law posed him after one of his long marathon training runs: "is this the best use of your time?" In both cases, the questions weren't necessarily critical, but asking us to do a spot-check on what's important.

So is this a valid use of my free time?

The fact is that there are truly countless things that any of us can do with our time. According to Joe Friel, "After subtracting 40 hours for working and another 56 for sleeping from your 168-hour weekly allotment, you're left with 72. Of those remaining hours, more than half, perhaps 40, are accounted for in basic activities such as meal preparation ,eating, personal care, home maintenance, transportation and shopping for necessities. That leaves 22 'free' hours each week for most of us...and many Americans spends 15 of those hours watching television and the remainder socializing with others, including family" (Triathlete's Training Bible, 47).

Indeed, if time is commodity, then free time is doled out in c-notes. It's expensive! For me, some of this time is invested in blogging. Others may dawdle in watching Seinfeld reruns, listening to music, or hiking into nature for a retreat.

This behavior of seemingly wasting free time is well-supported. God didn't look down upon Jesus to say, "My son, is this a good use of your time?" when he retreated into the desert and departed from the very people he was sent to save. I'd say that's an endorsement. Now I'm no savior, but if Jesus/God needed some free time to process and think, why can't I?

And I do attempt not to waste much of this precious time. Sometimes before blogging, I think through the entire conversation in my head before I write my thoughts. When I arrive at the conclusion, I realize that 99% of what's been written could be edited out. I could just give you the 1% of what I feel is important to share and omit all of the fluff.

Other times, I just blog on a thought that's like a seed in my head. I'm not sure what's totally inside it, but I go about the production of seeing what will come forth from breaking up the literary ground and sowing it.

I suppose I blog because it's therapeutic. The great Wiktionary describes therapy as a derivative of the Ancient Greek word therapeia: to attend, to treat, to heal, to cure, to serve. I'm not sure what I'm attending to, healing or curing. Certainly nothing of yours. Perhaps I provide an occasional piece of humor or an item to ponder.

Blogging helps organize those seemingly random thoughts that bounce between my ears into something that I've created. It's true that I plagiarize many of the thoughts that I share, but don't we all? Haven't musicians been doing that since day one? From Mozart to hip hop rifts, musicians have been borrowing ideas to fill their scores. But I digress. For me, I blog to process, create and plagiarize when necessary. It's cathartic. Still, it's ultimately a selfish thing to do and I do it solely for my own edification. Other than a handful of my most gracious readers, nobody really reads, much less thinks about this crap anyway. At least I hope not.

In writing, it's the editing that is the chore. It's easy to type away until *wallah* it's finished. I wish I could just click the publish button be done with it. Fred can probably do that and his thoughts come out cohesive and punctuated neatly. Who cares if the subject matter is vulgar. He makes perfect sense on first draft. I suppose that Bryan edits but only because he does this as a professional editor; he's probably able to write and edit simultaneously. His blog is prolific and filled with wit. Munson? I'm pretty sure that he edits because like me, he's borderline nuts. Still, Munson also produces a lot of good stuff and many of his comments are longer than almost all of Fred's blogs. How does he have time to edit?

Editing becomes a compulsive chore for me. Before hitting the easy publish button, I look back and discover a minefield of random and rough thoughts I've just scattered across the screen. Sigh. Time to polish. It's usually during the editing process when I begin to wonder if this is the best use of my time. The irony is that I've already stated that I blog for my own edification. Hence, I edit for it too. What vanity!

In the end, I could just edit everything out but for the one gem -- that 1% -- of what I set out to share in the first place. In this way, I'd save time editing and spare the reader of time spent reading all of this.

I dunno....

Perhaps I should have watched the Super Bowl.