I Am Joe’s Blog:

November 4, 2004 • 2:15 PM

Normal Life

What kind of person would go to the effort of starting a new blog and writing entries for a few days, only to abandon it for more than a month? The kind of person who badly needed the flexibility not to do something every single day.

Although I sometimes have Interesting Thing of the Day articles prepared well ahead of time (and my server is smart enough to post them on their scheduled date without my intervention), more often than not I’m working late into the night on the following day’s article, because ordinary work hours are often filled with other activities. And that every-single-day deadline can get very wearying after a while. So when I set up this blog, it was with the explicit intention that I would allow myself the freedom to go an indefinite number of days without posting anything. And that feels good.

The past four or five weeks have been filled with a continuous string of small crises, which together felt like a big crisis. My new cat was sick for a while (she’s better now); I was sick for a while (I’m mostly better now); strange and aggravating bugs showed up on my Web site (they’re fixed now); and of course there was that whole election thing (still a problem, but nothing I can do about it now). On top of all that, I was working hard to finish the first draft of my next (and long-overdue) ebook, Take Control of Mac OS X Backups. When I get into an intense writing phase, everything else seems to disappear into the background. My In Box fills up, unpaid bills accumulate, phone messages go unanswered, and in general life gets put on hold.

On Tuesday evening as Morgen was slipping into a state of depression in front of the TV, I was putting the finishing touches on my manuscript, which is now in the hands of my editor for the first of what will undoubtedly be several rounds of editing and rewrites. But at least the hardest and longest part is done. And the election, though it produced disappointing results from the local through the national level, is also over with. So now I have a cat on my lap, the afternoon ahead of me, and only an average amount of daily work to do. What I think of as normal life.

And yet I’m also aware that the pattern of my life as long as I can remember has been long stretches of crisis mode—late nights dealing with urgent projects, assorted small mishaps, and other “abnormal” events—punctuated by very brief intervals of normality. This obviously shows that I have a skewed sense of what “normal” means; a state can hardly be normal if it occurs only rarely. But I’m going to indulge in this fantasy for a few days or however long it lasts.

My great plan for today is to do the dishes, fold the laundry, go for a walk, answer all that delinquent email, pay those bills, and perhaps get a start on writing here about some of the many things that have been on my mind during the last month. And maybe put in a few hours of productive revenue-producing work, just for good measure. In other words, to have a go at experiencing normal life for at least a day.