Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Wish Lists, Queues, and Release Valves

I've learned to maintain wish lists for books, DVDs, apps, etc., that I definitely want but which I wouldn't use right away. If I buy something upon first craving, it will most likely sit around unused, while if I wait until it's needful, the price will often have dropped (especially on the second-hand market).
I'm a fan of DVDpedia, CDpedia, and Bookpedia from Bruji, great software for Mac that lets you catalog both libraries and wishlists.
The purchase impulse can easily unhook from actual needfulness, and wish lists act as a release valve to get back into sync. A wish-listed book I eagerly want to read (once I get through 30 others!) doesn't feel lost. It's merely queued in a pre-sale state. It feels like it's in my ownership, just not yet in my possession.

I very rarely buy the stuff on my wishlists (unless I find something super-cheap), so it's a perfectly effective release valve. Terrific books/music/films are terrific, so it would pain me to deny myself. But this is not self-denial, it's just queueing in pre-sale! I'm waiting for the right moment or for a great deal...perhaps forever. It feels cheerful.
I do the same with long online articles, which get queued to Instapaper or Pocket, aka Read It Later.

I've always argued in my head a lot, especially while on hiatus from meditation. It's a writer thing; I'm always plotting expression on all fronts. And last year I tried an experiment. When someone annoys me, and I found that I've mentally played forward the conversation to craft a response to the imagined next line, I actually write out that response...and stow it away.
It helps me to write everything out, hence this Slog. The creative impulse is not playful delight so much as feverish compulsion...at least if you're doing it right. The creative flow is a magical thing but it is, alas, never optional. Be careful what you wish for!
While it would be daft to actually shoot off a snappy reply to a statement that has not yet been made, it gives me a sense of security to know it's ready. So perhaps once per week I'll queue such a response, and it's like a release valve. But here's the thing: I have yet to send even a single one.

When annoying conversations continue, they never go in the direction I'd imagined (my intuition is quite good, but in this one context it fails me utterly), so these pre-prepared missives remain stillborn. Occasionally I browse through with a sense of horror, beholding a pathetic litany of sputtering exasperation. My shadow self on full display! Meanwhile, my actual replies surprise me with their temperateness. It's not self-restraint, it's just that Real World me is different from Fantasy Imagination World me. In the Real World, I'm not the egotistical center, and a person is a real person.

I cringe at the seeming madness, but have come to realize that it isn't crazy, it's progress. A great many people - including many who've glued a thin veneer of simulated moderation over their seething toxicity - never leave Fantasy Imagination World. That's all there is. Everything's always about them, and other people are mere objects. I seem to be describing narcissism, but if you add in the sane-seeming veneer-gluers and self-deluded mask wearers, this is a huge swath of the population (though obviously not you!).

No comments:

Blog Archive