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"Pieces of My Time" mind matters
October 17, 2002

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I direct a lot of energy inward.

I struggle to understand myself, strive to improve, search for an ever-deeper sense of identity and meaning in life. Sometimes, too, I ache for attention, long for approval, and worry about how other people might perceive me. In accomplishing these things Iíve attempted a multitude of activities, like reading books and writing myself notes, speaking with therapists and talking to the mirror. These all point inward.

What would happen if some this energy went elsewhere? Where would it go?

Today I battled rain so I could play an hourís piano for residents of a local assisted living home. The piano wasnít so great, and my performance was imperfect. But they applauded after every prelude and sonata movement. I donít think Iíve ever gotten so much applause.

At home I made plans with someone I havenít seen in a while. Itís not a close friendship, and I know there are many more enjoyable ways to spend my time. Thereís a part of me that even resents our plans. But I canít help myself. I know what it feels like to be lonely, and my friend is. If two of my hours can help, itís hard to say no.

I scheduled a night to watch my friendsí children. I would have been there last weekend, but their plans changed at the last minute and I wasnít needed. Spontaneously I offered them a rain check. Today it rained.

Iím still saving a videotape recording of a recent debate of Massachusetts gubernatorial candidates. Iíve watched it, but I know someone who interested in seeing it. Of course, if she doesnít come by to pick it up by election day (in three weeks), Iíll record over it.

I mailed a completed survey form to the Boston Lyric Opera. The little blue sheets of paper didnít include questions about Tuesdayís opera. Instead, someone wants to know if I prefer getting e-mail or phone solicitations, and if I subscribe to other theaters. If randomly selected, I might win a cool prize. Only the solicitations are guaranteed.

I bought a book for a sick friend, just published in hard cover. Itís about smallpox. The cover is painfully bright in red and yellow, which I suppose is the point. Itís sitting on my radiator. I use that radiator as a shelf for items I want to give to other people. In addition to the book are plastic animal miniatures for the kids Iíll baby sit, video tapes to return, and nice clothes than donít fit me any more. Behind the radiator are my inline skates, but Iím not giving them away. I just need to put them away for the winter.

And tonight, a week after I wanted to, I submitted twenty pages of my novel-in-progress to a bunch of friends who meet on the last Monday of every month. We talk about creative writing, get constructive feedback on our creations. There are twelve of us, which means Iíve had to critique the work of all eleven of my fellow authors before it got to be my turn again.

Sometimes life is about being bombarded with possibilities. Itís nice to toss a few back.

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Copyright 2002 Seth Maislin

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