While promoting his book Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon, humorist Garrison Keillor told an interviewer, “The Internet and e-mail are the greatest gifts to us procrastinators and probably they help to prevent [writing] a million dreadful books a year. People get an urge to write, say, a memoir of their early years in the real estate business and then they Google ‘real estate’ and that leads them to ‘reality’ and then to Wittgenstein and pretty soon it’s time for dinner. I am all in favor of this.”
I think Keillor must be a pusher for Internet addicts, specifically YouTube addicts, like me, because in effect he said to me, “Faye, forget about rewriting your website (which is about as bad as writing a novel); it’s going to be dreadful anyway. Instead, go on the Internet, type in Pearl Jam and bring up a video. One time won’t hurt you.” And I shouldn’t have listened to him. Why? Because it’s seven weeks later, and I’ve watched not one but hundreds of Pearl Jam videos, which took up not one but hundreds of hours! And now all I think about is “scoring” my next video.
But I’m not saying all procrastination is bad. I may have started out putting off rewriting my website, but once I got into watching Pearl Jam, I realized I was doing more than avoiding; I was taking in the band’s raw, youthful, and urgent need to express itself, and so I began ramping up my writing, using my long neglected youthful exuberance and raw creativity. I wouldn’t have experienced this if I’d “gotten right to work.”
I say, thank heavens for Garrison Keillor, Pearl Jam, and procrastination!