Two days ago I spent the entire day cutting out circles.
Yes, I was at work. And, no, I don’t work at an elementary school. Neither was I slacking off. My boss actually asked me to do this activity. So I did. End of story.
Actually the tale doesn’t end there.
I tend to get overly excited about anything artsy craftsy or just plain right brain oriented. Therefore, when my boss asked me to cut out circles I was happy. Gloriously so. Like a kid-that-loves-to-sniff-glue kind of happy. Okay, maybe not that happy. But, for the most part, I was just relieved not to have to do the menial everyday tasks of my job. It was a reprieve, baby – and I took full advantage.
But then my hands began to hurt.
It no longer seemed to matter how beautiful the colored papers were, with names like Boysenberry or Fuzzy Wuzzy (I’m serious), because cutting out circles wasn’t fun anymore. I tried alternating between the bigger and smaller circles but my enthusiasm was dwindling quickly. I even switched scissors hoping that a new pair would somehow make everything more invigorating.
Right, like that worked.
When I started to finally see a noticeable dent in my project, I seemed to gain more momentum. It was ridiculous really. There I was, surrounded by mounds of paper, crazily cutting away, grinning like a fool every time I added a new, freshly cut piece to the done pile. I’m not going to lie, I was alone so I thoroughly cackled once or twice. Maybe even three times…
Don’t judge me.
Anyways, by the time I finished my cutting of the Mount Everest of all construction paper piles, I was jubilant. I was the female version of Rocky Balboa when he was doing his little thing during the Eye of the Tiger theme song. Yup, I felt accomplished.
Then I was given another HUMONGOUS pile of EVEN MORE construction paper.
Apparently my boss didn’t like me that day.
I swear I almost wept. By the time I’d gotten the second pile of papers, my hands were raw – okay, they were reddish, which is not my natural hand color. I was already starting to develop blisters and believe it or not, my thumbs were killing me. And I am not a weak person. I’m the type of person that just does a task so it’s done and over with, instead of waiting a year and a half to finish it. But this, my friends, was madness!
But I smiled and took the stack of papers.
Then I proceeded to give myself pep talks and even contemplated going home sick. I don’t know, maybe all that paper cutting had been the cherry on top of my crazy ice cream cone. Who knows? But I legitimately felt tortured. Think Medieval but with, you know, scissors instead of a coffin with nails in it.
I found myself thinking back on the first pile of construction paper with fondness. Like: Oh, that first pile was so perfect. I lurrvved it. All the paper colors were so much prettier and motivating. They made me want to cut more paper. And don’t get me started on the circles. Somehow I’d completely convinced myself that cutting big circles was much easier than cutting smaller ones.
Then it hit me. This is the exact same process as writing.
First, you get all excited to write your story – nothing could stop you in a million years. Then the enthusiasm begins to fade away as reality sets in and you realize you still have more than half the flippin’ novel to go. You feel like you’ve done nothing because you haven’t gotten immediate gratification or even made a big enough dent for a flea to fit through. You try to talk yourself out of going through with writing the rest of the book and feel guilty, while at the same time, silently egging yourself on. Then you belittle yourself, go a little nutso, and pretend to write some more while you inwardly weep like a giant baby.
But then that moment comes when you start to recognize some progress and your momentum starts to kick back up and you finally see the light at the end of the ever so hazy tunnel. When you finish you’re an emotional, conceited, and totally flabbergasted mess of human flesh. Everything seems achievable and so you accept another challenge to write yet another book. Only, when you start this new book, all you can think about are the fun and completely delusional, made up, happy memories you had with your previous story.
Can you say: cray cray?
I think so.
So there I sat, in the middle of a heap of rainbow colored papers, wondering when my life started to go in so many circles.