Wednesday, January 14, 2009

American Idle

Last night there were many little curses, as writers and artists opened our e-mail to learn we had not been given an Ohio Arts Council grant this year. Well, in my case it's only fair. Certainly, many young artists really need the money; wish I thought they were the ones who got it. For my part, I am paid to not work. That is, we live on pensions accumulated by many years of mostly boring work. You know how work is. (That's why they call it work.)

I am somewhat relieved not to be encouraged to finish the novel I sent the OAC - writing a novel is a lot of work, and I already know how it ends. But it would have given me, you know, something to get stressed out about.

I was musing about the way I waste time to another Zen person. My thoughts seem to want written down as a little play in the absurdist tradition.

me: Wasting time. What do we mean by that?
Ott: We mean we didn't use the time.
me: Use it?
Ott: Um, to do something.
me: Isn't looking out the window at the snowfall doing something?
Ott: Well, not really unless it gets you somewhere.
me: Where?
Ott: Well, some other place. I don't mean a place at all really. I mean, it improves your lot.
me: I am contented with my lot.
Ott: You are?
me: Shouldn't I be?
Ott: Well, I don't know. Hardly anyone is. Aren't there some things you want but don't have? Things you wish for?
me: Actually, I'd like to have longer fuller eyelashes.
[stunned silence]
me again: There's an article in the Times today that got me thinking about it. Some glaucoma drug does that as a side effect. It's like $120 a month. Sometimes it changes the color of the iris, though. So I guess I wouldn't.
Ott [trying to figure out if eyelashes are Zen]: No pain, no gain.
me: On the other hand, no gain, no pain.
[curtain, leaving the audience to think about that]

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