Is it procrastination if I call it research?

Here I am poppets, writing to you from the lounge at the airport in Toronto, getting ready to head off to Texas for the DFW Fiber Fest.  I’m mostly writing to you to procrastinate on something that I really, really can’t procrastinate on anymore, and that’s finishing the talk I’m going to give tomorrow night at the Event.  I’ve been working on it for quite a while now, and it’s starting to be crunch time, and all I can feel about it is anxiety.

Now, do not panic, and do not comfort me.  This is normal, healthy anxiety.  It’s the sort of anxiety that a normal, healthy person should experience when they

A) Are doing something new.

B) want to do a really good job.

C) Will not know if they have done a good job until they stand up in front of several hundred people with a microphone and give it a whirl.

D) Are running out of time before A, B and C will happen and are still procrastinating although that is super stupid.

For the record, it is probably C that is the bad one. C is probably the reason that I’m doing D.  I hate new talks.  Once I’ve given it a go a few times and I know it works, then I can relax a little bit (if by a little bit, you understand that I mean that I stop thinking actively that I might die, and settle down to a generalized sense of nausea)  but new ones? I feel like the first time I step out in front of an audience with a new one, anything could happen.  ANYTHING. People could laugh.  (Hopefully for the right reasons) people could cry (again, hopefully not out of a great and terrible pity brought about by my enormously public humiliation) or… they could yawn. They could be bored.  It could be a terrible talk, and I feel like there’s no way to know if it’s any good until I get up there, and that seems like such a really hugely crazy way to test it out that I can’t believe I’m going to do it.

Now, I am not a stupid person.  I mean, I do stupid things all the time, but mostly I learn from them and I’m quick to catch on a lot of the time, and I knit pretty well, so I feel good about saying that I’m not stupid.  With that established, I wish we could work out what else might be wrong with me, because I can’t believe that it could be the reasonable response of a person who is not stupid to avoid working on this talk – somehow thinking that failing to generate it would somehow prevent the day the talk has to be given from coming? I am 46 years old. What the H. E. Double Hockey Sticks am I thinking?

It’s gotten bad enough – the procrastination, that today as I was standing in line in the airport to check my bags, I actually thought about checking my knitting so that I would have nothing to do except for work on the talk.  Think about that.  I might have actually done it too, except for I remembered that I have Candy Crush Saga on my phone and I bet I could avoid the talk that way, and so I’m taking the knitting because this is going to hinge on willpower, good sense, and the knowledge that I’ve actually worked really, really hard on it, and I think it’s pretty good, and I am probably qualified to know that, and it’s happening tomorrow anyway. It is going to get finished, and it’s going to be the best job that I can do, and I’m just going to have to settle down and wrap it up.

I’ll do that too,  as soon as I finish blogging, and finish reading all the charming comments from the other day (thank you!) and check Twitter and Instagram, and anything else I can think of before the plane takes off, and I spread out the papers, and I write, and edit, and hold the pen in my hand, and shuffle parts around, and run my hands over the words, and think about what I really want to say, and take a bunch of deep breaths, and remember that tomorrow will come and go whether I am amazing or not, and that at the end of that day, the next day will come anyway.

No pictures today, because there’s nothing to see here.

“The thing all writers do best is find ways to avoid writing.”
– Alan Dean Foster