Whenever I sit down to write and I'm not feeling inspired, it always reminds me of my teenhood and the days when I lived at home with my folks. We'd have family dinners pretty frequently, and if I recall correctly, I would be expected to be able to discuss the day's local newspaper at length over our rosemary baked chicken or margharita pizza or something. This is a smart way to make kids pay attention to what's going on in the world, I realize now...but at the time, I found it incredibly stressful and even a little bit mean. I didn't hate reading the paper; In fact, I'm pretty sure I enjoyed it at least more than half of the time. The problem had more to do with the fact that it didn't matter if I skimmed the front page and embellished, or if I poured over each and every trivial paragraph of each section: my brain simply would not retain much information--especially under pressure--and I was prolifically embarrassed by the vast majority of my parents' dinner-inquisitions.
The frustrating reaction that I have to any impromptu necessity for providing specific details has plagued me my entire life. I become agitated, but also eager to prove myself as a reliable knowledge-vessel (to no avail). My mind goes blank, but not all at once--very slowly and gracefully, like water being wicked by a paper towel, in reverse. The fingertips of memory grope in vain at the dangling threads of answers as they slither under the dull rocks in the shadows of my self-concious paralysis! Boo hoo.
But perhaps I'm giving myself too much credit in describing it this way. It suggests that the only problem is access. Speed bumps are hardly a concern if there is no road beyond them, and this can be the case for me just as often as not. My lack of ability to keep facts and dates and specific information organized and accessible has severly discouraged my curiosity in those departments. I mean, what's the point of looking things up if I won't remember them? This is classic lazy-person's rationale, but at the same time, it's really the way it is! I have no doubt that this one thing about myself has completely shaped which areas of study I was most interested in growing up and also how I aim to spend the rest of my days. Sure, I can flash card my way through life, but it is incredibly finite and incredibly time consuming for such a deflating payoff!
Ugh. Reading through this is already making me feel guilty. The only reason I started rambling on about this is because I didn't know what to write but WANTED to write, desperately. My adult focus was derailed, and there I was at the dining room table again, like a guilty spy under a bright light.
"Hmmm, a month has gone by without so much as a word--what do you have to say for yourself? Didn't ANYTHING worth noting happen? In all your travels, you can't come up with one key event or perhaps a valuable life reflection? I don't know how you expect me to believe that you actually lived last month at all!"
In my defense, all I have to say is that I do feel that gaining as much information as one possibly can is a worthy and inspiring plight. There are all sorts of interesting things in this world and it is impossible to get your fill, really. I just wish I had deeper mental pockets with fewer holes...but I guess that shouldn't stop me from being curious and I should probably get over myself.
P.S. I still read the newspaper!