Tuesday, September 3, 2013

On Home Improvement and Distraction

Robert and I are about to embark on a home-improvement project.  We are going to paint my office and the adjoining bedroom (aka my now-adult daughter’s old room), remove the carpeting and have hardwood floors installed, and have more built-in bookshelves built.  The end result will be an office/library.  I’m excited to start.

But I have a theory.

My theory, developed after years of watching friends endure the agony of home improvement—entire families living in hotels, eating take-out food for months—is that people put themselves through this misery to distract themselves from other life problems.  The reason I think this is true is that many of the people I know who have done this didn’t much like their spouse or their job or their children before they started building a family room, and hated them after it was finished.  And then started on the kitchen.  I found it staggering and mystifying.

So, as is my wont, I’ve given our project a lot of thought.  Am I distracting myself from something unpleasant?  Do I prefer the discomfort and limbo of having my office torn apart to something else?

And here’s what I’ve come up with: 1) I really need to fix up my office, and 2) I hate my career right now.

Okay, “hate” is extreme.  I love writing books.  But I hate working on a manuscript for over a year and then finding out that no editors want to buy it.  I hate devising perky, chirpy 140-character sales promos for my books on Twitter in the hope that a few of my followers will actually want to buy them.  Most of all I hate making the switch from full-time writer to part-time writer /part-time entrepreneur.  I don’t want to be an entrepreneur.  (If I did, I would have put my MBA to good use during the eighties, when it was actually worth something.)

So yeah, in the spirit of brutal candor, I must admit that I am looking forward to the diversion that comes with matching paint chips and gesticulating madly at non-English-speaking carpenters.

On the bright side, the paint currently on my office walls is the color of an Ace bandage.  It will be nice to look at something else all day while I am writing and not selling anything.

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