Sunday, September 07, 2008

Life of Crime -- Eve

I just returned from a wonderfully relaxing Florida vacation. Although, I use the word “vacation” loosely because now that I’m “retired” from full-time teaching to “write” full-time, my holidays seem like less of a break from things than they used to. I always considered it a heinous crime to have an easy life. And now I am that person!

Believe it or not, throughout junior high, high school, and college I was always an over-scheduler. A crazy Type-A energetic freak of nature, who had to be doing something important and meaningful every single minute of the day. When I graduated college and became a “real” grown-up, I was completely obsessed with planning my future of saving the world in every way humanly possible. Even the year I took off between undergrad and medical school, which was supposed to be my take a break from the grind-travel and relax year, became a random frenzy of philanthropy work through the jungles of Mexico and the forests of Vermont. Not one minute was wasted lounging or playing. After all, I had an entire world to save!

Fast-forward to 2008. Ever since I quit full-time teaching to begin my quest for YA novel publication, I’ve had nothing but free time. True, I do spend hours upon hours reading, writing, researching, re-writing, critiquing, revising, revising, and revising. But the difference now is that I have all the time in the world, and can make up any schedule I want to. Unfortunately, as a result I’ve become less productive and way more slothful. Of course, in my defense, the life of a writer is inherently idle, so until somebody invents a portable computer screen I can attach to my forehead and a keyboard I can operate with eye movements, I’m stuck sitting on my growing-wider-and-more-numb-by-the-day butt.

It’s a paradox, this slacker lifestyle. One the one hand, I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been. True story…I had pneumonia six times during med school and teaching combined. Like, antibiotic-resistant-I’m-on-my-deathbed pneumonia. I haven’t suffered so much as a sniffle since I quit. I’m not chronically sleep deprived anymore, so the under eye bags and dark circles have vanished. I have time to run outside every single day, so I’ve shed my pale-green skin color and exchanged my skeletal, lack of muscle tone physique for a pleasantly tanned and plump version.

On the other hand, at the end of the day I often feel, well, slackerish. Like I’ve accomplished nothing, gained nothing, and given nothing to society. I’m not complaining. Again, I’m extraordinarily happy. However, I do battle this love/hate relationship with the slack-life on a daily basis. And I feel guilty for failing to save the world.

Funny thing is that I’m guessing when I do publish my novels, become rich and famous, and soar to unfathomable literary heights, I’ll still feel a bit like a slacker. Because, really, it’s bizarre to think I'll be paid for doing something insanely fun that I love so much. That I can do in my pajamas. Late at night. While blasting Maroon 5 music. And eating chocolate covered pretzels. I mean, really. It’s criminal, isn’t it?

- Eve


Katie said...

Eve - Forgive me - my brain is "wonky" today - to quote your dear friend. hee hee

But I thought this post was very interesting, because I, too, don't work (in the real world) and although I do write A LOT, I feel slackery most days. Like I said, I can't really express this odd result of a career in writing, but I can relate.

I guess it's tough sometimes to be at home (not an office) - so you see all of the things you should be doing, but you are writing, or brainstorming (which looks like vegging on the couch with a latte to the outsider) Aarrgghh!!! I'm not making any sense today. Oh well.

I miss you guys!


Disco Mermaids said...

No, you're making least to me!

"Looks like vegging on the couch with a latte to the outsider" totally nailed it. It doesn't LOOK like we are doing anything all day, and therefore I often feel like I am NOT doing anything all day.

At least with teaching, I could see tangible results on a daily basis. But with writing, I often spend an entire day writing several pages, only to delete them later. Then, of course, it just feels like a waste of a day!

At least I know I'm not alone in this feeling. Thanks, Katie!


Laini Taylor said...

Hi Eve! I do know that feeling, but I usually only get it on sucky writing days. On great writing days, when they hit, I do not feel like a slacker. But yeah, recently, I watched a couple of movies in the afternoon for research (I swear! they were even documentaries!) and I really felt like a slacker. As self-employed people, Jim and I tend to work all day and all evening. We don't have a time to call it quits. After dinner on a normal day, it's back to work.

[by the way, having been to the dermatologist lately, I got to thinking about you -- you never updated on your derm thing; I assume all is well?]