Saturday, July 11, 2020

When the Boredom Vanishes by Jody Feldman

There came a time every year in early May when the countdown started. First it was weeks, then days, hours, minutes until three, two, one -- cue the Alice Cooper song -- school's out for the summer!

How sweet it was when, suddenly, the only multiple-choice test included these possible answers:
A. Banana Popsicle
B. Ice cream sandwich
C. Dreamsicle
D. Drumstick

It seemed, though, that about four weeks into summer vacation, I'd keep asking my mom, "What should I do?" as if I lived in the middle of a void.

I did not live in a void. There were toys and brothers and neighbors. There was a wading pool, weekly trips to the library, and plenty of art supplies. But it always felt as if something else was out there, just out of reach; something more exciting, adventurous, if only I could claim it.

Maybe that's why I write now, to claim those unrealized adventures for my younger self, the ones that exist just beyond the realities of life: a puzzle waiting below the basement, a secret hidden in the walls, an undiscovered treasure that’s just a neighborhood away.

Dreaming up twists and turns for my characters gets me so pumped, it’s as if I’ll never get bored. However, in the middle of a difficult draft, I revert to that schoolkid.

I find myself wrestling with the right words, the right scenes and I sit back, promising myself that when I conquer this story (for now), I will take a week and do little besides watching guilty-pleasure movies, playing computer games, and pondering Popsicle flavors.

But half a day in, when the longing starts, I realize what I didn't as a kid. My writing, like school, fills me up more than anything outside of friends and family. I start brainstorming something new. And my boredom vanishes.

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