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May 22nd, 2003

not enough time to fail to get it done

I confess to being a deadline-motivated person. I like that I must work to get things done according to "due dates" on a calendar. I used to "cut it close" sometimes, but I rarely do that anymore. Now I plan ahead a bit better, although last night I did have to make an evening Federal Express run.

Sometimes I notice that if I must do something quickly, I don't have time to stress out about it. The resulting product, given some time to proofread and reflect (but far less time than I "need") surpasses, I frequently suspect, the product that results from over-extensive revision.
With limited time, one must cut to the chase. The Lovecraftian tendencies of my serious prose (insofar as flowery prose is concerned rather than body count--my writing has no body count) curb when I must work quickly.

Last week I got a voice mail from someone with the local Chamber of Commerce. I'd been out of town when it arrived, and I saved it after the words "I'm x from the Chamber of Commerce, and you were recommended by y", as I figured it was an invitation to speak at Chamber. I promptly forgot I'd archived the message. Yesterday, it turned out that it was instead an invitation to contribute a short article to the local newsletter. I asked the nice woman over the telephone "When do you need it?". She replied "I need it today".

I immediately began drafting a brief piece explaining to laypeople types of intellectual property. Within forty minutes, I had a draft to show my partner. Within an hour, I e-mailed it to the Chamber of Commerce. I don't think that if I'd had six weeks, I would like it half so well.
I find that often, subject only to correction of grammar, elimination of the trite, and proofreading, my quickest work is my best.

ultra-light

Tonight after dinner, my wife began a telephone call about recruiting volunteers for an organizational function, so I headed to Glendover Park with my binoculars. The purple clouds hovered far in the distance, adding much color but no threat to the evening. The temperature barely crossed 70, and a cool breeze wafted through the air. In the eastern sky, a red delta wing parachute provided loft to the ultra-light plane pilot flying it in what looked like a motorized recumbent bicycle. I gazed at a female mockingbird sitting atop a tall tree, singing the songs of many different other kinds of birds. A killdeer shouted out its call at my approach, warning other killdeer that a person roamed the habitat. I saw the pond water roil a bit, as hundreds of mosquito fish pushed from the algae near shore into deeper water. Swallows soared above the pond, sometimes dipping down to scoop up insects off the pond surface.
A mourning dove sat mournfully atop another huge tree.

I passed a cottonwood tree, its fallen seed pods, tufted like cotton, giving its surroundings the look of dandelions gone wild. I passed a neighbor mulching his lawn, and tried feebly to make conversation about mulch and begonias. A huge great blue heron flew over the houses just as I neared home. My wife and I looked through my new cacti and succulents book, and she pronounced the living rock (lithops) her favorite. I got confirmation from my buyer in Hawaii that he paid for priority shipping of his box of 8 track tapes. I set out a suit for tomorrow's court appearance. I typed my LiveJournal entry, while the open financial magazine features an ad for "Accuquote", in which a pictured toddler asks "Daddy, what happens when people die?". I pause and ponder, for a moment, and then wonder to myself if one's insurance portfolio flashes before one's eyes.