Gonzo nothing: how to look at a twig

I’m doing nothing for a while.

Okay, so I’m sitting here writing, so that’s something. But that big to-do list in my head? It’s staying there, un-acted upon for the rest of the week.

That’s right, nothing. My deaconess pal called me tonight, and when I told her I’m doing nothing this week, she said:

“I envy your lifestyle.”

But it’s actually tough. We’re all so busy, and we dream of doing nothing, but when we get the chance, what do we do? We do all the things that are next on the list. I finished my master’s degree last week and am unemployed. I’ll give you three guesses as to what’s next on my list. You can imagine, it looms large.

But the degree was hell. So I bumped “nothing” up to the top of the list. It seemed like the sane thing to do.

This nothing business was inspired by a friend of the family (who has been so for such a long time that she’s now part of the family). Susan was a teacher, and after stressing over renumbering my entire MA book late one night in Columbia, she told me about watching twigs.

When school ended in the summer, she and her husband would go to the library with a grocery bag and fill it with trash, she said. They would go home and do nothing but read the trashy books for three weeks. The only thing that occasionally interrupted the reading of trash was:

“Hey, you might want to read this one when you’re done.”

Or, looking at a twig. Do you ever just look at a twig, Jenn? she asked. Nope, not lately. Sometimes I just look at the sky, but even then, I’m on a walk or hike or riding my bike, so I have to look at where I’m going every so often so I don’t crash.

I’ve been so busy looking where I’m going next that I rarely stop to look where I am. Perhaps in front of a twig. I wouldn’t even know. I’m sure I’ve run over plenty of innocent, annonymous twigs with my bicycle.
So this week, with my MA completed, it’s time to do nothing. It’s been a little chilly for looking at twigs, but the week isn’t over yet, and I’m sure I can find something to look at indoors. Like trash on tv — check. Or unread books (good ones, no trash) — check again. Or a dust bunny. But the real trick is to see the twig (or bunny) and not the long, looming to-do list in my head whilst blankly staring at the twig.

Fortunately, I don’t like to dust.

2 thoughts on “Gonzo nothing: how to look at a twig

  1. Even when you are trying to do nothing, Ms. Jenn, you do something spectacularly!

    Speaking of trashy reading, I would like to throw another log (one really big twig) onto the fire:

    “Paper Life” by Tatum O’Neal.

    I’ve been dying to read it especially considering all the dirty towel-throwing that’s been going on recently between Tatum’s impish brother Griffin and crazy gun-toting, teetotaler papa Ryan.

    Oh yea, does the twig metaphor relate to seeing the forest for the trees thing? Just wondering…

  2. Pingback: Jenn Fields » Gonzo nothing II: the secret life of twigs

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