Ch 2. Ex 4. Give Me One Week Without (Mirrors, Clocks, Newspapers, Speaking)
The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp suggests that in order to learn to create without distraction, we should practice giving up some of the things that take up too much of our attention on a day-to-day basis. She suggests things like clocks, mirrors and newspapers but none of those things are a particular issue for me. She also suggests speaking. Anyone who has known me knows that it would not hurt me to spend a few weeks without opening my big mouth. However, that is impractical at the moment. I have too much to learn to make myself unable to question or converse. The disadvantages far outweigh the benefits at the moment. I have decided to give up books instead.
I will do whatever reading is assigned to me in classes, but I will not read ahead or read for pleasure from August 28 to September 11, 2016. I think that may be my biggest distraction. Not only do I use books to occupy my time, I also use them as a coping mechanism. When I don’t want to deal with something, I read. This works for simple things like overcrowded rooms as well as bigger issues like emotionally intense projects. It will be good for me to eliminate the distraction for the first few weeks of the program.
It is September 26, 2016. I have not done any pleasure reading since August 28. It was very hard at first. I swear, it was like breaking an addiction. It got easier after a week or two and I found myslef more devoted to studying. I think I have also been somewhat more focused on my own thinking.
Unfortunately, I did compensate by watching/listening to Netflix more often. I don’t think that is a terrible thing. TV doesn’t distract me the way reading does. I tend to watch TV when I am doing things that don’t require my full attention. I turn it off to study and I ignore it when I am painting. Reading for pleasure does not work that way. I get absorbed and stop paying attention. Also, it holds my attention even when I put a book down so that my thoughts remain bound up in whatever I was reading. TV does not do that.
I have considered dropping Netflix and books, but I think it might do more harm than good. I think I would have a hard time unwinding if all I have to do is meditate. However… I guess I could do something physical, you know… exercise.