Monday, September 20, 2010

the virtues of mental running and of stillness

i stood outside just now at the bus stop, waiting for any of the 61 buses to take me back home from campus, and as usual, i pulled out my phone to read a book on my wattpad application, since it's lighter than carrying another book in my bag. and then i realized, once again, how bad i am at just standing still, waiting, without feeling the need for my mind to run at full force, and to be constantly entertained with a book.

as a side note, if you see my apartment, or any living space i inhabit, i tend to leave a book in almost every room, including the bathroom, so that any activity that i'm doing can be supplemented with reading. in the kitchen this has become slightly hazardous, as i have a gas stove now, so the potential disaster of open flames measuring over 451 degrees farenheit near paper is…well, you do the math.

and don't blame social media and kids these days and their smart phones for this lack of concentration. as far back as i can remember, anywhere i had to wait, i would spend the time daydreaming and being in my own mind rather than observing where i was. the larger point i was coming to is that my mind is not good at being still and observing. i only seem able to do that at mt. riga, where, arguably, there are better things to observe. but why is that? the immediate answer is that standing at the bus stop is boring, but, then, why is it boring? surely the scene of the bus stop must be one of those moments which a writer ought to cherish–where one can observe the nuances of human nature in the variety of people waiting alongside you.

but i haven't the patience, nor the interest. after all, it is boring to wait at the bus stop, unless something interesting happens, like the guy next to you suddenly pulls down his pants, or sets fire to the bus shelter (which, on second thought, probably wouldn't burn well as it's metal).

but is this–this constant failure to notice, or care to notice, one's immediate physical surroundings–the factor that could impede my progress as a writer? or is the convention of the waiting at a bus stop so trite at this point anyway that there's nothing new to say about it?

one could, for instance, in the course of fabricating what is, after all, fiction anyway, impose figures and sentiments, that one picked up in any old place, on a bus stop scene. and it would probably make entertaining reading.

anyway, the only times when i think it worth sitting still in my mind are these:
  • being at mt. riga
  • reading to my little cousins
  • doing yoga
if you can think of any others, i invite you to add them to the list.

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it's not just for the classroom!