Friday, December 14, 2012


I think if I were to be a flower, I’d be an impatiens. I had to look one up on Google to be sure what it looks like, but I've always liked the name, since it reminds me of one of my most outstanding characteristics: impatience.

I’m sure it all stems from the fact of my raw-nerve awareness of the passage of time, and that every instant spent doing other than what I want to do is time which will never come again, and brings me one instant closer to the moment when my mind, trapped as it is in a mortal body, will cease to function and all that will remain of me is what I have managed to put down on paper.

I know that there is much to be said for the joys of quiet contemplation, but I’m largely incapable of it. I’ve mentioned before that I simply cannot do nothing. I cannot sit on a park bench on a sunny day and just enjoy the act of sitting and being part of nature. I’ll be a part of nature soon enough, thank you, and enjoyment will have nothing to do with it. Even when looking up at a blue sky filled with puffy clouds, I can’t be content with just observing: my mind insists on searching them to find faces and sailing ships and tanks and fish.

I have never in my life begun a project involving physical labor which, ten minutes into it, I wish to heaven I had never started, and I too often, as a result, end up with a slipshod result simply because I was too impatient to take all the time to do it the way it should have been done.

When I go to bed at night, I look forward to dreaming, even if I can’t specifically recall the dreams the next morning, and should a night pass without my awareness of there having been dreams I feel cheated. I’ve been told, and firmly believe, that death is very much like a deep and dreamless sleep. Well, like being a part of nature, I can wait. And in the meantime I prefer lots and lots of dreams, please.

I am terrible at waiting. If I have to schedule an appointment, I want it to be scheduled for no later than the time it takes me to get from here to there. Sitting in a waiting room without a book or magazines is torture. Telephone calls which involve my being put on interminable hold by mega-corporations who lie through their teeth when they soothingly reassure me, every 30 seconds, that all their operators are still busy with other customers because of “unusually heavy traffic,” and that my call is very important to them send me into apoplectic fury.

My impatience has gotten me into more trouble, over the years, than I can possibly remember, let alone recount. I constantly say and do things that, on reflection, I wish I had not done or said, but I simply do not/cannot have the patience to think things out before I react. I tend to be one gigantic knee-jerk reaction.

Often, of course, time does not allow for patience. How often have we, ten minutes after the fact, come up with a really brilliant retort to something someone said, which left us at the time merely muttering something inane or stewing in silence? That’s one of the good things about writing: I control the time in my characters’ world. I can eliminate the gaps between the comment and the retort, and therefore be far more clever than real-time permits.

I’ve been told endlessly that I should practice patience, and I really should. But I just don’t have the time.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (


Kage Alan said...

I can empathize with the whole making an appointment thing and then having to wait. If these places ran more efficiently, we wouldn't have to wait.

What intrigued me is when you said death has been described as a long dreamless sleep. How long is long? Why must it be dreamless? Are we aware it's dreamless? How dull for us. I would insist my consciousness do something about it.

AlanChinWriter said...

Doing nothing is actually a very diliberate act of doing something, and is possibly the hardest thing to do (or not do) for any longer than five minutes. But I must say, it is addictive.