Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Doing nothing is stressful

A friend of mine phoned me the other day. I'd met him earlier last Fall in a class reunion and he'd told me that he had a bit of a family crisis since he was so much away from home, his wife and two kids, because of his job in a big company. He made it sound like the crisis was terminal. Now he told me that he had quit his job. He had found a new one pretty quickly and can stay more at home. I said that this was the right decision. All the time after we'd reinstated our friendship after high school he was telling how much he hated his job. I'm happy for him.

I just began to wonder what part of my activities I should drop. I have a nagging feeling that I could be more pleased with life if there was less to do. Now, let's take a look at all my jobs and other stuff:

1. I'm going to host a weekly TV show from February to the end of April (and again in September).
2. I'm writing a novel (and have keeping a hiatus on another one and coming back to it after finishing the other one) and have grants for two non-fiction books (the other one is in the middle, the other one is barely started and I have difficulties finding a right style for it).
3. I'm supposedly writing an activities book for young urban adults with Elina. It's commissioned and should be ready by Summer or something like that.
4. I have projects with Elina and some friends, for example a book on flea markets. These are always negotiable and can be delayed if necessary.
5. We've been talking about a book on babies' retro fashion. It should be done quickly, since the fad is at its hottest right now.
6. I edit the magazine of Finnish Western Society, Ruudinsavu (= Gunsmoke). It comes out four times a year.
7. I edit and publish two magazines, Pulp, which contains articles about pulp literature, and Isku, which is actually a pulp magazine. Pulp comes out four times, Isku twice a year.
8. I run the Finnish Film Archive's series here in Turku. The job includes selecting the films, writing about them, making PR, delivering the posters, selling tickets and counting the money. The last three I hate the most, but I love selecting the movies.
9. I do occasional freelance stuff for several magazines, but I've cut that down severely. (I just hated wasting my time on Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.)
10. I may start editing a crime paperback line for a Finnish publisher. It's not clear when this will start (or "if") and what I'll have to do, but I've been reading possible books lately.
11. I've translated two novels by Jason Starr and one of them is coming out, perhaps next Fall. Not knowing about the other one. I'd like to do more translating, but I don't seem to get publishers' attention or grants. (I tried to get a grant for translation of Russell Banks's Rule of the Bone, but didn't get one.)
12. I've compiled a book on Finnish pulp fiction. I should find two or three more stories, write introductions for the stories and the whole book.
13. I edit books for library publisher BTJ (I just don't have commissions at the moment).
14. Then there's blogging. I host three blogs. It's not actual work, but takes time. Same with occasional self-publications.

I may have forgotten something. Any suggestions on what I should do? If possible, I'd abandon the TV job immediately, because that's not really what I want to do. As you can see, I'm more interested in writing. That's what I know I can do. And want to.

As for the headline of this post, it reminds me of the beginning of this blog. (Which started actually a year ago, I'm not sure when I posted here the first time.) I was thinking I should relax before starting the TV job, but I didn't feel that I'd rested enough during the Christmas holiday. Then I realized, while reading on a couch and trying to get some sleep after a badly-slept night, that what I need now is to get back to work. I had been too long without doing anything. I started immediately to write about the Topi Tuisku book the cover of which I posted here yesterday and got back to my private eye novel. I wrote two pages and felt wonderful. No need for rest! It also took my mind off the TV job, which, I must confess, scares me quite a bit. (This could be a topic of another post.)

The same thing happened last year. I wrote on January 3rd (so the birthday is already passed!):

Usually people have a vacation when they need rest. I decided to start working again when I found out that the vacation had lost its power and I was sleeping badly. I don't know what caused it - was it the Christmas lights or was it just stress over Christmas ending or something like that. Whatever it was, I switched off the (stupid) Xmas lights and started working today at 6:05 am. I wrote bits of the new ending for my novel and then I started doing the layout for Pulp. Then Kauto and Elina woke up and I spent some time with them. Then I did some more work. Now I'm feeling washed out. This blogging seems to be some kind of excuse to delay going to sleep.

It seems I should learn from this: I just can't be and do nothing.

1 comment:

pHinn said...

Koeta kestää...