September 5, 2012 by Marcus Speh
Let’s increase entropy together, drift with me, people, linger, dawdle, loiter, slack and dally. Niggle the days and nights away. Have nothing to show for and don’t account for anything or anyone. Don’t keep track of the drinks or the dumb things. Collect losers and stroke them with all the tenderness saved up through a lifetime of working the hamster wheel. Rejoice in laxity and be careless with your time as if it’d never run out, which it won’t, seriously, that’s the beauty of it.
To be more specific, here is my current list of top 10 ways to laze. It was a real challenge to articulate these as positive permissions rather than negative interdictions…before you snicker at the low ambition documented here, remember that I’ve been a terrible workaholic all my life:
1. Stay in bed awake for 15 min. before getting up. Keep eyes closed at all costs and keep good images running behind those heavy lids. Tell your arms and legs that they are free to go wherever they want.
2. Keep calendar free of appointments. Be late for appointments already agreed. Burn old calendars in the basement and scatter ashes in northern wind. Delete all time management apps. Erase the concept of controlled time from your mind.
3. Maintain disorder against the internalized motherly voice. Leave dirty socks in plain sight for days at a time until this seems normal. Lose important data, for example by teleporting files to unknown locations in the cloud and forgetting the passcode.
4. Say no to everything and everyone. When challenged on this, repeat the “no”, and when challenged repeatedly, change to: “fuck no.” If anyone expresses the astonishment at your unwillingness to say “yes”, put them on a blacklist. Send messages to random recipients turning them down. When challenged, deny, thereby further honing your new attitude.
5. Adopt at least one bad habit per week. Anything that brings the wrath of your neighborhood to your door is probably a bad habit: swearing, smoking, shutting doors in people’s faces, forgetting your medicine, forgetting birthdays, coming to parties without booze or present. The purpose of this exercise is to relinquish false responsibility towards the health of society and the world. Leave that to the politicians: your morality is to create.
6. Eat what and when you like rather than what and when you should. Except other people. Don’t eat other people. If you are used to eating animals, imagine being in animal. If you are vegetarian, stop being so damn righteous and just have a bloody primitive Argentinian steak.
7. When writing, take the path of least resistance. Make your writing life easy by lighting up like a match: without concern about the finiteness of it all. When covering the page with paragraphs, leave whitespace. When constructing sentences, don’t worry about single words: instead imagine the sentence as a bridge less traveled than any other bridge, a bridge without a purpose and with shabby engineering. A bridge that will break down any moment and you don’t care when that moment comes. And the words: don’t concern yourself with stems and stalks. Work recklessly in a language you don’t understand. Begin the day by babbling incoherently.
8. Tell yourself that you don’t need to edit. Tell yourself that your writing is already as perfect as it can be. Because you know what? Perhaps it is, and this is your break from performing. Ideally you shouldn’t have to tell yourself a story about “good” and “bad”. We are not in paradise. Nobody is going to be expelled from the jungle of creation.
9. Spend all your time on looking good if you’ve never cared about your looks. You are a compulsive reader? Literary novels? Pick up some superhero comics: go back to that 15-year-old who knew that was all about chicks/boys. You can not come by the secret of how to be lazy by analysis, but only by trial and error and by liberally applied carelessness.
10. Think about that next novel as a manuscript that you find in the Metro. Think about its characters as already out there: no work is involved to get them into your story other than letting them come. Writing is not about work. It’s about growing, eyes on the sun, feet on the ground, soft water playing around your toes like a free song.
Any other advice?
Published as “The Seriously Lazy Writer” in: Mrs Chatterjee’s Most Excellent Review.