There’s a lot of things that distract us and pull us away from our work — whatever that work may be.
There’s the simple life things that aren’t really distractions… the things that truly need taking care of: doing the dishes, eating properly, moving the body, chasing dust bunnies, chopping wood, caring for our families and ourselves,.
There are emergencies that pull our pull our focus and demand our attention.
There are sadnesses.
There is loss.
There are also our favourite guilty distractions. Mine is television. Since the CBC killed their analog signal, we only have one channel on our TV – the wonderful world of CTV.
Home of News for the North and my favourite weather woman, Jill Colton. I enjoy CTV and I also enjoy the wide world of TV on my computer. Ahh… the ole typer machine… filled with hours and hours of legal entertainment… Dr Who and Alphas over on SPACE, Lost Girl, Copper and Common Law over on Showcase, all manner of fun at Bravo, A&E, Global, and… oh yeah… a weekly dose of Corry Street and some good documentaries over on CBC. Not to mention that if I REALLY want to watch a lovely film I can dig through the archives over at the NFB.
It is all there… at my fingertips… including entire seasons of some shows I missed the first time ‘round like Combat Hospital, The Cult and that special favourite of mine Sanctuary (also the working title of my NIP).
It’s all there and I can slip down that bunny hole for hours at a time.
And I do.
And then… I crawl into bed full of self-loathing.
Because I use television like a drug.
When I do this, I do not choose … GREAT television. I do think there is GREAT television. What I mean here is … TV I enjoy but that I can watch with only part of my brain. At least I think that is what I mean. I am entertained, but… it doesn’t truly reach down into my gut. I mean, I truly do love some of these shows but… maybe it’s the way I’m using them that is the trouble.
I know when I start bingeing on television that what I’m actually doing is avoiding my … self.
That there is something roiling and rising within me and I, for whatever reason, don’t want to deal with it.
On the days that I am feeling kindly towards myself, I will say “I’m just not ready” to face whatever it is that has driven me to the boobtube in this compulsive mode.
Some days, I will even watch myself watching things with a strange detatchment. I am fascinated by this woman sitting there for hours staring at the flashing lights. I always think, “What is she looking for? She seems to be looking for something.”
I had a binge a few days back.
This one had an obvious trigger.
I got some news.
Bad news. Sad news.
A loss in the family. My blood family.
My very complicated blood family. Complicated in all the usual ways. By distance. By ancient betrayals. By neglect and deep sorrow.
This news comes and pries open that aching “family” void in my middle and though I know that the only way past the pain is to step into the void and wade on through it…
to bring it to my scribble book…
to take it with me on the walk down the lane…
to let myself mourn and grieve…
though I know this, I turn instead to the flickering light.
I turn to the machine and I fill my eyes with images and my ears with other peoples words to occupy my mind with another story.
A story that is away away away from this pain.
And it doesn’t release anything.
And it doesn’t even soothe me. It just fills the time, steals the time.
and then… I can weep.
And then, I can come back to putting words on the page.
And then, I can sit again in silence, with my sad self, and allow the sadness.
And then I can say farewell to the boy I barely know.
With love and squalor – pam
PS: Much thanks to Dolly Delightly for your fabulous, thoughtful post on Salinger on your Book Me book blog.
And, as always, much thanks to J.D. Salinger, whose stories remain fresh and full of power to this day.