Monday, May 08, 2006


I was tired all weekend without knowing why. Yesterday was the first Sunday since January that I stayed home from a long walk. I could not imagine myself walking down the road yesterday. Falling down it, yes; passing out on it, yes; fainting, yes; sleeping in the ditch, yes; getting run over by a truck, yes; walking, no.

I woke up sneezing and sniffing again. In an exasperative fit, I took a dose of Nyquil. That will teach it! I thought. But it taught me. Thirty minutes later, I was back in bed for a two-hour nap.

The drug wore off at 1:30, so it was time to proofread the digital text proof of my latest paperback, The Really Bad Thing About Free Will. This book is now at the printers and they are poised to print, but they are awaiting my sovereign approval. So I sat on the sofa to read my own book. I hoped to like it. I hoped to not find any typos in it. But better to find them now than later.

An hour later, I finished. I think this is a fine book. I wonder how I wrote it. There is a mistake space, looks like, between numbers in a verse reference, but who cares? So what? One unnecessary space—I can live with the void. I won’t send in a new disc just for that. Let the space be. Let it be a space. All I want to do is sign off on the project and be done with the gaggle of technoburdens. I want to breathe the unspoiled air of a virgin project. Thus, I make friends with the space. I see it as a destined space, and a permanent part of the book. So God bless the space, and the probably one or two other typos I missed.

I wish I was a prima donna writer who just wrote a book and then gave it to a clean-up crew. I want the same thing for my life. I wish I was a prima donna liver of life. I want to create and run, create and run. I don’t want to be God and sit by all the fires I’ve lit. I want to light the fire and run to the next tinderbox. I want to lay cloudbanks and scurry to another blue sky. Let angels watch the paints on my rainbows dry. But I’m a small “g” god; I wear too many hats; there are too many lenses on my retina: introspection, exospection, omnispection. I am writer, editor, proofer, sulker; husband, father, son, brother; citizen, taxpayer; person who refuses to litter; person wishing to live free of regret; person who strains to make a bed in accord with his wife’s standard of bedmaking.

On a day like yesterday, I could not imagine being the author of so wonderful a book as The Really Bad Thing About Free Will. I got caught up in it—a good sign. I read it as a reader, and it affected me. Whoever wrote this thing, good for him. He has done a service to mankind. Now he can drive to the grocery story, sit in the parking lot, listen to classic rock, and eat three chocolate bars while staring at a dilapidated storefront because he feels like a piece of stale bologna in a hot jar this day. He should be out walking, but instead he is sitting in this car getting fat, so he listens to Joe Walsh and eats a Hershey bar, a Kit Kat, and a Three Musketeers bar, in that order. He should stop the carnage, but chocolate coats his world and Joe Walsh owns a vehicle that does one-eighty-five, but he lost his license and now he can’t drive.

You will not believe what happened when I got home from this eating/listening/staring frenzy. In thirty years you could not guess it, so I will tell you. Are you ready for it? I doubt you are. Go away until you’re ready. Go away, then come back better prepared.

All right, then. When I got home, I took a three-hour nap.

I know some ninety-two year olds who have more energy than me. I think my days of getting up at 2:30 a.m. have taken their toll. Perhaps I’m now paying the toll for waking against my will for a week straight at an hour when not even owl heads rotate. I’m driving up now to the glass booth and they’re punching my sleep card. I’m handing all my change to the smiling person on the other side of the window, and I’m falling asleep at the window while the world honks its collective horn at me.

I drank a two-liter bottle of Gatorade yesterday with nothing to show for it. I ate whatever I wanted all day with nothing to show for it. (“Nothing to show for it” means, “no means of burning the calories.”) The only worthwhile thing I did was proofread the new book. For that, I burned a calorie a minute. Whoever wrote that book, good for him. He did a good thing. He capitalized on the wave of inspiration when it came. A wave of life crashed his way and he balanced atop the crest and rode it for all it was worth.

I went to bed at nine o’clock and fell right to sleep. Next thing I knew, it was five thirty this morning. The sun is shining today, so far. I must stay off chocolate, for a while. I’ve got to walk my eight miles today, no matter what. I faxed my approval to the printing company at 10:00 and I pray now that I’m finished with The Really Bad Thing. I must don a more agreeable hat.

Taking into consideration my professional and personal life, I have a hat rack that resembles the antlers on a frickin’ moose.

Perhaps it’s this rack that explains so much of me these days.

© 2006 by Martin Zender