Thursday, March 15, 2012


"Even when we read physics, we inquire of each least particle: What then shall I do this morning? How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."

When I read that line in Annie Dillard's "A Writing Life", it grabbed me by the wrist and held tight. It still won't let go.

There are no words to describe our days on the Mexican Riviera that aren't cliches: azure and turquoise seas, foamy waves that look like lace. Seagulls and osprey cry out while they swoop into the bay trying to grab breakfast. And I wonder: How will I spend today?

I want to write, I want to sketch, I want to paint, I want to swim, I want to read. So I reach into my bag of seductive choices and do whatever my hand first this case, writing. But as soon as I sit down, the lure of my paint box calls. And I know that if I succumb to that, it won't be long before I'll opt for hunting shells along the beach.

"How we spend our days is how we spend our lives." I've spent too many of the days of my life on a carrousel of options. I’m not unlike the eight-year-old who can't decide which painted horse to choose and therefore rides on none.

problem, I think, is that any choice I make requires time, and that scares me because, when I truly get "into the zone," large blocks of time fly by. I come out of that magic place, look at what I've created and say to myself, "Wow. I wonder how I did that." I look at the clock -- an entire afternoon is gone and I'm left with no awareness of its passing. At 66, that's a little alarming, for if I'm not aware of the passing of time, am I aware of my life? I don't want my life to pass in a state of unawareness.

(I wrote this a couple of weeks ago during a vacation in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico. We’ve been home for a week and I still seem unable to focus on just one of those options, but at least I’m aware of the dilemma!)

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